Exhausted? We feel you, and we’re not surprised. Statistics show that workers in the U.S. clock in more hours per year than in most other countries, yet many Americans don’t get enough quality sleep. We also tend to retire later than people in many other countries and take less time off work.1
Being productive isn’t a bad thing, but we need to remember to take care of ourselves, too. It might be an incentive to know that taking care of yourself will ultimately give you more energy, so you’ll be able to get more done, and stay happier and healthier while you do it. Check out our list below for healthy, natural ways to increase energy.
Reduce Stress with Herbal Tea and Essential Oils
It might sound counterproductive, but taking a timeout with herbal teas or aromatherapy essential oils could actually help you get more done. If you have high levels of stress, there’s a good chance you are getting less done than you would if you felt calm, refreshed and energized. Herbal teas and essential oils are two of the best natural ways to increase energy.
- Essential Oils like thyme, lemongrass and tangerine are energizing, but if you need to unwind and reduce anxiousness, try lavender oils or bergamot
- Herbal Teas like Yerba mate, green tea and most black teas contain energizing caffeine and antioxidants
- Matcha Green Tea is a supercharged green tea that delivers more antioxidants and nutrients than traditional green tea
Sleep Better with Melatonin
If you get too little sleep at night, you won’t feel energized throughout the day and you'll probably find yourself looking for other ways to increase energy. Healthy sleeping patterns support overall health, wellness and energy levels. Melatonin supplements will help you put an end to sleepless nights and reset your internal clock so you can get in the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Here are a few more tips for better sleep:
- No artificial light or LED lights at night (avoid blue light from electronic devices)
- Get some sunshine (in moderation!) and exercise daily
- Regulate your caffeine intake (no afternoon 3 o’clock coffee break)
- Take time for daily meditation (get your ohm on!)
- Eat melatonin-rich foods like goji berries, tart cherries, walnuts, almonds, pineapple, tomatoes, bananas and oranges
Try Some Magnesium
Magnesium supplements help reduce tension, stress and anxiousness so you can sleep better at night and have calmer days, but it also plays a role in cellular energy production. If your diet is low in magnesium, getting more of this macro-mineral could solve a lot of your energy woes. The recommended daily value (DV) for magnesium is 400 milligrams for adults and children aged 4 and older. Read more about magnesium benefits in our article Magnesium Benefits & Uses. Here are some magnesium-rich foods:
- Spinach — 1 cup, 157 milligrams (40% DV)
- Chard — 1 cup, 154 milligrams (38% DV)
- Pumpkin seeds — 1/8 cup, 92 milligrams (23% DV)
- Yogurt or Kefir — 1 cup, 50 milligrams (13% DV)
- Almonds — 1 ounce, 80 milligrams (20% DV)
- Black Beans — ½ cup, 60 milligrams (15% DV)
Increase Your Activity
One of the best ways to increase energy is to sneak in more activity every day. It will help ward off stress and leave you feeling more energized. Take a brisk walk when you feel a midday slump coming on. The fresh air and change of scenery will lift your spirits while the physical activity increases circulation and energizes your body. Getting regular exercise also helps you sleep better and keeps you healthier, which contributes to your overall daily energy levels.
Your body is around 60% water. When you are dehydrated your body conserves energy and slows down blood circulation, so staying hydrated is one of the best tips for how to increase energy. Your hydration levels also affect your mood and may decrease your ability to concentrate.2 Sip water throughout the day rather than waiting until you are thirsty, and avoid drinking large quantities late at night so your sleep isn’t disrupted by bathroom trips! Here are some benefits of water:
- Gets rid of wastes through urination, perspiration and bowel movements
- Keeps your temperature normal
- Lubricates and cushions joints
- Protects sensitive tissues
Each day, aim for about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men and about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women.
Get More Protein
When you get tired during the day, you might crave high-carb snacks or sweets, which provide short-term bursts of energy and may lead up to an energy crash. This can turn into an unhealthy cycle. Protein will give you longer-lasting energy because it takes longer for your body to break it down than carbohydrates, and it gives your body fuel for repairing tissues. Foods high in protein:
- Animal-Sourced Complete Proteins — meat (from cows, pigs, poultry or wild game), fish, milk and eggs all contain quality levels of the nine essential amino acids
- Plant-Based Sources of Complete Proteins — quinoa, buckwheat, hemp seed, chia and soy
So, the next time you feel like snacking to reduce fatigue reach for foods high in protein instead.
Vitamins and Energy Bundle Supplements
Vitamin B-12, along with other B vitamins, help your body convert food into glucose and ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which means they play a significant role in cellular energy production. If you feel tired during the day and have trouble sleeping at night, try our Morning, Noon & Night Bundle, which includes specifically chosen supplements that work together to provide what you need to stay energized all day long:
- Morning — B-complex vitamins for an energy kick
- Noon — Bee pollen for sustaining energy
- Night — Suntheanine L-Theanine for gentle relaxation
- Bedtime — Dual-Release Melatonin to help you catch some Zzzs
Caffeine and Coffee
Your morning cup of coffee gives you more than just an energy boost from caffeine. Coffee is a rich source of antioxidants and caffeine may help improve your mood, increase endurance, speed up your reaction times, and help you focus. Natural caffeine supplements are an energy-boosting alternative to coffee. Learn more about the benefits of caffeine and coffee in What’s the Buzz About Coffee and Caffeine?
How to Get More Energy
Feeling tired and stressed doesn’t always mean you’re getting a lot done. In fact, it could mean exactly the opposite! Follow the tips above for how to boost energy levels, and if you want to learn more read 10 Herbal Supplements to Boost Your Energy Levels and Natural Alternatives to Your Favorite Energy Drinks.
Share your own energy hacks in the comments below. Looking for more A-Z Wellness topics? Start with Amazing Alphabet Vitamins: The Six Vitamins You Need to Know.
About Shane Durkee
Chief Innovation Officer, Swanson Health
Shane has over 20 years of consumer products research and development experience in leading teams in innovation, product development and medical science. He is passionate about improving people’s lives through the latest technologies and scientific research in wellness and health. As a city dweller, he likes to walk everywhere rather than drive and fits in a split regimen between weight training and cardiovascular exercise to keep boredom at bay.
1 Americans Work 25% More Than Europeans, Study Finds: Bloomberg. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-10-18/americans-work-25-more-than-europeans-study-finds (Accessed 12/5/2017)
2 Even mild dehydration affects mood, energy level, and ability to think clearly: News Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/news/20120218/Even-mild-dehydration-affects-mood-energy-level-and-ability-to-think-clearly.aspx (Accessed 12/6/2017)