Conquering drowsiness before it overwhelms your mind can be quite a challenge without the help of caffeine, taurine and drugs. With the prevalence of energy drinks and coffee shops conveniently located all around us, finding an unnatural, unhealthy energy boost is easy. You’ll certainly be wide awake and wired, but your health will pay the price too.
So the question is: What are some healthy, natural ways to boost your energy and stay awake and alert when you must. Let’s take a look at 50 possibilities:
- Turn on all the lights. – Darkness promotes fatigue and laziness. Turn on every light in the room.
- Go outdoors. – Getting some fresh air outdoors is always a good way to rouse your senses.
- Pull down on your earlobes. – This may sound strange, but pulling down on your earlobes can help you stay awake and alert when you’re feeling drowsy.
- Rub the roof of your mouth with your tongue. – Rub your tongue against the top front area of your mouth cavity. It feels a little weird, but it does give you a quick nerve jolt that’s bound to make you a bit more alert.
- Call a close friend. – Sometimes a quick conversation with someone you care about is just what you need to boost your mood.
- Eat nutritious low carb snacks. – Low carb fruits such as raspberries, apples, oranges, and grapefruits are great energy boosters. Heaping scoops of spicy salsa on a few small crackers is another goodie. Stay away from meats, breads and dairy products.
- Listen to some fast beat music. – If it’s not too much of a distraction, listening to fast beat music can be a great way to keep your mind awake.
- Roll up and down on your toes. – This stimulates your circulatory system, which will deliver much-needed oxygen and fuel (glucose) throughout your body.
- Watch or read something that inspires you. – Sometimes all you need is a little pep talk. Watch a motivational video or read something that inspires you.
- Have a good laugh. – Watch a funny video clip or read your favorite comic strip. A good chuckle will stimulate your mind, giving you a renewed level on energy.
- Crank up the AC. – Warm, stuffy environments accelerate mental fatigue. If you need to stay awake and energized in a lecture hall or meeting room find an open seat under an AC vent.
- Apply pressure to the top of the back of your neck. – Use your fingertips to apply pressure and lightly massage the top part of the back of your neck for a few minutes.
- Tap the top of your head. – Lightly tap the top of your head with your fingertips. Do this continuously for a few minutes.
- Chew sugar-free peppermint gum. – It won’t rot your teeth and that minty taste will make you feel fresh. Strong peppermint flavors seem to work best for me.
- Take light exercise breaks every two hours. – Take a break and take a walk or do a couple jumping jacks to get your blood moving. Even the slightest bit of exercise can act as a healthy way to energize your mind and body.
- Write and plan. – The idea is to keep your mind busy. If you are attending a lecture or business meeting, write down everything that is said. If you are simply trying to stay awake or re-energize, create a detailed to-do list for the week or plan out your perfect weekend getaway.
- Get yourself some cold water. – Splash some on your face and the pulse area of your wrists. Also, drinking an ice-cold glass of water can help to wake you up and feel alive.
- Stay organized. – Avoid losing energy by keeping everything in its place.
- Take a few really deep, controlled breaths. – Deep breathing helps reduce stress, a source of fatigue, and increases the level of oxygen in the blood. Techniques can be as simple as inhaling for five seconds, holding your breath for four seconds and exhaling for four seconds. You can also try more elaborate techniques which require different positions
- Exercise regularly in the morning. – Ease into exercise, and then keep it up. You should aim to be active for at least 30 minutes each day. Those 30 minutes of exercise will make you feel energized for hours to come. I’ve found exercise most effective on my energy levels when I exercise in the morning. Exercise in the morning gets the endorphins flowing, which keeps you happy and productive most of the day.
- Eat at least three meals a day. – Give yourself lasting energy by eating on a regular schedule.
- Spend your energy wisely. – Recognized when your energetic moments are, and use this time productively. Often if you get the ball rolling, you won’t stop.
- Practice altruism. – By doing good work and good deeds for others you’ll help your energy with enhanced happiness, satisfaction and health.
- Avoid late night television or aimless web browsing. – Get a little more sleep instead. Nuff said.
- Stretch. – When you feel yourself getting fatigued, get up, reach towards the sky, bend down and touch your toes, twist your torso from side to side… stretch it out. Also, certain yoga exercises, including the warrior poses, have been known to reduce fatigue and increase energy levels.
- Take a 15 minute cat nap. – A short afternoon nap can be refreshing, and won’t interfere with regular sleep patterns if you do it early enough.
- Decrease sugar consumption. – Sugar will cause fluctuations in energy that can leave you feeling burnt out.
- Eat smaller meals more often. – By eating smaller, more frequent meals, you’ll avoid the groggy feeling that comes with digesting large meals.
- Eat whole grains and energy foods. – Whole grains have complex carbohydrates that take a while to break down, providing you with energy that lasts. Some of the best high energy foods include sunflower seeds, beans, fruit or fruit juices, eggs, yogurt, nuts and vegetables.
- Choose lean protein. – Foods with lean protein help you feel fuller for longer. They also prevent blood sugar spikes, giving you more steady energy. Lean protein foods include fish and other seafood, lean pork, or chicken breasts (white meat).
- Cut down on coffee and energy drinks. – Although coffee can give you a rush of energy, in the end it will cause fatigue. Coffee does not have to be eliminated, but you probably shouldn’t drink more than one cup a day.
- Consume the proper vitamins. – Make sure you get the proper amount of vitamins, especially vitamin C, vitamin D, selenium, riboflavin, niacin and the B-vitamins such as pantothenic acid, folic acid, thiamine and vitamin B12.
- Use aromatherapy and incense. – Aromatherapy uses essential oils from plants to stimulate the brain through the nerves in the nasal passages. Oils can be added to bathwater, massage oil, a steam bath or vaporizer for inhalation. Essential oils that can help you stay alert and reduce fatigue include bergamot, cinnamon, clove, cypress, eucalyptus, fir, ginger, lemon, lime, lemongrass, peppermint, pine, rosemary, basil and black pepper. Also try a citrus scent.
- Stay hydrated. – Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can reduce blood volume, which leads to feelings of fatigue. Drinking plenty of water will also increase your need to go to the restroom, a feeling that will also help you stay awake.
- Clear your stuffy nose. – If allergies have your sinuses blocked, you may be feeling more tired and cranky. Rinse your nasal passages with saline solution.
- Change your socks for refreshment. – It’s an odd trick, but it works. Bring a change of socks to work, and change your socks midway through the day. You’ll be amazed at how much fresher you’ll feel. This trick is especially handy on days with lots of walking.
- Wear brighter colors. – This trick is related to the mood you project to people, and the reciprocating mood they project towards you. If you wear dark, somber colors, you project a dark, somber attitude, and people will respond to you with a somber attitude. If you wear bright, happy colors, you’ll get that attitude projected towards you, which will boost your own mood and energy levels.
- Watch your attitude. – If you let the bad things that happen during your day get you down, you’re bound to start feeling worn out. Watch your attitude and make sure you’re not letting yourself be overly negative. A generally upbeat and optimistic outlook on life will keep your energy level up. Yes, the worst thing that can happen might actually happen, but giving it too much worry will only drain you. Look for the positive in every situation and you won’t be so tired.
- Examine your emotions. – Stress, depression and other negative emotions can take a heavy toll on your energy levels. Your exhaustion may have a lot to do with how you’re feeling mentally, so take the time to deal with your emotions or get help if you need it.
- Lose a little weight. – Carrying around extra weight takes a toll on your body and energy, so take off a few pounds gradually. The things you do to lose weight – exercise, drink water, avoid simple sugars – are actions that also have a positive effect on your energy level.
- Consider herbal supplements. – Many people swear by herbs that are purported to improve energy levels. If you’re looking for a natural way to stay awake, try supplements of ginseng, bee pollen, gutu kola, maitake and more.
- Find something to look forward to. – Having something to look forward to is a great motivator.
- Avoid energy vampires. – Energy vampires always have something to complain about, or a problem that needs to be fixed, and they’ll drain your energy by making you listen to them about their problems or by giving them attention.
- Have a discussion about or work on something that interests you. – Even if you can only do it for a few minutes here and there, get your mind firing on all cylinders by talking about or doing something you feel passionate about.
- Start work with a challenging task. – Get your brain in gear by giving it a challenging task first thing. You’ll be more alert and you’ll get the hard stuff out of the way so the rest of your day will be a breeze.
- Stop slouching. – Slumping down at your desk isn’t doing you any favors in the alertness category. Sitting up at your desk, in an ergonomically friendly way, can make you feel more alert and ready to work.
- Try something new. – Getting into a rut can make your day seem boring and tedious and drain your energy levels. Change things up, try new things and seek out new experiences to spice up your day a little and keep you alert and awake.
- Finish an incomplete task. – There’s nothing more draining than the lingering of an incomplete task. Get things done. Do you have a task that’s weighing heavily on your mind? Just do it, and get the monkey off your back.
- Dress up. – Feeling better about yourself has a magical way of giving you more energy. Put just a tad more effort into looking your best for work, and you’ll get compliments from coworkers that will make you feel better — and make you a perkier and more energetic.
- Get enough sleep at night. – This one should be obvious. The best way to feel energized is to be well rested. We need 7-8 hours of sleep to be fully rested. Consistently sleeping less than 6 hours a night builds up a sleep debt that is hard to recover from.
Check out these books for more natural energy boosters:
- 365 Energy Boosters
- The 150 Most Effective Ways to Boost Your Energy
- The Secrets High-Energy People Use to Beat Emotional Fatigue
Photo by: Rama V.
marc van der Linden says
Great tips for getting and keeping more energy, Marc!
The nice thing is you don’t have to do them all at the same time. If you focus for 3/4 a day for one month, you have them all.
What an energy boost that will be 🙂
Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for all your important and wonderful tips! You make my day time and again!
i needed this post, sometimes i feel down without knowing why. this post made lots of things clear
thank you Marc 🙂
Pulling down on your earlobes seems interesting. Never thought about that one before! I’m going to keep that one in mind. Shouldn’t pull on them too hard though, don’t want doggy ears!!
Also, make sure to chew gum that’s free of Aspartame. That sugar-free sweetener can be hard on your health as well. 🙂
Thanks — these some great tips to have! I’d also suggest to have your eyes checked and ensure you have the right lens prescription — the harder your eyes have to work when staring at a computer screen all day, the more tired you’ll be.
Lorinda @ Waisting Away says
Love the list and the variety of options. At least a few items are doable at any time, anywhere. Brilliant, as always.
I’m crashing as I’m typing this comment. Need a quick energy boost. Going to get ice cold water ASAP! Thanks for the timely advice.
Thanks a lot for the tips. For the last few months I’ve been feeling fatigued all the time. I will start using these ideas right away.
Oh and I am your fan. I read most of your blogs. 🙂
Saurabh Banerjee says
Amazing as always. Already tried a few of them and they work.
Can I have a list of fast beat music? I really need this 🙂
John Sherry says
Marc, I never ever considered so many various means to boost energy levels but I wonder if there are as many to prevent us wasting so much unneccessary personal energy in the first place.We need to respect it as much as replenish it.
Great tips! Needed the energy boost today. Thanks.
p.h.D Chemist says
…about this 19.
In yoga and for health I reccommend you to exhale 2x slower than inhaling, this is rule in yoga….and general health, of course if you can’t……then practice!
I like reading all of your articles… this one I found to be extremely helpful.
Thanks for the positive feedback and added insight, guys and gals. I know some of these tips sound a bit goofy, but I’ve tried all of them. They work. 😉
I hope you all have a great rest of the week.
David Hobson says
Gah! This is such a good article, but there’s so much more to each! It would be cool if you linked to some further description, explanations, etc for those that need more background logic to buy into it. Like #8!
Ex. Tongue on the roof of the mouth forces the Maciter (jaw muscle) to relax. It’s the strongest muscle in the body (in ratio to size), and it’s often the most tense when we get stressed. Relax!
Taking a deep breath, and mindfully choosing to relax can do the same for the rest of the body.
AC does the exact opposite. It makes you tense. This gives the feeling of energy, and keeps you pushing, but like sugars or caffeine it has consequences. Staying relaxed is important in the big picture both for energy, but mood, emotions, and mind.
Also a lot of them need to be understood to be applied effectively. Ex. Simple carbs give quick energy, but sooner fade or crash (ex. sugar). Meats & heavier foods make you tired in the short term due to the body working to digest it while it provides greater net energy.
Often times in Korea they don’t eat before a test as less energy is required for digestion and more circulation to the brain (effective when applied appropriately.)
Caffeine has it’s ups and downs. Literally.
Ok, I need to shut up now. I could write a post on every single one, why and how they work, when to and not to use them, and some alternatives. But this is your blog, not mine.
A great read overall… Cheers!
Alison Elliot says
Really good stuff here. Simple, to the point, convenient, non-time consuming tips that I will most like check out. I especially liked the ‘rub the roof of your mouth with your tongue’ idea for energy boosting, never heard of that one before!!
Fred Tracy says
I bet I looked hilarious while pulling on my earlobes, tapping on my head, rubbing the back of my neck!
Ironically, I was feeling pretty tired before reading this article. I think one of the best tips here is a short exercise breaks. Stop every once in a while and do some jumping jacks, or at least stretch and walk around.
You’ll feel great in no time.
Enriching Life says
Thank you for all the wonderful tips and inspiration! I’ve got more energy already! 🙂
Really cool list – great ideas!
Matthew C says
Tons of useful tips here! Would of never thought that something as simple as turning all the lights on would increase your energy. Makes sense cause of the brightness will wake you up. I’m going to have to bring a change of socks to work and try that out. Great article.
Mike Behnken, Personal Trainer says
Great list, getting up early rather than staying up late every night is a powerful way to boost energy levels. Perhaps my favorite is to cleanse the digestive system.
Absolutely wonderful piece. Love it. I’m so glad I found your site.
Never use “sugar free” foods, drinks, gums etc. It contains aspartame that kill your brain. Aspartame a very big poison for brain cells. Eat food with normal sugar or sugracane.
Getting up and walking around works for me. Sitting is supposed to be terrible for your health in addition to making people tired. Nice post. Thanks for the tips.