Exhausted? 10 Natural Ways to Boost Energy Levels – Dr. Axe
If you find yourself feeling sluggish mid-afternoon, fighting to stay alert throughout the day, struggling with adrenal fatigue, or feeling just plain exhausted, then it’s time for a change! Luckily, there are easy, affordable ways to banish tiredness and get a spring in your step once again — naturally.
Skip the extra cups of coffee or certain dangerous “energy” drinks and try these 10 easy and inexpensive methods for how to get energy naturally instead.
Exhausted? 10 Ways to Boost Your Energy Levels
1. Vegetable Juice
Drinking fresh vegetable juice is a shock to your body — in a good way! Losing the vegetable fiber during juicing makes them easier for your body to absorb and digest. (1) And because less work is required for your body to reap the nutritional benefits, you’ll notice an increase in energy levels. Additionally, drinking your veggies helps provide important vitamins and minerals while also supplying energy to your cells.
If you feel an illness coming on, vegetable juice is also a good way to stop it in its tracks and keep energy up before it dips. Skip store-bought juices, which are often loaded with sugar, preservatives and other unpronounceable ingredients — they’ll leave you feeling worse and even more exhausted!
Make your own instead, or if you need ideas, try some of my favorite vegetable juice recipes.
2. Improve Sleep Quality
Can’t sleep? Spending your nights tossing and turning can definitely make you feel exhausted the next day. While you sleep, your body is restoring and repairing the day’s damage. (2) Squeezing in more sleep is one of the easiest methods for how to get energy in the morning.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, try my list of natural sleep aids. Plus, here are some of my favorite tips:
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same times each day, including weekends. This will help regulate your internal body clock.
- Eliminate caffeine after 3 p.m. because the effects can last up to 12 hours.
- Write out what’s stressing you out or keeping you up at night before heading to bed.
3. Adaptogenic Herbs
When you’re feeling exhausted, fatigued or stressed, adaptogenic herbs can help. These healing plants balance and restore the body’s natural ability to handle stress by regulating the adrenal system, which is responsible for controlling the way hormones respond to stress. Adaptogens don’t target a specific body part; instead, they help your entire body gently cope with stress, anxiety and, of course, fatigue. (3)
Some of the best adaptogen herbs that have been shown to boost energy and combat low energy in females and males alike include: ashwagandha, rhodiola, holy basil and ginseng. (4, 5, 6, 7)
Incorporating adaptogenic herbs into your daily routine could help you feel calmer, less exhausted and more focused.
4. Reduce Carb Consumption
While they do provide your body with energy, foods heavy in carbohydrates can leave you feeling sluggish. The main culprit? Simple carbs, like those found in sugary drinks, cookies and processed foods (think white bread and pasta), which burn through your body quickly. Though they provide a fast boost of energy, it’s quickly followed by a crash as your blood sugar spikes and then drops. (8)
The solution for how to boost energy when tired and keep blood sugar levels steady? Stick to whole-grain, low-glycemic carbohydrates that take the body longer to digest and avoid the crash and burn effect. Nuts, legumes, sweet potatoes, oats and brown rice are all low-glycemic carbohydrates that will provide the body with a steady stream of energy.
5. Eat Chia Seeds
If your only experience with chia seeds is the Chia Pet, prepare to be pleasantly surprised. These magic little natural energy foods will boost energy levels and provide your body with a lot of nutritional bang for the buck.
The ancient Mayans and Aztecs ingested chia seeds to keep up energy and alertness among warriors during war. (9) For us mere mortals, the essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6) found in chia seeds have been shown to enhance sleep quality, boost brain power and combat inflammation, which keeps your body feeling fresh. (10, 11, 12)
Coupled with high levels of protein and fiber, which keep blood sugar stable (no afternoon sugar crashes!), it’s no wonder chia seeds are being heralded as a superfood and natural energy boost supplement.
6. Stay Hydrated with Water and Electrolytes
Did you know that one of the first signs of dehydration is feeling tired or exhausted? That’s right — not drinking enough water could be the reason your energy levels are lacking and you feel exhausted. (13) Because our bodies are made up of mostly water, even small dips in hydration are enough to affect your metabolism.
Stay hydrated by making sure you’re drinking enough water and other fluids throughout the day. The National Academy of Medicine suggests about 9 cups of fluids a day for women and 13 cups for men. (14)
However, a more accurate amount is found like this: take your body weight and divide it in half, then drink that many ounces per day (plus more if you work out, are really active, are pregnant, nursing, or are fighting an illness or disease).
If that sounds like a lot, remember that many foods, like fruits and vegetables, contain water as well, so you can also boost your hydration level by upping your intake.
If you have an intense workout, you might want to supplement water with a drink that helps replace the electrolytes your body is sweating out. Forget sports drinks loaded with high fructose corn syrup and additives and opt for coconut water or water naturally flavored with lemon and honey instead. Plus, I’ve compiled 20 healthy drinks that you can incorporate into your life easily!
7. B Vitamins
Also known as the “energy vitamin,” B12 is the most complex of all vitamins and is one of the best vitamins to boost energy. It supports energy production and keeps blood cells happy and healthy. (15) In fact, if you’re vitamin B12 deficient, one of the first signs can be lower energy levels. (16)
Because it’s a water-soluble vitamin, your body cannot store extra amounts of B12 and relies on getting the vitamin from the foods you eat or supplements. Try one of these top 10 vitamin B12 foods to restore your B12 levels when they’re depleted.
8. Herbal Teas
Coffee isn’t the only option when you need a pick-me-up. Sipping on an herbal tea can provide an all-natural temporary boost in energy levels without the risk of scary stimulants or processed ingredients.
Two wonderful options are green tea and rooibos tea. Green tea has many benefits for your body, such as anti-aging and free radical-fighting properties. It is loaded with catechin, an antioxidant that helps fight damage in the body’s cells. (17) If you’re looking for a wonderful green tea, I love matcha.
Rooibos tea is another type of tea that helps fight fatigue. Made from South Africa’s red bush plant, this refreshing red tea is packed with antioxidants including aspalathin, an antioxidant that has been shown to fight inflammation and ward off oxidative stress in animal models. (18)
9. Peppermint Essential Oil
If you need an easy way to stimulate your mind and increase focus, peppermint oil might be what you’re looking for. Commonly used in aromatherapy, animal studies have found that this refreshing essential oil may have a stimulating effect on the brain and is even powerful enough to treat tension headaches. (19, 20)
Try dabbing a few drops on your wrists when you find your energy lagging; add some to your shower to get an early morning energy boost; or add several drops to a steam diffuser to breathe in the benefits throughout the day.
10. Daily Exercise
Does a tough workout wipe you out? Take solace in the fact that incorporating regular exercise into your routine will actually boost energy levels and is one of the best methods for how to increase energy and motivation while also enhancing overall health. Torching calories and engaging in physical activity sends oxygen and nutrients to your body’s cells, helping your heart and lungs work more efficiently and boosting energy levels. (21, 22)
And remember, you don’t need to run a marathon to get the exercise benefits — moderate levels of your favorite fitness activity will reap plenty of energy benefits, too.
If you’re still struggling with low energy levels even after trying some of these natural remedies, keep in mind that there may be other factors at play. Some of the most common causes of decreased energy include the use of certain medications, thyroid issues, depression and anemia. Chronic fatigue may also be a symptom of more serious conditions as well, such as cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes or kidney problems.
If you experience any adverse symptoms in addition to decreased energy levels, be sure to consult with your doctor to address your concerns and ensure that it isn’t a sign of a more serious underlying issue.
- If you find yourself constantly dealing with fatigue and low energy levels, there are plenty of natural remedies that can help boost energy levels.
- Switching up your diet, including more physical activity in your routine, improving your sleep quality and using peppermint oil are all easy ways to get a quick burst of energy.
- Keep in mind that low energy may also be a symptom of other conditions, including thyroid problems, depression or anemia. Consult with your doctor to address possible concerns if fatigue persists to determine the best method of treatment.