It's a tired story: More Americans than ever are overworked, overscheduled, and sleeping less than they should. YouGov reports that 40 percent of Americans wake up feeling tired three days a week, while 38 percent say they wake up still tired even more often. Sure, a full eight hours of sleep is an obvious way to bust fatigue, but getting the recommended amount of rest isn't always the solution or even possible. Nor is shelling out for over-the-counter or prescription sleep aids. If you're fighting fatigue, here are 19 quick, easy, and cheap ways to feel more refreshed and upbeat that don't involve hitting the snooze button.
19 natural ways to boost energy
19 natural ways to boost energy and fight fatigue
Take a walk.
When people think of exercise they often envision high-intensity, calorie-busting, sweat-pouring workouts. But to boost energy you don't need to go to that extreme. A brisk 10-minute walk will zap the flat feeling, especially if you aim for three 10-minute walks a day.
Ride a bike.
Like walking, riding a bike for a short 10 minutes can really get the heart pumping and energy levels up. Again, as little as three 10-minute sessions can do the trick. Biking (or walking) is also a great way to soak up some sunlight and increase the body's level of vitamin D, which can also boost energy levels.
Exercise at the right time of day.
While many people squeeze in a workout first thing in the morning, a better time to boost energy is in the early afternoon, when fatigue really sinks in. A lunchtime trip to the gym could be just the thing to get back on track.
Sit up straight or stand up.
Holding a hunched-over pose in front of the computer can cause blood vessels to close off and blood flow to slow. Stand up or even sit up straight to loosen the neck and shoulders, and bring circulation into those narrowed blood vessels.
Practice deep breathing.
Breathing patterns used in yoga relax the mind and boost energy. This one can be done seated at your desk: When fatigue strikes, sit up straight, close your eyes, and take a deep breath in. Place your hand on your belly and, as you exhale, push on your belly nine or 10 times to help release all the air from your chest. Repeat several times to get oxygen flowing.
Cut back on sugar and white flour.
Sugar and white flour are deceiving. When consumed, they give a quick energy burst, followed by a lower low. The spike and drop of blood sugar levels does nothing but zap more energy. Avoid snacks and meals loaded with these energy saboteurs.
Eat the right foods.
Instead of sugar and white flour, eat meals and snacks consisting of various plant-based antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, iron, vitamin D, magnesium, and zinc, which can do wonders to boost your energy levels and keep blood sugar spikes to a minimum.
It sounds silly, but instead of staring at a screen without blinking for hours on end, try blinking 10 to 20 times a minute while getting your screen time. It allows the brain to take mini breaks and stay engaged.
Drink plenty of water.
Dehydration is a huge culprit of fatigue. Even if you don't realize it, your flagging may be due to a lack of water. Aim to drink enough that your urine is pale yellow.
Eat breakfast daily.
Start the day off right with breakfast, and not just a small meal. Make sure it contains a complex carbohydrate, a protein, and a little healthy fat.
Have regular snacks.
Protein helps keep blood sugar level, so adding in a protein snack a few times a day is a good way to combat fatigue before it even starts.
Sip on green tea.
While coffee is the main go-to for many, green tea can have the same or even better benefits, especially when sipped in the afternoon. Epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, found in green tea is associated with weight loss, while the small amounts of caffeine in green tea provide an energy boost without interrupting sleep patterns at night.
Snack on fruit.
Pair that green tea with an apple to get lots of energy. Apples are a great source of plant-based antioxidants, vitamin C, complex carbohydrates, and fiber. All work together to keep blood sugar in check. Berries are a good choice too. They pack a big dose of anthocyanins, which naturally boost energy.
Monitor your blood pressure.
This is especially important for men. A University of Wisconsin study found that 60 percent of Americans 18 to 39 have high blood pressure and don't know how to control it. High blood pressure is a major source of fatigue, and a health condition that needs attention and treatment.
Get your sinuses in check.
Suffer from allergies? It could be stealing your energy. Sinus issues can contribute to a lower level of oxygen and less circulating through your body, plus greater effort with every breath. Try an over-the-counter sinus pill to combat sinus allergies and improve energy levels. Savings tip: Generic allergy pills are just as effective as brand name and a fraction of the cost.
Hang out with energetic people.
Have friends who are always full of energy and motivation? Hang out with them more often; their enthusiasm will rub off, improving your mood and energy levels.
Laughter is good for the soul -- and, as it turns out, the body, too. Laughing boosts your heart rate and blood pressure enough to add some energy when you're dragging.
Lose the extra pounds.
Being overweight by even 5 pounds takes a toll on your energy. The closer you are to your ideal weight, the more energy you'll have.
Tap your chest.
A practitioner of emotional freedom techniques, a form of acupressure therapy commonly known as tapping, tells Shape that the thymus can play a role in energy levels. This gland is located on the chest below the collarbone. Tapping this area for 20 seconds while taking some deep breaths stimulates T-cell production, relieves stress, and boosts energy.