6 Ways to Naturally Boost Energy

Sleep deprivation is common in our culture. We pack our schedules with too much to do, and when push comes to shove, a good night’s sleep gets thrown out the window in favor of finishing off that to-do list or getting caught up on our favorite TV shows. With so much going on, most of don’t pay adequate attention to exercise, proper nutrition or maintaining good mental and emotional health—all of which can leave us feeling lethargic and rundown. When our physical state of being lags behind our busy lives, we tend to reach for a cup of coffee or a can of soda. While caffeine does provide a temporary boost of energy, it’s not enough to sustain us for the day—and it doesn’t address the underlying problems behind our lack of energy.

If you’re feeling fatigued, put down that caffeine and try these six steps to boost your energy naturally.

1. Hit the Hay
Getting a full night’s sleep is the first key to feeling fully energized. Shorting yourself on sleep does more than make you feel tired the next day. Sleep deprivation impairs judgment, reaction time and mental functions. Sleep deprivation has also been tied to depression and weight gain. Although the “perfect” amount of sleep varies from person to person (for some it’s five hours, for others 10), most adults require between seven and eight hours. If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, your bedroom could be the culprit. Check these bedroom trouble spots to get a better night’s sleep.

2. Work Out
Exercise gets the blood flowing, which helps us to feel more awake. Studies have shown that exercising on a regular basis reduces general fatigue in nearly every group, from healthy adults to the chronically ill, and that exercise has a stronger effect on sleepiness than even the narcolepsy drug modafinil.

3. See the Light
Light plays a critical role in our feelings of sleepiness, wakefulness, mood and energy levels. Our bodies are regulated by a “master clock” known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), which controls our 24-hour circadian rhythm. When light hits our eyes, the SCN releases the hormone cortisol, suppresses the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, and triggers our bodies to shake off sleep. To help your body wake up naturally in the morning, take a 10- to 15-minute walk, or situate yourself someplace where you’ll be exposed to bright sunlight. (If you live in a particularly cloudy or rainy region, try a sunrise alarm clock or full-spectrum light boxes.) Learn more about how light and dark influence our health.

4. Eat Right
What we eat has a huge influence on how we feel. Complex carbohydrates, lean protein, healthy fats and nonstarchy vegetables provide fuel that our bodies will burn slowly throughout the day—preventing that post-lunch food “coma” or that or feeling of low energy that can happen mid-morning or -afternoon. Never skip meals, and avoid foods that contain simple carbohydrates or sugars, which provide a quick burst of energy followed by a crash.

5. Take Supplements
Our cells naturally produce coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) to help convert food into energy, but as we age, our bodies produce less of it. If you’re feeling fatigued, try taking a 100 milligram CoQ10 supplement two or three times daily. Keep in mind that it may take up to two months to take effect. B vitamins are also important for helping our bodies convert food into energy, but because they’re water-soluble, we flush them out of our systems on a regular basis. Try taking a 50 milligram B vitamin supplement twice daily.

Herbal supplements can also provide an extra burst of energy. For exhaustion, try 300 to 500 milligrams daily of the Ayurvedic herb ashwagandha, or 500 milligrams two or three times daily of astragalus. Licorice and ginseng can both stimulate and provide energy; try 100 milligrams daily of ginseng, or 1 to 2 grams three times daily of licorice root.

6. Stimulate with Scents

For a quick pick-me-up, turn to aromatherapy. Citrus scents can increase feelings of awakeness, and peppermint can stimulate the mind.

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Image: Photo By iceteastock/Courtesy Fotolia

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Elisa F.
Elisa F.1 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Amanda V.
Amanda V.3 years ago

thanks for the tips :}

Engele van Zyl
Engele van Zyl3 years ago

The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep. (Yip, that should boost your energy... )

Heidi Awes
Heidi Aubrey3 years ago

The licorice should be the Deglycyrrhizinated licorice(DGL licorice). Regular licorice raises blood pressure. Astragalus has the added benefit of preventing telomeres from shortening. Telomeres determine the life span of a cell. When the telomere gets to short,( they get shorter after each replication) after so many times, it sends a signal for the cell to die-apoptosis.

Sheri P.
Sheri P.3 years ago

thanks for the tips...

Jennifer Walsh
Jennifer Walsh3 years ago


Gord L.
Gordon Lindsay3 years ago

Ms. Melgren:

You write: ``If you’re feeling fatigued, try taking a 100 milligram CoQ10 supplement two or three times daily.` This, however, seems a little high to me. Is it possible your dosage recommendation applies to the older, less absorbable form of CoQ10, Ubiquinone? Nowadays, we have various suppliers of Ubiquinol, and even specially formulated Ubiquinol, much more of which goes into the bloodstream. I think for Ubiquinol CoQ10, your dosage recommendations may be far too high. Your article makes no mention of this but I think we need to be able to distinquish between the different forms of CoQ10.

Judy A.
Judy Apelis3 years ago

Good ideas.

No Emails H.
Beba h.3 years ago

Sleep helps make you look and feel younger than your years. I have fought to have enough sleep and have been persecuted by friends and work--the result being that I live modestly but look and feel 20 years younger than my age which is 60 years old. I dont colour my hair, still look sexy in a pair of jeans, am passionate about life and this planet and am thinking of going back into modelling. No one believes me when I tell them my age. I am also a vegetarian and try to live intelligently and do anti aging regiments with resveratrol,CoQ10,Melatonin, etc.

Andy Kadir-Buxton

Sleep experts say that most mental illness is due to lack of, and poor, sleep. To get the sleep you get at the coast when the wind blows in from the sea, just heat salt water in an oil burner in the bedroom overnight. This cures insomnia in just five nights, and takes away with it all symptoms of mental illness as well.