Health & Wellness Articles

8 Healthy Energy Boosters

Feel Alert and Energized without Pills or Energy Drinks

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Try an Inversion
Does a boost of extra blood flow to the brain perk you up when you're tired? It's difficult to find any hard evidence that yoga inversions (poses in which the heart is above the head) are beneficial to fatigue or focus, but anecdotal evidence from those well-versed in inversions say that they can be physically and mentally invigorating because gravity provides the brain with more oxygenated blood, thus improving mental function and concentration. Yoga in general does stimulate the brain. One study showed that a 20-minute hatha yoga session improved speed and accuracy on tests; it appeared that participants were able to better focus after practicing yoga. So if you're not up for some of the advanced inversions (they're not safe for everyone), try a few standard yoga poses like downward dog or a few sun salutations to perk you right up.

Take a Cat Nap
Sometimes the only way to truly fight fatigue is to actually sleep. To avoid waking up groggy, set your alarm for 30 minutes or less. And you'll want to avoid napping past 3 p.m. so as not to disturb your night of sleep. (Some say 2:16 p.m. is the ideal time of day to nap.) A quick power nap can give you a burst of alertness that you need to get through the rest of your day.

Caffeine
Caffeine in the form of coffee or tea is a tried-and-true energy booster. It's OK and even beneficial for healthy adults when used in moderation. But if you find yourself hitting the coffee pot for a pick-me-up every day or needing more and more coffee over time than you once used to use, you could be perpetuating the cycle of exhaustion by over-caffeinating and preventing yourself from falling asleep easily at night. For most healthy adults, two to four cups of coffee a day aren't harmful. You can also enjoy caffeine in the form of a couple squares of dark chocolate or some green tea for additional antioxidants.

Take a "Caffeine Nap"
Never heard of a caffeine nap? You down a cup of coffee right before you take a 15-minute nap. The 15 minutes is long enough for the caffeine to take effect, and your nap is short enough that you don't wake up groggy. Click here for a complete how-to!
 
No matter how you get your energy lift, be sure to avoid energy drinks and questionable supplements as too much caffeine may increase blood pressure and disturb heart rhythm, whereas supplements can have unintended effects and interactions with other medications or health issues. Just know that a good snooze is always the best solution, but when you can't get the sleep you need, these safe and healthy energy boosters can help get you through your day.
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About The Author

Erin Whitehead Erin Whitehead
is a health and fitness enthusiast who co-founded the popular website FitBottomedGirls.com and co-wrote The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet book (available May 2014). Now busier than ever with two kids, she writes about healthy pregnancy and parenting at FitBottomedMamas.com.

Member Comments

  • I found out the act of making coffee is what wakes me up. Just moving around a little does a good job. - 10/21/2014 12:13:44 PM
  • Much better than caffeine, have an apple. Longer lasting energy without the crash. - 10/20/2014 7:24:35 AM
  • I figured out the "caffeine nap" thing in the '80's when I was working full time and going to school at night. The only way I could stay awake in class was to drink a cup of coffee right before I took a short nap immediately after work--then I dashed off to class. Fortunately, I had time to go home before class. Many times that is not possible for people. - 1/29/2014 8:46:23 AM

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