Article at a Glance
- Jump-start your day with energy and clarity through strategies that include hacking your circadian rhythm and improving blood flow.
- You can have lasting energy by improving sleep quality rather than merely aiming for a recommended sleep quantity.
- Supplements that enhance brain function and help the body adapt to stress can serve to replenish your energy and help offset changes in your body that contribute to overall fatigue.
Are you a hard-hitting, driven person who despite your best efforts is still drained much of the day?
With only 24 hours in a day, getting more sleep may not always be easy. Downing energy drinks and coffee for a quick energy boost only takes you so far. The combined effects of lost shut-eye and too much caffeine can lead to an epic crash and burn, so If you want to know how to have more energy without surrendering your packed lifestyle, try out some of the following strategies.
Morning Routine: Prime Yourself for the Day
Specific changes in your morning routine can help you start your day the energy-saving way.
Get Up and at ‘Em
Banging repeatedly on the snooze button can disrupt the body’s natural circadian rhythm. Upon waking, your circadian rhythm goes through a process of bringing you into a fully alert state, preparing you for the day. Constant wake-sleep-wake activity causes the internal clock to go out of sync with the surrounding environment, so when you wake up—get up [R].
Hop in the Shower
A morning shower awakens the body and senses, eases the night’s kinks and stiffness, and gets the blood pumping. A warm shower boosts body temperature from cool sleeping mode to warm, energized, and ready to take on the world.
Cold showers can also be energizing. Studies reveal that cold water therapies can increase vigor and energy levels, improve depressed moods, and may provide a host of other benefits. The antidepressive and energy-boosting effects of a cold shower are attributed to the presence of a high density of cold receptors in the skin that send an overwhelming amount of stimulating electrical impulses to the brain [R].
Figure out which works best for you. Fine-tune the hot and cold knobs to see what temps perk you up the most.
Exercise to Pump Up Energy Levels
Give yourself a boost of energy by waking up and stepping into those workout clothes. Exercise delivers vital oxygen and nutrients to the brain and muscles and floods your body with feel-good endorphins. Oxygen saturation in the tissues means the heart and lungs can function better and support lasting energy throughout the day.
It’s better to have a quick workout than to go without energizing physical activity. If you’re pressed for time, elevate your heart rate with a 10-minute walk around the block or do several minutes of stretching.
Evening Routine: Prime Yourself for Sleep
Not getting enough sleep can both leave you exhausted and put you at risk of significant health concerns such as weight gain, lowered immune system function, depression, and even increased risk of diabetes and heart issues. Here are some ways to tweak your evening routine to improve the quality of your sleep.
Leave the Booze on the Top Shelf
Despite the fact that alcohol is a depressant, too much alcohol can lead to a bad night’s sleep.
According to research, alcohol does help you fall asleep quicker and sleep more deeply for a while. But the flip side is that it reduces deep sleep and restorative rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
The first REM sleep period usually initiates about 90 minutes after falling asleep. However, studies reveal that if alcohol is consumed before sleep, the onset of REM sleep is significantly delayed [R].
The REM phase of sleep accounts for approximately 20-25% of an adult’s sleep cycle [R]. REM sleep is thought to benefit learning, memory, and mood, and to contribute to brain development. Physical and emotional health can both suffer when REM sleep is lacking.
Alcohol-disturbed and REM-deprived sleep have also been linked to [R]:
- Impaired coping skills
- Excess weight
- Sleep apnea
- Disruption of the body’s circadian rhythm
So for the best night’s sleep, keep alcohol intake to a minimum.
Keep It Cool, Dark, and Quiet
It’s vital to customize your surroundings to minimize sleep disturbances. Studies show that people who live near airports and patients in noisy hospitals report adverse effects from sleep loss and excessive daytime sleepiness [R][R].
A calm, dark environment maximizes chances for a good night’s sleep. Blackout blinds, a sleep mask, and earplugs are all helpful hacks.
And get this—sleeping naked can boost daytime energy levels! Since the body cools off naturally during sleep, helping the body get to that lower temperature faster by ditching the PJs can encourage sound and comfortable sleep. Keeping the room between 60-67°F can help, too.
Ditch the Screen Scene
The body works on a circadian rhythm triggered by darkness and light. The absence of light triggers the release of melatonin, the essential sleep hormone [R]. When melatonin is released, the body recognizes it is time to sleep. However, phones, tablets, laptops, and other screens emit a brain-stimulating blue wavelength light that prevents the release of melatonin, leading to poor quality sleep [R].
Put the blue light out of sight. If it’s feasible, stop staring at your gadgets for at least an hour before you go to sleep. If that’s not possible, many devices enable you to change the light setting on the screen to turn down the intensity. Or, a handy app like f.lux will set the light of your computer screen to adjust for the time of day.
Another helpful hack to use when you can’t give up the screen is getting a pair of blue light blocking glasses. Initially designed for gamers, these glasses have lenses that filter the out the harmful wavelengths and help promote better sleep.
Tame Your Snoring
Snoring disturbs good quality sleep, and it tends to get louder and more problematic with age. Snoring occurs when the throat muscles relax during sleep, causing the airway to narrow. The fragmented breathing and any gasping or choking episodes can kill your chances of getting restful sleep. Worse yet, those symptoms may indicate a more serious health threat—sleep apnea.
Blood oxygen levels plummet when there is airway obstruction during sleep [R]. The heart beats faster to compensate for this stress-induced oxygen deprivation in the brain, and there is an associated cortisol release as well. Atypical nighttime spikes of cortisol disturb the normal sleep process, making quality sleep elusive [R].
A snoring problem can be inconvenient and draining, but sleep apnea can be life-threatening. If you have symptoms that might be due to sleep apnea, please see your physician as soon as possible. Once sleep apnea is ruled out, consider using a mandibular advancement device for snoring. It’s a low-cost gadget which holds your lower jaw and tongue slightly forward to open up space for breathing.
Enhance Mitochondrial Function
Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell and are vital to energy production in the body. Aging is associated with a decline in mitochondrial quality and activity [R]. Here are some ways to combat that decline and power up your mitochondria.
- High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts are cardio interval routines that alternative high-intensity activity with periods of rest. Studies show that HIIT can increase mitochondrial capacity, cellular energy production, and mitochondrial function [R]. HIIT training also boosts brain function and brightens your mood.
- Cryotherapy, which employs brief sessions of extreme cold exposure, can improve mitochondrial function and production [R].
- NAD+ is a coenzyme involved in regulating cellular metabolism and energy production. Increasing one’s levels of NAD+ have been shown to increase energy levels [R]. Intravenous NAD+ is currently used in clinics to boost NAD+ levels [R]. Supplements that stimulate NAD+ production, like NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide), have also shown promising results and may provide energizing benefits, particularly in older bodies that don’t produce enough NAD+ [R].
Boost Testosterone Levels
Testosterone plays a significant role in the regulation of energy balance [R]. In both sexes, counteracting testosterone decline and maintaining sufficient testosterone levels into middle age are both key to fighting fatigue.
Having a body composition with more lean muscle and less fat leads to higher levels of testosterone. Strength training is one of the most effective ways to increase lean muscle mass. Both men and women can use endurance and resistance exercise to optimize testosterone levels [R].
Boost Cognitive Function
Reasoning, comprehension, and memory all start to decline around midlife [R]. Nootropics are compounds that enhance brain function. Adaptogens are substances that can help fight mental fatigue and heighten focus by modulating stress responses [R]. Numerous nootropic and adaptogenic supplements can provide natural, cutting-edge support for cognitive function, including:
- Ginkgo biloba
- Panax ginseng
- Maca root
- Yerba mate
- Rhodiola rosea
- Bacopa monnieri (Brahmi or water hyssop)
- DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)
- Acetyl L-Carnitine
- DMAE (2-dimethylaminoethanol)
Adopting a meditative or deep breathing practice is another valuable cognition booster. Meditation increases blood flow to the brain and improves efficiency in the brain region associated with attention capabilities [R].
Fix the Gut Microbiome
Microbiome balance is crucial for maintaining day-to-day energy levels. Gut bacteria help to fully digest and assimilate the energizing nutrients found in the food you eat [R]. Plus, some bacteria produce energy-promoting B vitamins [R]. Furthermore, gut bacteria produce and manage neurotransmitters that contribute to quality sleep [R].
When the gut bacteria are inadequate or improperly balanced (dysbiosis), energy levels can diminish and the sleep can suffer. To counter this, taking probiotic supplements can increase levels of beneficial bacteria and optimize gut functioning [R].
Keep Yourself Prime
Being tired can sap your lust for life. These recommendations can help you optimize your body to feel energized today and for many years to come. If you need assistance getting started, take a look at our directory for clinics in your area that can help.
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