The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Too often, we reach for soda or a high sugar coffee treat when we’re tired. However, these products can lead to the energy roller-coaster process. During an energy roller-coaster, you move from caffeine to sugar to crunchy snacks to wake you up and then back to caffeine. These chemicals may help you feel energized, but they don’t feed your body well enough to keep you awake and moving steadily.
If you struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep, try to increase your nighttime sleepiness by altering your light level exposure. Electric lights mess with our brains; some light colors tell us the sun is up, which is a historical trigger to get moving.
A simple way to do this is to start reducing light exposure an hour before your bedtime. Turn off screens 30 minutes before bed and just use lamps instead of big overhead lights. If you find that your brain does start to wind down but not enough, spend that last 15 minutes using only candlelight to help your brain wind down.
The production of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone declines as we age. Carrying extra weight, not exercising, and being under a lot of stress can also lower your ability to generate these necessary hormones. If you’re struggling to have the energy to boost your workout intensity, a natural testosterone supplement taken with each meal can do a lot to boost your energy and help you maintain steady energy.
Do be sure to be gentle with your body as you start this supplementation process. There may be days when your energy level goes way up, and you should get out and enjoy life, but be prepared for more soreness the next day. Make sure you take a stretch day, spend some time in the water, and consider adding a whey-based protein supplement after your workout to reduce soreness.
If you’re on birth control pills, your endocrine system may be confused when you switch your prescription or stop taking the pills altogether. Again, be gentle with your body as your hormones come back online. Whether you’re attempting to get pregnant or are just tired of chemically altering yourself each day, your transition from pills to another form of contraception may impact both your mood and your energy level.
If you need a snack in the middle of the day, lay in a stock of whole-grain crackers and nut butter that you can use to boost your energy without flooding your body with simple carbs. For those who struggle with nut allergies, a cheese option may be a better choice.
If you’re focused on boosting fiber and lowering your calorie intake, eat the crackers plain and toss back a couple of fresh cherry tomatoes, some raw veggies, and a cup of green or white tea to boost your antioxidant intake and add caffeine if you must.
If you enjoy coffee in the morning but find yourself dragging in the afternoon, step away from the coffeemaker and knock back some cold water. Caffeine is energizing; as it’s a stimulant, it will get your body and brain going pretty quickly. However, it will also dehydrate your tissues. Instead of loading up again on more coffee, switch to water or the teas mentioned above.
Sunlight is critical to regulating your physical, mental, and emotional energy. If you live in a low sunlight part of the world in the winter, make sure you get out every day the sun is out and expose a socially acceptable amount of skin to the sun. Yes, it may be cold out there. However, if you can get on the south side of a building and out of the wind, lift your face to the sky and let the sun warm your skin.
Before you head out on a hot summer day, you will want to load up on sunscreen. However, if you can get out early in the day before the sun is too hot, let your skin soak up some rays to wake up your body and spirit. If you like walking early in the morning, do make sure you take your sunglasses to avoid a squint headache.