In the utopian world, adults should aim at getting between 7-8 hours of sleep every night to stay on top of the health game and be their productive best the next day.
With all due respect to those health experts, this is really something that should be filed away under a list of things that we know we’re supposed to do but find close to impossible.
Between work, household chores, kids, and social obligations, getting our healthy dose of sleep can often seem like a joke. But life goes on, and so does the exhaustion that comes along with it. So instead of feeling guilty about being unable to clock in 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep (again), use some of these tips to rev up your energy levels to help you do your best anyway.
1. Start With A Glass Of Water
Before you get into bed, make sure you keep a glass of water by your bedside. Reach out for it the first thing after you open your eyes in the morning (yes, even before caffeine). This will help prod those sleepy organs awake, get your metabolism going, and boost blood circulation to make you feel awake instantly.
Also, rehydrating yourself throughout the day is equally important. This will keep the oxygen flowing through your body and will maintain your energy levels while you go about your day.
2. Bring In Some Sunshine
Turns out, the popular adage “rise and shine” is not just a bunch of words strung together to sound whimsical. Letting your body bask in sunlight can actually help you feel more awake, even when you’ve had a rough night.
The brain has a nucleus called the circadian pacemaker that regulates our sleep-wake cycles. Sunlight or any form of bright light syncs the nucleus and sends your body the memo that it’s time to wake up and get down to business.1
Go ahead and pull aside the drapes and curtains. If you live in a place that faces weather that’s predominantly cloudy, consider investing in a light box – a useful device that transmits light that mimics sunlight.
3. Brew Yourself Some Tea
Tea lovers, rejoice!
A cup of your favorite tea in the morning can go a long way in maintaining your energy at its optimum best. This is no rocket science of course since tea contains caffeine, a compound that’s widely acknowledged for being a strong stimulant and reducing drowsiness.
But tea has another great benefit that goes beyond the caffeine, and this one is unique to the leaf. Theanine, an amino acid that is widely present in black and green tea is suggested to have anxiety-reducing and dopamine-modulating properties. Thus not only is it great for helping us keep our calm but also induces feelings of positivity.2
As if we needed another reason to bring out our favorite tea set!
Note: To not overdose on caffeinated beverages especially if you’re not a seasoned caffeine drinker. Too much caffeine could give you serious jitters and make you super anxious and that would never do!
4. Go For A Quick Jog
The very thought of exercising when our day already looks like a to-do list full of tasks is enough to make us feel tired before we even start. But exercising is a great way to boost blood circulation and that means feeding your organs more oxygen. This helps them function more efficiently, which directly translates to higher energy levels.
The good news is that you don’t have to go for long marathons or put yourself through a strenuous workout. Research actually advises against heavy exercising, especially when you’re feeling groggy or tired. This is because intense exercise can not only lower your immunity but can also put you and your body at a higher risk of accidents.3 Instead, get yourself to take a quick 15-minute jog around the park. Brisk walking will do just fine too!
5. Eat A Good Breakfast
The most important meal of the day gets its title for a very good reason. Not only does a healthy breakfast give your body the energy it needs to take on the day, it also helps you maintain your weight, boost your mood, and keeps chronic-degenerative diseases at bay.
Bear in mind, however, that eating breakfast does not mean promptly helping yourself to boxed cereals, glasses of processed fruit juices, and pancakes dripping with syrup. Foods high in unsaturated fat content require more energy to break down and will make you even more sluggish while simple carbs may give you a rush initially, but will eventually cause you to crash.
Make sure your breakfast provides you with a good balance of complex carbs, protein, and healthy fats. The better your nutrition on a so-very-blah day, the more energy you’ll be able to salvage.
Need some inspiration? Here are some delicious, healthy breakfast options you could try:
- Oats with blueberries
- Oats with chia seeds
- Wholegrain toast and omelets
- Wholegrain toast with nut butter
- Greek yogurt with whole fruits
- Fruit smoothies
- Fruit salads with nuts and pumpkin or flax seeds
6. Take A Cold Shower
Warm environments induce sleepiness. And while it may not seem like the best thing in the world, a cold shower can definitely be a stimulant strong enough to jolt you out of your lethargic state.4
Interestingly, it has also been proven that cold showers can positively boost the mood and trigger creative thinking. 5
Hence, not skipping shower time can do you plenty of good. Start with lukewarm water to open up the pores of your skin and work your way slowly towards water that’s on the colder side.
|↑1||Czeisler, Charles A., and J. M. Waterhouse. “The effect of light on the human circadian pacemaker.” Circadian clocks and their adjustment 183 (1995): 254-290.|
|↑2||Lardner, Anne L. “Neurobiological effects of the green tea constituent theanine and its potential role in the treatment of psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders.” Nutritional neuroscience 17, no. 4 (2014): 145-155.|
|↑3||Bøyum, A., Pal Wiik, E. Gustavsson, O. P. Veiby, J. Reseland, A‐H. HAUGEN, and P. K. Opstad. “The effect of strenuous exercise, calorie deficiency and sleep deprivation on white blood cells, plasma immunoglobulins and cytokines.” Scandinavian journal of immunology 43, no. 2 (1996): 228-235.|
|↑4||Shevchuk, Nikolai A. “Possible use of repeated cold stress for reducing fatigue in chronic fatigue syndrome: a hypothesis.” Behavioral and Brain Functions 3, no. 1 (2007): 55.|
|↑5||Shevchuk, Nikolai A. “Adapted cold shower as a potential treatment for depression.” Medical hypotheses 70, no. 5 (2008): 995-1001.|