It's true. We are all in an energy crisis. There is work, school, family responsibilities, caring for a home, caring for parents and/or children and the pressure to get everything on the never-ending To Do List completed better, quicker, and more efficient than before.
Cartwheeling with enthusiasm through it all might be more of an aspiration than a reality, and at the end of the day, we may be left with wishing we had more energy to do more, see more, and be present more.
So, we turn to energy drinks.
From late night studying to working third shift, poor quality energy drinks may give you the stimulant boost you want to get through it all, but they just don't deliver on their promise of bringing you the real energy you need (case in point: this product).
So, instead of looking for more energy (you just can't get "more") and instead of choosing poor quality stimulants as your liberation, focus on saying YES! to these four simple things to help you get better energy, more often.
1.) Choose Real Energy
The word "calorie" is a unit of ENERGY! That means that when you are looking for energy, you must get it through calories - and to get calories, you must eat food! I recommend choosing whole foods in a balance of carbohydrates (they give your body quick energy!), proteins (they give your body communicative and power-energy), and healthy fats (they give your body sustained energy!) and choosing to eat in a frequent manner (likely every 3-4 hours or when hunger cues prompt eating). Eating frequently and choosing a balance of nutrients helps avoid the highs and lows of blood sugar to keep your energy more stable throughout the day.
2.) Get Better Sleep
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults between the ages of 26 and 64 get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night (no less than 6, no more than 10). (1) Along with numerous other benefits, sleep -- specifically REM (rapid eye movement) sleep -- helps restore and prep the body for handling social and emotional activities for the next day. (2) Can't seem to fall asleep at night? Cut caffeine in the hours before bedtime, power down electronics before bed (or turn on "night-shift" on your phones and tablets), adopt a bedtime routine, and make sure your bedroom is a cool, dark environment.
I find that many people will turn to caffeine if they didn't get enough sleep. But, although caffeine from energy drinks, coffee, or otherwise may provide a bit of a stimulant boost, research suggests that "the effects of caffeine are limited and caffeine does not protect against all the adverse effects of sleep loss." (3) For better energy and better health, you must get your ZZZs.
3) Exercise for Better Energy and Better Sleep
Get more movement for better energy! According to one 2011 study, more physical activity means more alertness, excitement, and enthusiasm. (4) Struggling to make exercise part of your day? Do something you love - whether it's walking on your lunch hour (short 10 minute bouts of exercise count!), biking with a friend, dancing on the weekends (yep, that counts too!), or exercises during your favorite TV show - every little bit adds up!
Worried that exercise might hinder your sleep? Some research shows that physical activity helps support a longer duration of sleep and better quality sleep - even in shift workers! (5)
4.) Energize Yourself by Doing What You Love
Do activities you love - activities that give you a sense of purpose - and energize you from the inside out. Simply spending time thinking about the ones you love can improve energy, confidence and alertness. (6) Spending time DOING what you love can be important too - research demonstrates that volunteering, though it takes time and energy, can foster a better sense of balance and may positively alter health. (7)
What helps you feel more energized? Share it with me in the comments below - I love hearing what YOU have to say!