We all experience a lack of energy from time to time but how you can feel more awake is easier than you might think.
If you’re feeling sluggish it’s likely you’ve picked up some habits that are leaving you drained. These science-backed alternatives are low effort and low cost, but should leave you feeling full of pep and more awake for the week ahead!
Have your coffee at 10:30 AM.
Who knew there was a perfect time to drink your latte? It turns out that 10:30 am is the magic number, as your cortisol levels (high from 8 am-9 am) start to drop, so the energizing impact of caffeine will have more of an effect.
Take a 10-minute nap.
Napping in the day can make you feel groggy, or affect your sleep that night. However, scientists have shown that a ten-minute snooze boosts energy without hitting the ‘sleep inertia’ phase that makes you feel more tired (that kicks in after 30 mins).
Yes, we know gum-chewing isn’t the most attractive habit, but hear us out – it comes with some surprising benefits. As well as freshening your mouth, sugar-free gum has been found to leave people feeling more energetic, according to one study. And that’s not all – it could also help you lose weight. Participants who chewed gum three times in the morning ate fewer calories at lunch and didn’t compensate for them during the day, as they felt less hungry.
Watch comedy shows.
Not only will a good laugh reduce fatiguing stress levels, but it’s been shown to increase energy levels too. When participants in a US study were shown 12-minute comedy clips they reported a decrease in tension as well as an energy boost, when compared to watching non-funny clips.
Swap big bites for 40 chews.
If you’re eating a small snack to keep your energy levels up during the afternoon slump, the way you eat can make a surprising difference. Chewing your food more thoroughly ensures that your body can absorb more energy and nutrients from what you eat, not to mention helping you feel more satisfied.
Research from the Institute of Food Technology found that subjects who chewed individual almonds 40 times rather than ten were able to absorb more valuable protein and Vitamin E particles into their system. Alternatively, you can cheat the system by eating chopped almonds or pure almond butter for the same benefits!
Try a yoga class.
Suggest to a friend that you try the occasional yoga class – your energy levels will thank you! 25 minutes of yoga a day has been found to significantly improve energy and brain function, according to a Canadian study. Scientists think it’s to do with the act of focusing on one thing at a time, and the increased blood flow, that helps your mind feel less burnt out. Alternatively, try a free online yoga class, visit www.yogawithadriene.com
Pick up some energizing multi-vitamins.
When it comes to supplements, more is more in terms of energy, especially if you suffer from anxiety or have low moods, according to Canadian research. Scientists found that when participants took more vitamins and minerals via supplements, they experienced an increase in mental energy and wellbeing. This was the case for those struggling with depression and anxiety too. However, only take the recommended amount.
Getting into a rut is one reason you might be feeling washed out. But the good news is it’s easy to trick your brain into releasing neurotransmitters such as dopamine, which can help you feel more alert. The brain does this in response to new experiences, but it doesn’t have to be parachute jumping or deep-sea diving (although be our guest!) just something as simple as changing the hand you use to brush your teeth can help. It will also make you more focused on a previously simple task and help switch off that exhausting inner chatter for a while.
Wear red clothes.
For an instant shot of energy, wear red clothing or accessories, or even switch to writing with a red pen. The color red gives our muscles a jolt of energy, making reactions faster and more intense. Scientists from the University of Rochester say while the reaction is only relatively short-lived, it works on our physical reactions because red is traditionally a dangerous color. For the study, students read an instruction to squeeze a handgrip. The text varied in color, revealing red instructions led to the strongest force and quickest response time.
While stocking your wardrobe with scarlet, take the opportunity for a declutter, too. A study from the University of Minnesota found those faced with too many choices had reduced physical stamina and were more likely to procrastinate.
Go on a 20-minute walk.
It might be the last thing you want to do when you’re feeling drained, but popping out to walk around the block is one of the best things you can do to perk up. In fact, if you’re usually sedentary, you can increase your energy levels by 20 percent and lower fatigue by a whopping 65 percent by doing regular, low-intensity exercise.
This statistic comes from a study involving 20 minutes of exercise three times a week, which found that, surprisingly, those who did low-intensity exercise had a greater fatigue reduction than those doing moderate exercise, so a short walk is all you need. Of course, getting moving will also help you sleep better and feel more refreshed tomorrow.
Spending time outdoors makes us feel more alive, according to a study by the University of Rochester. “Nature is fuel for the soul,” says lead author, Richard Ryan. “When depleted, we reach for coffee, but research suggests nature makes us feel more energized.”
Opt for dark chocolate over milk.
It sounds too good to be true, but chocolate could help keep you focused and alert – as long as you keep it dark. The flavanols in cocoa have been proven to improve both cognitive and visual functions, by scientists at the University of Reading. If you have a mentally taxing task, snack on a few squares of high cocoa chocolate and prepare to finish that crossword in record time!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Yours.