9 Ways To Boost Your Energy Every Day (Without Caffeine): A Doctor Explains
It's nearing 4 p.m., you still have a mountain of work to complete before you clock out—and there you find yourself with no energy left.
Maybe you're tempted to reach for a bottled energy drink or go on another coffee run. But instead of putting a bandage on your persistent fatigue issues, remedy the problem once and for all.
By incorporating some healthful foods and simple practices into your daily life, you can finally fill your energy reserves sufficiently to make it through the day without struggle—or energy drinks.
Eat an energy-boosting diet
If you put the wrong kind of fuel into your car, it wouldn't run. The same is true of your body.
Avoid sugary and processed foods, as these treats provide you with only short bursts of energy.
For sustained energy throughout the day, research shows you should fill your diet with whole grains and proteins. Both of these foods take longer for your body to break down.
Pair these with leafy greens and fruits to improve your likelihood of getting all of the nutrients your body needs to function properly.
Any dysfunction within your body can leave you feeling less than energetic, so keeping your body in tiptop shape with healthy eating is the best way to avoid the onset of fatigue.
Consider a nicotinamide riboside (NR) supplement
To support normal levels of NAD (short for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) and therefore mitochondrial health, consider supplementing with nicotinamide riboside (NR).
NR is converted to NAD in the body, promoting cellular energy production. What’s more, experts believe NR may actually trigger the formation of new mitochondria1 by increasing the activity of SIRT12.
Energy begins at the cellular level with mitochondria. You might remember mitochondria from high school science class.
These guys are the powerhouse of the cell, converting food and oxygen into energy our cells use to do everything from powering our muscles to circulating blood.
NAD is a coenzyme that is crucial for this process. However, as we age, NAD levels naturally decline.
Drink plenty of water
If you're not downing water throughout the day, you're likely going to find your energy waning. In fact, a 2013 study found that dehydration caused healthy individuals to feel less alert, more tired, and unable to concentrate3.
So if you're guilty of skipping your sips, resolve to drink more throughout the day.
For optimal health and energy, it's recommended that women drink a minimum of 11.5 cups of water a day while men should drink about 15 cups.
Have a regular exercise routine
When you leave work exhausted each day, it's tempting to skip your evening gym session. But if you're neglecting your exercise on the regular, you're probably only exacerbating the problem.
Through consistent exercise, you ensure that your body is fully oxygenated and working efficiently.
This has lots of positive effects on your health—including leaving you with more energy.
Eat small, frequent meals
When you eat can make just as big a difference as what you eat. If you're skipping breakfast and eating a massive lunch, you're sabotaging your afternoon productivity. Any time you eat too much, you'll feel sluggish.
To maintain a consistent energy level throughout the day, opt for several small meals with snacks in between.
By eating in this manner, you ensure that your body is consistently supplied with fuel throughout the day.
Get sufficient sunlight
Spending time in the sun is good for more than just your mood. With adequate exposure to sunlight, your body can produce a valuable nutrient: vitamin D.
The sunshine vitamin is tied to many benefits, including bone health and immune function, and getting enough helps keep you feeling energetic and healthy4. Try to take a walk outside in the sun at least once a day.
Take a power nap
Napping isn't just for preschoolers. Though you might not always be able to nap, when you can, sneaking in a power one could make all the difference.
Research shows that naps can improve memory, alertness, and overall energy.
For an immediate and natural energy boost, take a 10- to 30-minute nap. Studies indicate that limiting your nap to this manageable chunk of time helps ensure you don't wake up groggy.
If you're tired in public, you may attempt to stifle your yawn out of politeness. Doing this might be a mistake, however.
Recent studies suggest that yawning serves the important function of regulating your brain temperature5, keeping it running at peak performance.
Because that can have a positive impact on your energy levels, letting that yawn out could be your best bet.
Consult your doctor
If you feel like you're doing everything right, yet you're still ridiculously exhausted with relative regularity, you could be suffering from a condition that requires medical intervention.
People with chronic fatigue syndrome suffer from consistent and persistent exhaustion that's not improved by rest. If you suffer from this condition, or a similar one, consider speaking with your doctor or health professional.
Feeling the midday slump doesn't need to be an inevitable part of your day.
With the right lifestyle changes, you can find yourself with more energy for longer—making the need for stimulants a non-issue.
Ernest G. Brown, M.D., M.S., is a family medicine doctor in Washington, District of Columbia and is affiliated with Sibley Memorial Hospital and a Referring Johns Hopkins Community Physician, practicing concierge medical house calls. He received his medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine and completed residency in family medicine at Georgetown University/Providence Hospital.
Through his practice, Doctors to You—an on-call, on-site medical practice committed to rebuilding the doctor-patient relationship— Ernest and his team are able to provide patients, no matter their socioeconomic standing, the care they deserve. Ernest believes it’s imperative to: Treat the patient, not the symptoms; Be on call to minimize or eliminate wait times; Deliver services on site rather than requiring the patient travel; Build continuous relationship instead of simply handling transactions.