Some would say caffeine is the nectar of the Gods. After all, it helps millions of people get their day rocking and rolling. However, the tasty black gold follows many of us well past the morning. We all experience that midday slump, and what’s the first thing we grab for? You guessed it. From what research shows us, coffee is relatively healthy. One study published earlier this year found that drinking three to five cups per day was associated with a reduced risk of CAC or coronary artery calcium, while another study found coffee consumption to decrease the risk of developing multiple sclerosis. These studies sound great, but they’re only one side of the story. Coffee is also known to cause insomnia, anxiety, increased heart rate, and make you more agitated. This can all lead to more stress, something we don’t need any more of. The next time you feel like you need yet another cup of coffee, try these tips instead:
Go For A Walk
Exercise has a tremendous impact on our energy levels. A 2008 study published by the New York Times found that even low-intensity exercise helped to reduce fatigue. From Dr. Tim Puetz: “Too often we believe that a quick workout will leave us worn out — especially when we are already feeling fatigued. However, we have shown that regular exercise can actually go a long way in increasing feelings of energy — particularly in sedentary individuals.” While a walk out in nature is preferable, if you’re stuck behind a desk, simply walking around the office will help get your blood pumping. Many workplaces have their own gym, and in that case, walk on over to the treadmill.
Talk To A Friend Or Loved One
You ever chat with a close friend or loved one, and feel a boost of energy? Well, there’s actually some evidence to help back it up. In 2013, doctors Jack Groppel and Janet Nikolovski published a study titled “The Power of an Energy Microburst”. In it, they talk about “microbursts” or small activities that help increase energy. Similar to the study published by the New York Times, they also found physical activity to help. However, simply talking to a loved one was more beneficial than drinking a cup of coffee. From Fast Company: “Interacting with people is also energizing, though it has to be the right people. "Talking to a coworker wasn’t nearly as energizing as talking to a loved one," Nikolovski says. They plotted various energy boosters on a 1-10 point scale and compared these to the default energy booster: coffee. "When you go to reach for energy, you reach for caffeine," Nikolovski says. People who’d had a coffee in the 30 minutes before reporting their energy levels scored a 6.8. People who’d talked to a loved one? They scored around 7 on the 1-10 point scale.”
Get More Sleep
Sleep is one of the more underrated ways to boost your energy. Sadly, many of us don’t get enough of it and if we do, it’s not always quality sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep for people ages 18 to 64, and seven to eight hours for those over 65. Fitness bands like the Jawbone UP or Fitbit track your sleeping patterns, and will help you determine if you’re actually getting quality sleep.
Take A Power Nap
Since we’re on the topic of sleep, there’s few better ways to beat that midday slump than a nice power nap. Many Fortune 500 companies and startups have adopted the idea as it not only helps boost energy, but makes for more productive employees. Generally, 10 to 30 minutes is recommended, and naps that go any longer than that can actually cause you to feel as tired, if not more so than when you laid down. Obviously, a power nap isn’t possible for everyone, but if you can swing it, it’ll do your body good.
Grab A Healthy Snack
While getting enough sleep and exercise is up there in terms of having a good amount of energy, if you’re not putting the right food into your body, it can completely derail everything else. Foods rich in fiber, protein, and complex carbohydrates are an important part of every diet, and you should stay away from sugary snacks as much as possible. Similar to drinking a cup of coffee, you’ll eventually come down from a high, in this case sugar, and crash. Instead, focus on healthy energy-boosting snacks when that grogginess kicks in. Here are just a few:
Also, if you’re not drinking enough water, that can affect your energy levels as well. The most common sign of dehydration is fatigue, and unfortunately kicking back one soda after another isn’t a good way to keep yourself hydrated.
heart.bmj.com/content/early/2015/02/06/heartjnl-2014-306663 www.aan.com/PressRoom/Home/GetDigitalAsset/11535 well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/29/the-cure-for-exhaustion-more-exercise/?_r=0 www.wellnessandpreventioninc.com/sites/default/files/publication/Microburst_FINAL_PDF_09.13.13.pdf www.fastcompany.com/3018642/how-to-be-a-success-at-everything/need-more-energy-skip-the-coffee-and-call-your-mom-instead www.sleephealthjournal.org/article/S2352-7218(15)00015-7/fulltext www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2012/07/24/why-you-should-take-a-10-minute-nap-every-day/