5 Ways to Feel More Energetic
Feeling tired? Let's fix that!
I personally can attest to being a cranky person when I don't get enough sleep or just feel drained during the day. Feeling tired affects everyone differently, but it's never a good thing. In this article I will show you some straight forward ways to help improve your energy levels throughout the day.
Since this list will only have five items, I'm going to cover what i think are the most important things you can do to see a difference. Of course there will be smaller things, but hopefully this should cover the bulk of it and give you a solid starting point.
#1: Sleep, are you getting enough of it?
Healthy sleeping habits are arguably the most important factor in how you feel during the day. This sounds really obvious, however I think it's easy to overestimate how well you are actually sleeping, or how long. We tend to get used to our schedules and assume that it isn't an issue, but the truth is everyone has a "sweet spot" amount of sleeping that they need to perform optimally. Too little and you'll be constantly playing catch up during the week, too much and you will feel lethargic for most of the day.
Step back and really observe your sleeping habits. If you feel fine with six hours of sleep, great! If you feel like you need 8 or more (like me), adjust your schedule accordingly and stick to it for at least a month. Also try to make sure it is uninterrupted sleep, waking up in the middle of the night tends to affect how rested you are upon waking up. Especially if you wake up more than once.
Various studies have shown naps to improve memory and alertness. The optimal time to nap is 10 - 30 minutes, otherwise it's hard to get past the grogginess associated with a longer one. If your naps last longer than that your body might be trying to catch up from a lack of restful sleep during the night. I personally have started taking naps when I have the free time and they really do make a difference in how I feel for the rest of the day.
Here's a study done in 2008 showing naps being more beneficial than caffeine for improved learning.
Food is also what I'd consider essential to having sustained energy throughout the day. But it's eating the right foods that make a difference! I'm not going to say you should only eat expensive organic foods and never eat processed food because that isn't true.
However, it helps to clean up your diet and stick to wholesome foods and keep fast food to a minimum. Carbohydrates are huge energy foods that you should have plenty of in the right quantities.
It also helps to have a large breakfast to give yourself plenty of fuel for the day ahead, even if your lunch / dinner end up being smaller. Breakfast has been proven to be an important meal, in this study proven to lower your risk of coronary heart disease.
Healthy snacks are also a good way to provide energy boost throughout the day.
#3: Water - Yes, really
Proper hydration goes a long way, and it's easy to become dehydrated throughout the day and not realize it. Instead of getting rid of thirst with a sugary caffeine drink that will have you crashing later, just drink some water periodically throughout the day.
Water is just one of those essentials that helps with basically everything our bodies do. Maintaining a good intake of water has proven to lessen chances of kidney stones, lower rates of urinary cancer, lower colon cancer risk, and less chance of heart attack. Enough motivation for me!
And before you go overboard with water consumption, there's no proof that drinking 8 glasses a day is good for you. Just drink when you're thirsty.
#4: Calories Galore
Make sure you are getting the minimum amount of calories you need each day. You can do this by calculating your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) which is the amount of calories you would burn if you did NOTHING all day. So you need to eat more than that depending on what you're doing.
I'm not a huge fan of counting calories, but it's a good way to see if your meeting your caloric needs. It's a huge reason to stay away from unhealthy diets and cutting calories drastically to lose weight.
#5: Drink caffeine sparingly
Yes, you probably knew this one was coming. I'm not going to say to stay away from it entirely, because in a perfect world that would be easy to do and no one would ever need a pick me up in the morning. But relying on caffeine to get through the day only makes things worse by postponing the inevitable crash.
It's surprisingly annoying to get rid of a caffeine dependency, triggering headaches and grouchy moods for everyone around you to enjoy. Use it in moderation and fix the underlying reasons why you're tired in the first place.