Are you one of the many people that struggle with fluctuating energy levels throughout the day? You may pump caffeine into your body, but it doesn’t seem to help you wake up, or it works for a little bit but then it eventually wears off. A sugary snack may give you a quick jolt, but the crash is hardly worth it. The day becomes a never ending cycle of trying to figure out just how much caffeine to drink and at what intervals just to keep those drooping eyes alert and the fatigue at bay. Here are some tips on how to naturally improve your energy levels without being caffeine or sugar dependent.
Kick the morning caffeine habit
Our adrenal glands are small organs that sit on top of our kidneys. Cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone” is released by the adrenal glands throughout the day. In the morning, your cortisol levels should be at their highest, and slowly decrease throughout the day. Cortisol is what helps you to wake up in the morning and function duringt the day. During times of stress, cortisol is produced to increase heartrate, blood pressure, epinephrine production, and to stimulate the “fight or flight” response. Coffee contains alkaloids called methylxanthines that act on the brain to increase energy levels and alertness (by stimulating cortisol levels). Coffee also blocks the adenosine receptors in your brain, so a buildup of adenosine begins to occur. Adenosine is responsible for helping you sleep, so when there is a major backup of adenosine from coffee, when the coffee wears off the adenosine is able to bind to the receptors which will increase your fatigue.
When you drink caffeine in the morning it will stimulate more cortisol to be produced in your body, but when the effects of the caffeine wear off your energy levels decrease and you are left dragging your feet and trying to keep your eyes open. When you make a habit of consuming caffeien in the morning, your body becomes dependent on it to help produce cortisol. This causes your adrenal glands become overworked and stop working naturally to create cortisol and keep proper cortisol levels through the day. This is known as adrenal fatigue, which is why you become more and more dependent on caffeine to wake you up in the mornings. Because caffeine stimulates a stress response in the body, you can imagine how drinking your coffee in rush hour traffic – an already stressful situation – may be a recipe for more unwarranted stress on your body. While a cup of coffee is not necessarily bad for your body, don't drink so much of it that you are dependent on it just to function every morning.
Increase your daily water intake
It may like too simple of a solution to increasing your energy, but making sure to keep your water intake high will have a huge impact on your bodily functions, including improving your energy levels through the day. When you are dehydrated, your blood volumes decreases while the viscosity (thickness) of your blood increases. The more viscous your blood, the slower it moves and the harder your heart has to work to pump it through the body. Because it is taking longer for blood to get through your body, the oxygen containing red blood cells are not delivering oxygen at a fast enough rate, especially to the brain. This causes fatigue. When you are dehydrated, your brain actually begins to shrink and your mood and memory also become affected.
Move around at work or school
When you are at work or school, especially if you are sitting for the majority of your day, it is important to get your body up and moving every now and then. A good way to keep your energy boosted throughout the day is to get up and walk around every hour or so. Go to the water fountain, walk around the cubicles – moving your body will help to wake you up and get your blood pumping through your body to increase oxygen delivery. Getting up and stretching will help to relax tight muscles which could be hindering or stagnating the flow of blood.
Try out these tips and you will likely see an immediate boost to your daily energy levels!