When you’re feeling tired, you may be tempted to reach for the nearest quick-fix stimulant, such as coffee, sugar, or an energy drink. As with all quick fixes, however, the effects are short-lived, and your next energy slump is just around the corner.
Regularly relying on stimulants isn’t great for your health, so a better way to tackle tiredness is to aim to boost your energy naturally. Forget energy drinks, high-sugar foods, and “powering through” when you’re fatigued. Here are five ways you can naturally boost your energy (with a little help from technology).
Table of Contents
1. Go Outside When You First Wake Up
Seeking fresh air and sunlight when you wake up is key to boosting your energy naturally.
Going outside first thing in the morning will help regulate your body’s natural internal clock (your circadian rhythms), thanks to the effect sunlight has on our bodies. This will help you feel more alert during the day as well as ready for sleep at night.
Here are the “energy hormones” that sunlight stimulates and how they give you a boost:
- Vitamin D. Sunlight helps the body produce Vitamin D—a hormone that helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. The main symptom of Vitamin D deficiency is fatigue, so getting your daily dose first thing is key for a natural energy boost.
- Serotonin. Sunlight boosts serotonin, which is our “mood-stabilizing hormone”. According to PubMed Central, moderately high levels of serotonin contribute to positive moods, calmness, and focus.
- Melatonin. Melatonin is our “sleep hormone”. It’s produced during the dark hours of the day and is largely responsible for maintaining your circadian rhythm. Therefore, stepping into the sunlight when you first wake up will help cease its production and give you a natural energy boost for the day.
If you live in an area where there’s limited sunlight, going outside will still boost your energy naturally. Breathing in fresh air first thing will help increase your oxygen levels (especially if you’ve slept in a room without good ventilation), which is vital for providing all cells of your body with energy. You can track your levels of oxygen saturation (SpO2) on various fitness devices, including the Apple Watch.
To help boost your energy naturally, try syncing your waking hours with the sunrise and sunset. Many free weather apps will show the sunrise and sunset times, so you can set your morning alarm to wake you up when the sun rises.
To start syncing your waking hours naturally, try The Weather Channel app.
2. Stay Hydrated Throughout the Day
If you’re not drinking enough water, you could be at risk of dehydration—which is a common cause of tiredness.
Remembering to drink enough water throughout the day can be difficult. Busy schedules can distract us, and other beverages, such as coffee or soft drinks, can quench our thirst, causing us to forget about necessary water intake. If you want to boost your energy naturally, then consuming sufficient levels of water is vital alongside your other daily drinks.
If you struggle to remember to drink enough water each day, then using an app to remind you to drink more water is a good solution. Many water trackers and reminder apps will give you additional tips on how to drink water correctly, and some even suggest when to drink water based on your schedule.
Drinking enough water daily will mean that you can still enjoy your coffee and soft drinks without compromising your energy levels.
Try the Water Reminder - Daily Tracker app to keep on top of your water intake.
3. Delay Your Morning Coffee
Many of us depend on our morning coffee to start our day, believing it’s the best way to wake up. Drinking coffee on an empty stomach, however, can spike cortisol levels (your “stress hormone”). Your body naturally wakes you up with a cortisol spike, so doubling up these levels by drinking coffee first thing will only make you jittery, followed by an energy crash.
If you want to boost your energy naturally, try to delay your first coffee of the day until mid-morning—or at least until after breakfast. Your cortisol levels will have settled, and your body will be able to handle the caffeine much better.
You could take it a step further by quitting your coffee habit altogether. Try one of these coffee-quitting apps to help break your caffeine addiction and, in turn, boost your energy naturally. Quit Coffee Addiction Calendar is a good app to trial and is available on both iOS and Android.
4. Manage Your Stress Levels
Stress takes up an enormous amount of energy, which is why you can feel run down when you’ve experienced distressing or difficult situations.
Stress can also reduce your cognitive capability, leaving you feeling fatigued and unable to concentrate. Therefore, one of the best steps you can take to boost your energy naturally is to manage your stress levels.
There are several proven methods for managing your stress, including breathing exercises and meditation, gentle exercise such as yoga or walking, and taking regular breaks from what you’re doing.
You can also use technology to help you cope with stress. Creating a fitness routine using a smartphone or watch can provide an outlet for stress, and most devices offer free calming apps to relax, destress, and clear your mind.
If you find yourself overwhelmed, then check out these relaxing websites to help reduce stress and worry. Alternatively, managing your workload or tasks with an attractive to-do list app can help reduce stress and overwhelm.
The Breathing App is a good tool to start with to begin managing your stress levels, and it's free on both iOS and Android.
5. Get Enough Sleep for You
The “right” number of sleep hours is a personal one. While some people need nine hours in bed to get through the next day, others may thrive on just five hours. The best way to boost your energy naturally is to work out how much sleep you actually need, and then schedule your sleep time to match.
Using an app to track and improve your sleep can help you identify your sleep patterns and improve your bedtime routine. You can also aim to fall asleep faster by listening to a playlist or podcast.
Finally, don’t forget to put your devices to bed when you hit the sack. Stop notifications from disrupting your sleep by activating Do Not Disturb mode on your phone before you go to bed to ensure you get a restful sleep every night.
To gain a more restful night's sleep, try the Sleep Cycle app.
You Can Boost Your Energy Naturally Without Having to Spend a Cent
It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking you can buy the solution to tiredness, thanks to clever marketing and endless attractive energy drinks and supplements available to buy. The real solution, however, is as simple as the five steps above. Remember to get outside first thing, stay hydrated, delay your morning coffee, manage your stress, and get enough sleep each night, and you'll be thriving.