‘Wake up and smell the coffee’ is a saying for a reason. If the only thing that gets you to crawl out of bed is the promise of a strong cup, you’re not alone. For most people, though, it’s more than a single pour. In fact, many coffee drinkers sip straight through the afternoon — but relying on caffeine for an all-day energy perk can lead to side effects. While we’re not saying you should break up with coffee for good, there are other ways to get a pick-me-up without pouring yourself another cup. So, we’re here to help you embrace a balanced lifestyle and teach you how to stay energized without caffeine!
Causes of Low Energy
We get it — if your gas tank is far from full, cutting back on caffeine might be easier said than done. If it feels like you’re dragging, you lack that pep in your step, or just want to go home and lay on your couch, an extra cup of caffeine might seem like your only lifeline. However, what if you got to the root cause of why you’re always tired?
There are so many factors that can cause fatigue, including both medical considerations and lifestyle habits. Commonly, that’s lack of sleep. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of adults don’t get the recommended seven or more hours a day of sleep. Aside from sleepless nights, other factors can also drag down your energy. There are mental health considerations (like stress, depression, and anxiety), lifestyle factors (such as over-exercising and eating unhealthily), and of course, medical conditions (such as diabetes, heart disease, and autoimmune disorders).
So before you reach for the extra cup of coffee, here are 10 things to do if you’re always tired.
Why Caffeine Isn’t Always the Answer
According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, it’s generally safe for healthy adults to consume 400 mg of caffeine a day, about the amount found in four or five cups of coffee. But keep in mind — caffeine is found in other food and drinks, including black and green teas, chocolate, and energy drinks. So, you have to account for these other sources, as well!
That said, as the FDA points out, everyone has their own limit of caffeine they can tolerate. And if you’re in tune with your body, you’ll know where your limit is based on how caffeine makes you feel. For example, if you feel jittery, anxious, get headaches, or have GI problems, you might be consuming too much. You might also have trouble sleeping at night if you consume caffeine too late in the day, and that sleep disruption can make you more fatigued the next day, setting off a vicious cycle. As you can see, learning how to stay energized without caffeine is key!
How to Stay Energized All Day Without Caffeine
Sip More H20
Coffee and energy drinks are technically fluids, but they’re not substitutes for water intake. In fact, they can actually dehydrate you! So if you know you’re not hydrating enough throughout the day, increasing the amount of water you drink is the answer.
This one simple change has been shown to decrease fatigue, sleepiness, and cognitive problems such as confusion, so if you want to stay alert and energized, keep on sipping!
However, if it’s tough for you to increase your intake, you might find keeping a water bottle nearby helps you reach your goal. And, this simple hydration hack will help you save money and live more sustainably — sounds like a win across the board!
Eat Hydrating Foods
Beyond containing loads of vitamins and minerals, fruits and veggies come with a serious perk: they’re filled with water! So while you’re snacking away on good-for-you nutrients, you’re also fulfilling your hydration needs. In fact, 20 percent of your daily fluid needs can come from food!
Add more water-rich fruits and vegetables (such as melon, citrus, berries, tomatoes, summer squash, cucumbers, bell peppers) to your meals and snacks when you can. Bonus? Packing your diet with produce is associated with less feelings of stress—one of the causes of low energy!
One of the best things you can do to ensure a good night’s sleep? Move your body during the day. In a study in PeerJ, exercise was associated with better sleep quality — especially in people dealing with insomnia. Exercise is a great antidote to stress, and according to research, may improve feelings of anxiety and depression. Plus, it can also help physically tire you out so that you’re ready for bed when the time comes.
Take Five Outside
Energy dipping at work? Head outside for a breath of fresh air. Being in nature, especially in the presence of natural sunlight, is associated with better mental health because it’s a natural energy booster. According to research, this can restore your mind to counteract cognitive fatigue!
Can’t get out? Crack open a window and take a deep inhale.
Skip The Caffeine For An All Natural Buzz
It’s common to “treat” low energy with caffeine, but there are other ways you can increase your perkiness! To help boost your natural energy stores, be sure to hydrate, eat a healthy diet, exercise, and spend time in nature.
Now that you know how to stay energized without caffeine, call on these natural energy boosters when you’re feeling fatigued!
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