How To Increase Energy Levels, 10 All-Natural Tips
Recently, I have been asked a lot about how to improve energy levels, it is a big problem for many people.
Unfortunately, the modern environment of constant stimulation from caffeine, sugar, nicotine, social media, and television is wreaking havoc on our energy levels and the most important factor in stable energy levels, sleep, has been forgotten.
I saw it first hand when I worked in finance, many of my colleagues would be on a cycle of stimulation – they wake up have their coffee, after a few hours the caffeine wears off, so they have a cigarette. After an hour or so the nicotine wears off, so they started to crave something sweet, so they have a can of coke and then after the sugar wears off another coffee, and so on. This cycle would repeat day after day.
In this article, I am going to talk you through the methods I use to keep myself on one stable energy level all day long, without needing to depend on food, caffeine or sugar.
Top 10 All-Natural Tips to Increase Your Energy Levels
The number one most important factor in stable energy levels is to get quality sleep EVERY night. This may sound obvious but unfortunately, sleep is often overlooked when someone has a busy schedule. The fact is, you could follow all the rest of the methods below, but if you aren’t focusing on getting quality shut eye, the all other efforts will be useless. Improving your sleep is the most important thing you can do for your health, wellness and energy levels. Find out why sleep is more important that diet and exercise.
Cut Out Caffeine
This will be very difficult for some of you, but the more you think you will struggle with this, the more you need to do it. Caffeine is a drug and like with all drugs you can become dependent on it. If you have caffeine dependency you will never have stable energy levels. The good news is that you don’t have to cut it out forever, after about 7 days without caffeine your body will start to become sensitive again. You could either do this cold turkey, which might be incredibly difficult depending on your habits, or you can reduce your consumption by half every few days until you are at zero, then spend 7 days without any caffeine at all. Once you have done this you can start to reintroduce it when you need it the most. Caffeine should be a performance enhancer, not something you use to function on a daily basis.
Eat Nutrient-dense Foods (Avoid Added Sugars)
Once you start fuelling your body effectively, with nutrient dense foods, you will see a dramatic increase in energy levels. Eating cheap, processed nutrient sparse foods will wreak havoc on your energy levels. Avoid snacking on what I call “food like” products – crisps, cereal, biscuits, bread, sweets, milk chocolate etc. These foods are high in energy which means you will get a quick burst of energy but then a crash after. They are a big contributor to the mid-morning and mid-afternoon slump in energy levels. Worse still, your body will start to crave and expect these types of foods at the same time of day, just like caffeine. If you are new to eating in this way, cooking with fresh ingredients can be a great way to start!
Try The 2 Meal Day
Intermittent fasting using 2 Meal Day has been shown to be a highly effective tool to stabilise energy levels. You may think this sounds counter-intuitive… surely eating less frequently is going to make us more tired, because we need that food for energy? WRONG! 2 Meal Day teaches you to start using your bodies stored energy – body fat. Once you have learnt how to reset your body to burn fat, you start tapping into your fat reserves you will experience the “fasting buzz” insane mental clarity and energy on a daily basis! Fat is the preferred fuel source for low-intensity activities like our day to day routine and slower endurance-based exercise. On top of this, you are freeing up a load of energy from constantly digesting, which is very energy demanding and a hormone called norepinephrine is released during fasting which has a direct effect on your mental alertness.
It’s amazing how much more energised I feel when I am following an effective training program. Again, you may think this sounds counter intuitive, surely the more you exercise the more tired you will feel. This is incorrect, exercise releases a concoction of feel good, energising hormones like endorphins which have a direct effect on energy levels and sleep quality. You don’t have to be in the gym 5 times per week to get these benefits, I believe that small daily improvements are the key to long lasting results, so just incorporating more activity into your daily routine can make a huge difference to your energy levels.
Reduce Alcohol Consumption
First of all, you can certainly fit alcohol into a healthy lifestyle, but alcohol can have significant effects on your energy levels. Although you might fall asleep quicker, alcohol prevents you from getting deep sleep – which is crucial for recovery. On top of this, alcohol can impair the mechanisms by which the body controls blood glucose levels, resulting in either increased or decreased blood glucose which can in turn make you crave sweet, high energy foods and mess with your energy levels.
Breath and productivity go hand in hand. Incorrect breathing not only reduces your productivity levels; it can also lead to an increase in your heart rate, the same way that Sleep Apnea quickens the pulse as the body struggles to take in oxygen. Yoga breathing techniques offer a practical solution. Yoga has become a common form of stress management and exercise for overworked executives, and you can practice yogic breathing exercises without going to a yoga class. My friend Richie, AKA The Breathe Guy, recommends the Sufi technique which is very helpful if you are feeling sleepy or groggy and need a quick boost of energy.
The Breathe Guy says: “Take four quick and powerful inhales through the nose, progressively filling up your lungs more and more, and then exhale out through pursed lips. So, it goes something like this “Sniff…Sniff…Sniff…Sniff…Poooooooooooh”. Repeat this pattern for 2 minutes and notice the difference in how you feel!”
Take a Cold Shower
Cold therapy has a tonne of physical and mental health benefits, one of them is a massive boost in endorphins which make you feel happy, energised and will improve the quality of your sleep. Many of the people in my community have replaced their morning coffee with a cold shower and are never looking back!
Immerse Yourself in Nature
For me, there is nothing more energising than getting out into the outdoors, breathing in fresh air and reconnecting with our natural environments. I think there are many physical and mental benefits of going for a walk in nature, but I also think it’s an effective way to boost your energy levels, naturally.
Get a Standing Desk
This might sound like the worst idea ever, but once you start standing more, you want to stand more. Equally, when you sit more, you want to sit more. I have been using a standing desk for around two years now and I have noticed a big difference in my energy levels and my motivation to move more. I am now far more likely to walk home rather than take the tube, where as if I spend a lot of time sitting, I seek out places to sit on the train and I feel far more lethargic. Get yourself a standing desk that can also work as a sitting desk and start gradually increasing the amount of time you spend standing every day.
Give your body the chance to do the job it is meant to do
Your body is an amazing machine if you let it do its job properly. If you constantly reach for caffeine, food or sugar every time you feel tired, eventually you become dependent on these stimulants to function. The mid-morning and mid-afternoon slumps have become the social norm, but I can assure you, we are not meant to feel like that on a daily basis. Incorporate the tips above gradually over time and you should start to notice a real difference. They are all methods that I have used over the years to optimise my energy levels and performance.