11 Tips For All-Day Energy So You Can Be As Productive & Happy As Possible
Life can be exhausting. Sometimes by the end of a work week I'm literally fantasizing about collapsing into bed. This is why solutions for all-day energy can have a huge impact on our overall quality of lives.
I used to start off on Mondays feeling pretty good, only to find it harder and harder to get up with my alarm the further the work week progressed. And not only that, but concentrating and staying energized while actually at work got harder and harder the closer to Friday it got. This had me reaching for energy drinks and quick sugary energy fixes that ultimately kept me up at night, which made it even harder to get up in the morning, which led to the whole thing all over again.
If this is sounding familiar, know that it doesn't have to be like this. You can genuinely get through a work week feeling energized and like you don't need to crawl under your desk and take a nap. I promise. It's just about implementing a few rituals and routines into your life that ensure you get enough sleep, and that also give you lasting, all day energy levels even on days when you didn't.
For those of you out there struggling to stay awake or feeling like you just don't have the energy you should, here are eleven hacks for all day energy that will seriously change your life.
1. Get Some Sunlight
According to Mariana Figueiro, PhD, program director of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Lighting Research Center in a piece for Prevention, getting about 30 minutes of sunlight every morning helps keep our circadian rhythms on schedule, meaning we won't end up feeling sleep deprived. So eat breakfast by a window, or sit on your stoop with some coffee.
2. Don't Drink Your Coffee First Thing
According to health writer and blogger Linda Wasmer Andrews for a piece for Psychology Today, our bodies produce adrenaline and cortisol when we wake up, and it starts to fade once we've been up a couple hours. So wait an hour or so before imbibing caffeine to maximize its effects.
3. And Don't Drink It All At Once
According to a study out of Harvard Medical School, researchers have found that small, frequent doses of caffeine are generally way more effective than a huge jolt first thing in the morning. Charles Czeisler, one of the school's head professors, said that about a quarter of a cup of coffee every hour kept study participants more alert throughout the day than a large cup every few hours.
4. Turn Up The Jams
According to that same Prevention article, Japanese researchers found that study participants felt more energized and like they exerted themselves more during exercise when they listened to uptempo music. Try playing some strategic jams the next time you feel your energy lag.
5. Ban Your Phone Before Bed
If you find yourself low on energy throughout the day, it could very well be because you're not getting enough sleep. Which is why psychologist Shelby Freedman Harris recommended avoiding the bright lights of TVs, phones, and tablets for up to a full hour before bed on a piece about shutting off your brain for The Huffington Post. All the lights "can make your brain think it's still daytime," and instead she recommended simply reading or journaling.
6. Keep Your Alarm Clock Across The Room
A compilation piece on HEALTH on ways to feel more energized recommended simply keeping your phone or alarm across the room from where you sleep. This means you'll actually have to get out of bed to turn it off, which will wake you up way faster.
7. Exercise... A Little
According to that same HEALTH piece, a study out of the University of Georgia found that people who did low-intensity exercise three times a week had greater reductions in fatigue levels than people who did high intensity workouts for the same amount of time. So don't feel like you need to push yourself to the limit to feel better overall.
8. Make Breakfast A Big Deal
In an article in Today's Dietitian, Megan Moore, RD, LD, CDE, said, “Breakfast isn’t a meal to skip when trying to keep your metabolism healthy," noting that, “Your metabolism slows down as you sleep, so there’s nothing like a healthy breakfast to jumpstart it for the day.” In the same article, Keren Gilbert, MS, RD, and founder of Decision Nutrition, said, “People who eat breakfast regularly get more vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in their diets, because there are wonderful food choices to include in this meal that are nutritionally dense, like fruit, whole grains, and lean proteins.”
9. Do A Hand Stand
OK, maybe not a full-on hand stand, but bending over and letting the blood rush to your head definitely helps. As certified yoga and Pilates instructor Kristin McGee said in a piece for Fitness Magazine, "Whenever you get the blood rushing toward your head, it definitely wakes you up!"
10. Limit Your Sugar
According to the WholeGrainsCouncil.org, a site devoted to encouraging people to eat more healthy grains, a lot of people will grab foods high in sugar or refined carbs for an instant energy boost. However, they noted all this does is give you a temporary spike in energy and then crash. Instead, try to fuel you body with slow-digesting carbs that will give you lasting energy, like a piece of whole grain toast with almond butter.
11. Eat Strategically
And jumping off that last point, the nutrition experts at CookingLight.com recommended always having energy-packed snacks on hand to ensure you're never tempted by the sugary stuff. They specifically recommended keeping walnuts, edamame, lentils, and melon around for on-the-go, lasting energy.
Most of us feel energy-deprived at least some of the time, and we resort to less-than-effective means to stay away (a.k.a. vending machine candy and chugging coffee). Try some or all of the above way better-for-you methods the next time you feel your energy lagging.