Leave lethargy behind - 17 ways to boost your energy

17 ways to boost your energy

1. Keep hydrated

It’s important to keep hydrated, but it doesn’t just have to be water to do the job for you. “For most people, two litres of fluid a day is ideal,” says dietitian Marcela Fiuza.  “This includes herbal teas and you can add fruit to water. However, drinks that contain caffeine don’t count.” It is vital that we rehydrate when we wake up after a good night’s sleep. Start your day with a glass of cold water or a mug of what hot water, get a dose of vitamin C by adding in some lemon.

2. Don’t press Snooze!

Young people are more likely to try to grab a few extra minutes of sleep by hitting the snooze button, according to research into the nation’s snooze habits by YouGov. However, those snatched additional moments of sleep are not doing you any favours energy-wise. It can leave you feeling groggy for hours. So, it’s better to listen to the alarm and get up – and once you’re up, stick with it!

3. Brighten up your breakfast

Adding some colour to your breakfast is a great way to consume energising vitamins and minerals. A combination of wholegrain carbohydrates, protein and a little fruit for example. Why not try, scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast with tomatoes and mushrooms, or porridge made with skimmed milk and served with fruit. It will help you feel fuller for longer and provide energy.

4. Wake up and smell the sunshine

Kickstart your morning by opening your curtains and letting the daylight filter in, says sleep expert and author of The Little Book of Sleep Dr Nerina Ramlakhan (www.drnerina.com). “Daylight helps to control your body clock and it also suppresses the production of melatonin (the sleep hormone), making you feel more alert.”

5. Get moving outdoors!

Exercise is one of the best ways to boost energy. The key is to raise your heart rate – brisk walking intervals are a great way to start.

6. Use caffeine wisely

Keep your caffeine intake to a minimum ideally no more than two cups a day.

7. Take the night off (drinking)

Cutting back on alcohol can have a positive impact on how you look and feel within a few days, according to independent UK charity Drinkaware. Drinking too much can make you feel tired, sluggish and under the weather. The NHS recommends two dry (alcohol-free) days each week.

8. Protein-load your lunch

Having a greater protein to carbohydrate ratio gives your body’s cells a more stable supply of energy, according to research by the University of Illinois. Try to go for lean protein sources such as chicken and fish, or plant-based sources such as beans, pulses lentils and chickpeas.

9. Ditch the tech

Get away from your desk and phone, and just completely switch off from technology for a bit.

10. Reduce stress

When we’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, it can take a huge toll on our physical and mental health. Do something you enjoy each day, whether that’s working out at the gym, reading or spending time with friends and family.

11. Sit tall

If you’re prone to slouching at your desk or slumping forwards while focussing on your phone or table, this is poor posture can make your energy dip. Sitting up straight (with your hands behind your head) can initiate changes in your energy levels in just two minutes, according to power posing research by Harvard Business School.

12. Savvy snacking

Opting for a sugary pick-me-up is a bad idea when your energy is flagging. You get a peak of energy, but it will go down just as fast. Keep your blood sugar levels stable by opting for snacks such as rice cakes or oatcakes with nut butter or try mixing raisins with nuts.

13. Have a power nap

You can power nap both sitting or lying down. Dr Ramlakhan recommends doing it sometime between 2pm and 4pm for optimum energy by boost. Any time later than this will affect your ability to sleep at night. “A power nap is to sleep” she says. “It’s anything between five and 20 minutes where you gradually move into a state of relaxation. You can use your breathing as a focus or listen to a power-nap podcast”.

14. Supplement support

“Most of us should be taking a vitamin D supplement on a daily basis” says Marcela Fiuza. “People can also be low in some vitamins and minerals. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you can have a perfectly healthy diet but it takes a little more effort to get enough iron and vitamin B12 through what you eat. I would advise vegans to supplement with vitamin B12.”

15. Look after your gut

Taking a probiotic might be helpful with maintaining energy thought the day says Marcela Fiuza. “Currently, there’s isn’t a general recommendation that everyone should take a probiotic if they want to improve their energy levels. However, people who have gastric problems or symptoms typical of IBS may find they respond well to a daily probiotic and see their energy levels improve.”

16. Eat a nutrient-rich dinner

There are high-protein foods that are also rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which is essential in creating the sleep-inducing serotonin and melatonin,” says Marcela Fiuza. “Foods such as turkey, chicken and eggs are all good sources of tryptophan. Eating a wholegrain carbohydrate with the protein will help to further improve your uptake of tryptophan – for example, turkey with brown rice and vegetables.”

17. Get an early night

“According to the Chinese medicine clock (a tool used in traditional Chinese medicine), the favoured time for sleep is before midnight,” says Dr Ramlakahan. “I recommend getting to bed at round 10pm for three or four nights a week. You may not necessarily be sleeping, but you are allowing yourself to rest and wind down. It’s important you don’t use any electronic devices during this time. If you can manage this three of four nights a week it can really have a positive impact on your energy levels.”

Published on 24 June 2020