Everyone wants to feel alert, energized, and ready to tackle the day, but many struggle to find the sustained energy and motivation to keep it going all day long. This desire to feel combat low-energy and be more productive has led to caffeine becoming consumed as a daily pick-me-up by roughly 80% of the U.S. population according to a 2013 beverage survey.
While caffeine is able to act as an energy booster by blocking the attachment of the neurotransmitter adenosine to its receptor, it ultimately is not a sustainable way to increase energy all day long. Because of its short-lived alertness, more and more people are becoming addicted to the caffeine stimulant and become physically reliant on it instead of natural energy as they drink cup after cup of coffee as a source of energy.
Below are seven ways to facilitate natural and long-lasting energy that can last you throughout the day. While caffeine may be a short-term fix, the methods described below are ways you can sustainably create your own energy to tackle anything your day throws at you.
1. Drink water
It is well known that hydration is important to your health, but many do not know the underlying reason behind why it is so important. Water constitutes a large percentage of our body mass and assists with the transportation of nutrients and waste products throughout our bodies. You can think of each molecule of water as a microscopic vehicle that is able to transport nutrition to cells and waste products away from cells. When you aren’t adequately hydrated you are limiting the number of vehicles available to transport these molecules throughout the body. The effects of dehydration are immense and not drinking enough water can have a large impact on your overall energy level.
A meta-analysis on studies regarding dehydration and cognitive function found that cognitive tasks that involved attention or problem solving diminished as dehydration increased. This finding shows that hydration is an important component in giving your brain the support it needs to optimally function. By staying hydrated, whether through water or hydrating nutritionist-approved energy drinks, you can give yourself the best shot at staying attentive and alert throughout the day, no power nap required.
Not only does hydration impact your energy level, but it also has numerous positive impacts throughout your body. Adequate hydration helps with proper digestion, a potential decrease in the frequency of headaches, and maintaining good circulatory health. With so many benefits, it is easy to see why working on your water intake is a worthwhile endeavor.
You may be asking yourself how much water you should drink in a given day, and the answer is that it varies. According to the Mayo Clinic, the average male should drink 15.5 cups of water while the average female should drink 11.5 cups. These are baseline wellness recommendations and if you live in excessively hot environments or undergo strenuous exercise you should consider adjusting your intake.
2. Better sleep habits
The concept of sleep is quite interesting in that our bodies essentially slow down and replenish our sense of alertness over an 8 hour period. Sleep is thought to be the brain's way of consolidating information from the day and breaking down the neurotransmitter responsible for sleepiness, adenosine. Getting enough sleep at night is a very important part in ensuring you can work throughout the day without tiredness or burnout. Attaining a good night's sleep is easier said than done as there are many different variables that can influence your quality of sleep from physical activity to managing cortisol levels. Better sleep habits are also great for managing your mental health and wellness, especially when combatting pandemic stress. Below are some better sleep habits you can implement to ensure you have enough hours of sleep to energize you and boost energy throughout the day.
Say no to afternoon coffee
When people experience the 3 pm crash during the day, their first instinct is to grab a quick cup of coffee from the breakroom. While this can give you a needed pick-me-up, it can have detrimental impacts on your sleep and therefore decrease your available energy on the following day. Studies suggest that consuming caffeine within six hours of going to bed can have detrimental effects on your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. If you are looking for natural sustained energy throughout the day you should curb the habit of having afternoon coffee and give your body the best sleep possible.
Before bed routine
Creating a before bed wind-down routine is a great way to improve your ability to fall asleep and achieve a good night sleep. With a wind-down routine, you should try to do calming activities, dim the lights, and avoid looking at screens that emit harsh blue light 30-60 minutes before you plan to go to bed. Reading, doing a quick clean, making a list of things you need to do the next day or meditating can help ease your mind of the business of life and transition to a peaceful sleep.
Once you have made a bedtime routine a habit, your body will naturally begin associating the routine with time to sleep. This will make it much easier to fall asleep and will ultimately allow you to have more sleep. With more sleep, you can feel more refreshed and energized to tackle the day.
Consistent sleep schedule
The number one thing you can do to improve your sleep is to set a rigid sleep schedule. A rigid sleep schedule means that you fall asleep and wake up at the same time every day. By setting this routine you will train your body when it can anticipate waking up and go to sleep. This process will train your internal clock, also known as your circadian rhythm, allowing you to gain a better quality of sleep.
Many people hear this advice and stick to it during the work week, but over the weekend they sleep in or stay up late. To properly get the effects that a rigid sleep schedule offers, you need to stay consistent even on weekends. After a couple of weeks, you will most likely notice that you wake up more well rested with a greater sense of alertness and energy.
Supplements are a great way to help your body get the necessary vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants it needs to thrive as part of a healthy diet. Not all supplements are treated equally and finding supplements that strive to provide the highest level of bioavailable nutrition is imperative. Below are some supplements that can help with energy.
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that you need to consume. In other words, the human body is unable to synthesize the vitamin through its own cellular machinery. Vitamin B12 is needed for the formation of red blood cells, nervous system support, and the breakdown of homocysteine. Taking a B12 supplement can help your energy level if you are experiencing a deficiency as one of the telltale signs of a B12 deficiency is fatigue. Vitamin B12 deficiency is a common issue that vegans and vegetarians face as the vitamin is found mainly in animal-based products. In these situations, individuals need to get B12 through supplements or foods fortified with the vitamin.
Magnesium is an incredibly important mineral in the human body. Magnesium is involved in over 300 chemical reactions within the human body including the breakdown of glucose, facilitation of nerve impulses, optimal heart health, and much more. If you have inadequate magnesium you will most definitely feel the systemic impacts. According to the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, the recommended daily allowance for magnesium ranges from 400mg - 420mg for men and from 310mg - 320mg for women. To increase your intake of magnesium you could consider taking a supplement like MitoQ Heart which contains a more bioavailable form of magnesium that aids in absorption.
Coenzyme Q10, also known as CoQ10, plays a large role within the membrane of the cellular organelle known as the mitochondria. The mitochondria are the energy-producing organelles found in all eukaryotic cells and are responsible for converting carbohydrates like glucose into usable energy. As we age, the body slowly becomes less efficient and may be unable to synthesize CoQ10 at the rate it used to. This phenomenon may decrease the efficiency of the mitochondria over time leading to decreased energy levels.
To supplement CoQ10 many companies simply artificially synthesize the CoQ10 molecule and administer it through a pill. While in theory one would think that this could help, in reality the entire CoQ10 molecule has a difficult time crossing through membranes, making these supplements quite ineffective in increasing mitochondrial CoQ10 levels. MitoQ on the other hand takes the CoQ10 molecule, shortens it, and tosses a positively charged substituent to allow it to more effectively cross those pesky membranes. This formula makes MitoQ the best choice to support mitochondrial functioning for a long lasting energy level throughout the day.
When you are brainstorming ways to have more energy throughout the day, working out most likely never crossed your mind as a means to increase your energy. Exercising is typically thought to only burn energy There is however a great deal of evidence in healthcare that suggests working out can increase your energy levels throughout the day. While the exact mechanism by which exercise is able to make people feel more energized is unknown, it is thought to be a result of your increased heart rate triggering the release of positive mood-elevating neurotransmitters. Below are ways in which you can incorporate exercise into your routine to allow you the energy to power through your day.
In the morning we have an abundant amount of time that goes largely unused. Tapping into this time and fitting in a workout, stretch, or yoga session can allow you to reap all the benefits of a workout without needing to make many changes to your schedule. Simply wake up 30 minutes earlier and you have made time to fit in a workout. Working out in the morning also ensures that you can spend some time in the sun, soaking up beneficial Vitamin D from the sun's rays. If you plan to work out before breakfast, you should consider taking your MitoQ supplement when you wake up as it is instructed to take 30 minutes prior to a meal.
Rather than reaching for a cup of coffee mid-day to keep you energized, consider taking a break to get in an afternoon workout. Many people have transitioned to a work-from-home environment due to safety concerns of cramped workspaces. You can utilize this to your advantage by using your lunch break or time between meetings to get your blood pumping and endorphins flowing. You can even get an exercise ball and do stretches and exercises right from your desk.
The benefit of having a midday workout is that you can get a nice energy boost that can carry you through the 3 pm slump. Avoiding these slumps is a great way to ensure you have energy throughout the day.
Not everyone is able to exercise in the morning or afternoon so that leaves the evenings as the only time that they can fit in a workout. By working out in the evening you can decrease the levels of stress hormones from a long day's work and promote better relaxation at home. By getting out some energy late in the day through a workout you can promote better quality sleep which will carry over into you feeling more refreshed and energized the following day.
5. Enjoy nature
The power of the outdoors is a greatly underrated tool that we have at our disposal. Going outside and taking in the fresh air and sunlight has tremendous positive impacts on both our mental and physical well-being. Additionally, natural light plays a large role in waking up and staying awake. Below are ways that you can reap the benefit of nature to feel good, awake, and energized.
With all of the benefits of nature, one may ask why not move your desk outside? A more practical solution is to incorporate nature into your workspace. The ideology of green workspaces has been around for a while and one study conducted in 2014 comparing a bare work environment to a green environment found that it had many profound impacts on employee perception. The results suggested that the green workspace leads to more engagement from employees leading to positive impacts on their satisfaction and concentration. Implementing plants into your work environment could help you to find the energy and concentration you need to complete your tasks.
Getting up in the morning can be a difficult task for anyone. You are tired, comfy, and simply just want to stay in bed. While lazy days can be good every once in a while, not getting out of bed and hitting snooze is more likely to make you groggy and tired. Going on a morning walk is a great way to get out of bed and enjoy the world around you. If you have a pet, take them along with you on a morning stroll before you start your day. Starting your day off going outside and walking can help you overcome the initial grogginess of waking up in addition to getting your body exposed to sunlight which is known to be an influential factor in your circadian rhythm. Establishing morning walks as a habit will allow you to have an easier time waking up and allow you to start your day moving. Getting up and moving early in the day can help you to keep that momentum going with whatever the day has in store for you.
Get light exposure throughout the day
As described previously, natural sunlight is a great way to feel energized. Humans have evolved to be diurnal, awake during the day, and because of this, the human body gets cues to be alert and awake through sunlight. In fact, research has shown that the human body has distinct physiological transitions and they are very closely tied with dawn and dusk, or the transition from dark to light and the transition to light and dark.
When you are aiming to have more energy throughout the day, try and expose yourself to natural sunlight as much as possible. Open the blinds, work outside, or simply take periodic breaks to bask in the sunlight.
For those that work during the night and sleep during the day, these tips can still apply but in the reverse fashion. When you wake up at night to get work done, turn on as many lights as possible to signal to your body it is time to wake up. When you need to go to sleep, close all the blinds and utilize blackout curtains to signal that it is nighttime to your body. Utilizing these tricks can help you to get more energy throughout your day even if you work the redeye shift.
6. Have a clean environment
While this point may seem like something your parents would suggest, it really is a valid way to get you more motivated and energized throughout the day. Imagine you just woke up, got to your messy cluttered desk with crumbs lodged in your keyboard and dried and sticky coffee rings on the desk. This sight is not only gross, but it is also not very likely that it will inspire you to work or feel energized. The solution to this predicament is easy, just clean it up!
A great way to ease into staying tidy is to implement a five-minute cleanup at the start or end of the day. Simply set a timer and only clean for the designated amount of time. More likely than not you will continue to clean past the time and start implementing it into your daily ritual. It's easy to increase your energy level by staying tidy and creating a motivating environment to get your work done.
7. Self care
It isn’t a secret that when you feel good about yourself, you do good. This phenomenon perfectly explains the positive impact that self-care can provide to your energy level, motivation, and productivity. Below are some ways that you can implement self-care to have more energy throughout the day.
Get dressed up
With work from home becoming the new normal, it can be easy to slack on your sense of style. With only your shoulders and face shown during online meetings, it can be tempting to just toss on a nice top and wear pajama bottoms while working remotely. While this might seem appealing because it requires less effort on your part, let’s be honest, it isn’t the most dignifying. Rather than letting your sense of style suffer, make a conscious effort to look good because when you look good, you feel good and are more likely to be productive. Take the extra time out of your day to practice good skincare with MitoQ day cream, get dressed to impress, and get ready to take the day head-on.
Basic rest-activity cycle (BRAC)
The Basic Rest-Activity Cycle (BRAC) as defined by the American Psychological Association is “the alternation between neurophysiological activity and nonactivity during waking and sleep, thought typically to involve a 90-minute cycle”. In layman's terms, it is an observed pattern where brain activity functions optimally when you work in non-interrupted 90-minute intervals and stop for small breaks. This pattern has been utilized as a means of reducing fatigue and maximizing your ability to sustain long and grueling tasks without getting burnt out. The BRAC method of working is a great way to promote self-care and allow you to be more energized and productive throughout the day.
Increasing your energy levels to have energy all day long is not an easy task. Many things take our energy like staying up late, distractions, and much more. The seven ways outlined above are a great starting point, but it takes time and patience to notice significant results. Once you have implemented a routine and lifestyle change to increase your energy that works for you, you can reap the benefit of having all-natural and sustainable energy while those around you will be looking for the nearest coffee shop.
Reviewed by: Kai Man Yuen/ BSc., PGDipSci., MSc.