Health & Wellness: Increasing Energy Without Caffeine

by FIN |

By Donnie DeSanti

One of my favorite episodes of “Seinfeld” is when George comes up with the idea to build a napping area underneath his desk at work. He has a little shelf put in where he has an alarm clock, and stores a pillow in his drawer. It’s a perfect setup! The beauty of it all is it looks like he’s out working hard when management walks by. I think many of us wouldn’t mind a little nap set up under our desk from time to time. Nothing is worse than the feeling when those eyelids get heavy as the afternoon wanes on. For some people, however, this struggle is an all day thing. Imagine fighting to stay awake each day? The reality is it’s more common than we think. Take a look at most coffee shops – they’re packed with people trying to get a jolt to their day. A cup here and there is fine but when we are relying on to get us through the day, something is wrong.

There is a better way to keep our energy going. A way that works naturally with your body so you’re not relying on pick me ups and shots of espresso to carry you through another day. Here are a few to keep that afternoon slump at bay:

Make up for sleep in the front end of the night: We are all trying to find ways to sneak in more sleep, which is typically sleeping in or hitting the snooze a dozen times. The problem is some of our most beneficial sleep comes from the beginning of the night. Research shows that some of the deepest sleep comes between the hours of 9-11 p.m. when our body goes through a majority of the REM and non-REM cycles. Getting to sleep earlier means more restful night sleeps, which means more energy the next day. Winning!

Curb your sweet tooth: Ironically, the lack of proper sleep can influence our sweet tooth as well. When we are lacking in sleep this disrupts our hunger hormones, ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is our hunger hormone and is stimulated when we get improper sleep, which results in more cravings. That typically leads to cravings of sugar, as the body knows that it is a quick source of fuel. The problem is that usually leads to a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs in our energy. What goes up usually comes crashing down in the form of lethargy. Opt out of those sugar loaded candy bars and look to keep your sugar levels on an even keel with real food. This will produce more sustained energy throughout the day.

Drink more water: Did you know if we had to we could go weeks without food? But water is something we can only last a few days without before things start breaking down. The thing is many of us are walking around mildly dehydrated and not even knowing it. Our blood is made up of 92 percent water and 8 percent plasma. Even a slight dip in that ratio can cause our blood to run a little sluggish. Imagine what that decrease can do to our energy output? The act of drinking more water is a simple thing that is often overlooked, mainly because we have so many other options to choose from besides water. Many of those options are loaded with sugar. But increasing your water consumption may be exactly what you need for lasting energy throughout the day.

Keep it moving: Today’s lifestyle has promoted more of a sedentary one compared to our ancestors. We no longer have to hunt and gather our food, nor provide many physical demands of old. Some of these demands can be done right from our handheld phone. The result is that we are moving less. We have all heard the saying , “An object in motion tends to stay in motion. An object at rest tends to stay at rest.” The same theory can be said about our energy levels. By moving more we get the heart working and blood pumping and this creates better energy output in our day. It doesn’t have to be a full gym workout either. Something as simple as walking around the block or office is enough to get our heart pumping and increase energy. Make finding ways to move more a fun game in your day. It will help to keep that energy lasting longer.

Give any combination or even just one of these simple lifestyle changes for one week and assess how you feel. You might be surprised. Make that cup of Joe an option, not a requirement.

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