Boost Energy Naturally with These RD-Approved Tips
If your productivity comes to a grinding halt each afternoon, you’re familiar with the common midday energy slump. Waning energy as the day goes on is a common occurrence for many people and is characterized by trouble staying awake, feeling sluggish, and poor concentration—not exactly the picture of health and vitality.
Quick fixes, like a caffeinated drink or reaching for the candy, may perk you up temporarily, but they aren’t the answer for sustained daily energy. Feeling alert, vibrant, and energized from morning to night is possible with lifestyle habits that support incredible energy levels and overall health.
Keep reading to find out if your daily habits contribute to low energy levels and RD-approved tips to help you maximize energy.
It may seem obvious that without adequate sleep, most people feel tired. Getting by on a handful of hours each night or tossing and turning with frequent wake-ups may interfere with your body’s ability to produce energy.
ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, is the primary form of energy for our cells. Researchers observed an increase in the production of ATP in the brain of lab animals during sleep and hypothesized this bump in energy helps sustain the restorative processes that occur during sleep.
Your body needs restful sleep to function optimally, including producing energy to fuel your day. The gold standard is 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night but the ideal amount will vary from person to person. Note how much sleep you’ve had on days you feel energized and make that your daily goal. Setting a bed time and following a routine, such as powering down electronics and reading in the evening, can help set you up for a good night’s rest.
Regular physical activity is linked to improvements in energy and decreased fatigue. It doesn’t matter what activity you do, so long as you move your body daily.
During exercise, you take in more oxygen, which your body needs to produce ATP, and your heart rate picks up to send oxygenated blood to your muscles. These physiological changes give your body what it needs to make more energy.
Exercise helps boost mood by increasing levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, which in turn can put more pep in your step. Exercise also helps improve sleep and is a natural stressbuster.
Low energy and increased tiredness are consequences of being under-hydrated. Most people need eight 8-ounce cups of water each day. Invest in a reusable water bottle and refill it several times throughout the day to help you track your water intake. You can also include fruits and vegetables with a high water content, such as cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, and celery, which count towards hydration.
Eat for Energy
Steady blood sugar levels provide a consistent amount of glucose to your cells that is needed to produce ATP for energy. The best ways to stabilize blood sugar and energy are eating regularly (i.e no skipping meals or snacks) and choosing foods that provide sustained energy.
Sweets and sugary beverages, including energy drinks, cause a rapid rise and fall in blood sugar, AKA a sugar crash. The rise gives you a boost of energy but you may feel worse when the temporary boost wears off.
Foods that contain protein, fiber, and/or healthy fat are slowly digested and provide glucose to your bloodstream in a more controlled way. Examples include a veggie and cheese omelet, Greek yogurt and berries, and peanut butter on whole grain bread.
B vitamins are required to break down the food you eat into glucose molecules, so getting enough B complex vitamins is crucial for energy production.
Some of the best food sources of B vitamins are:
Meat and poultry
Beans and lentils
If you don’t regularly eat those foods, a supplement like mykind Organics B Complex can help fill in dietary gaps. Vitamin B12 is mostly found in animal foods, so some vegetarians and vegans may need to supplement. Vitamin Code Raw B-12 contains 1,000 micrograms of B-12 from whole food sources to support energy.†
Even with the best intentions, we all have days when our healthy habits hit a bump in the road. Maybe we had a rough night's sleep, are going through a stressful period, or having a hard time fitting in daily movement. An adaptogenic supplement, like mykind Organics Maca Root, may help support energy levels during these times.†
Adaptogens are natural substances that help your body respond to internal and external stressors, such as busy schedules and lack of sleep. A 2016 study found participants who took maca reported increased energy and mood after 12 weeks of supplementation.
Steady energy levels are a byproduct of a healthy lifestyle. Taking inventory of your food, water, activity, and sleep habits can help you find where you may have room for improvement. Supplements, such as B vitamins and adaptogens, can also help support energy levels so you can fully show up for the people and things you love.