50 Caffeine-Free Ways to Increase Your Energy

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March 14th, 2010

As a nursing student you’ve probably wished more than once that you had more energy to get all the things you need to get done in a day accomplished. For many, the solution to staying alert and awake is a serving (or two, or three) of coffee. While coffee may work in the short term, you can also become addicted to the stimulating effects of caffeine, leaving you feeling even worse when you don’t drink it. Instead, learn how to boost your energy without the coffee crutch by following these helpful tips.

Sleep

Sleep is one of the biggest factors in determining your energy levels, so check out these tips for making sure you get the most out of your slumber.

  1. Don’t skimp on sleep. It might seem obvious, but one way to increase your energy is simply by hitting the hay a little earlier. Getting more sleep allows your body to not only rest but to restore itself so you’ll not only be more energetic but healthier to boot.
  2. Keep it dark. Getting some good window shades, turning digital clocks away from you and even using a sleep mask can help you ensure that you’re keeping your sleep cycles on track and getting the restful deep sleep you need.
  3. Have a ritual. One way to help your body know when it’s time to go to sleep and when it’s time to wake up in the morning is by setting a ritual and sticking to it. It might not be easy at first, but once your body catches on it will be a cinch.
  4. Take a nap. Naps often get a bad rap but if you only take a quick twenty minute nap you could wake up feeling refreshed and energetic. Remember, you don’t want to nap for too long or you’ll feel drowsy and wont’ be able to go to bed at night.
  5. Don’t drink. Alcohol might make you sleepy but it will actually lower the quality of sleep you get at night. Limit your nights out to weekends when you have more time to make up for poor sleep.
  6. Wake up gently. Jarring yourself out of sleep with your alarm clock can often result in drowsiness as you’ve pulled yourself out of deep sleep. Instead, look for ways to help yourself wake up more naturally so you’ll get a head start on feeling energetic.
  7. Sleep with the sun. Our bodies are designed to go to bed when it’s dark and wake up when it’s light so you’ll be doing yourself a big favor if you try to work with this when it comes to your sleep schedule.
  8. Keep it cool. A cool, quiet bedroom is the ideal place to get rest. A room that’s too warm will often keep you awake, tossing and turning.
  9. Reduce stress. Stress can make it impossible to fall asleep as your mind races with a million pressing thoughts. If you can’t reduce your stress, find ways to overcome it like soothing noises, a bedtime ritual or meditation techniques.
  10. Invest in quality. You spend a pretty significant portion of your life in bed, so make sure your bed is worth spending time in. Invest in some nice sheets and pillows and if you’ve got the budget for it, a great mattress as well.

Food

  1. Eat more alkaline-forming foods. Foods like leafy greens, almonds, celery and cantaloupe are more alkaline as they are digested. Some people believe that foods like these can help keep our bodies in harmony. Regardless of what you believe, they’re healthy, and healthy foods will give you a boost.
  2. Kick the sugar habit. Sugar may taste good but resist the call of that morning doughnut. Sugar can create artificial highs and when your blood sugar plummets as it inevitably will, you’ll feel drained and tired.
  3. Consume more protein. If your diet is heavy on the carbs, consider eating more protein as a way to perk yourself up and get your body feeling good.
  4. Drink water. One of the most common reasons for having a low energy level is not getting enough water. Make sure you’re drinking the suggested amount and staying hydrated and alert.
  5. Take a vitamin. If you’re feeling run down you might just not be getting the right vitamins and minerals you need. While it’s best to get these from the food you eat, you can supplement your diet with vitamins to ensure you’re getting the recommended levels.
  6. Go for healthy fats. All the low or no fat products on the market have many people thinking that fats are bad. Yet fats found in foods like fish can be great for you can can give your brain the boost it needs to keep you on top of things.
  7. Eat smaller, more frequent meals. Rather than eating a few big meals, eating smaller meals throughout the day can help keep your blood sugar stable and improve your digestion, two things that can give you a boost throughout the day.
  8. Have breakfast. Even a simple piece of toast and and orange can give you a burst of energy that can get your day started off right.
  9. Get your iron. Anemia can be a real drain on your body, so ensure that you’re getting all the iron you need by eating iron-rich foods or taking a healthy supplement.
  10. Focus on whole grains and fiber. These kinds of foods take longer to digest, providing you with a more sustained source of energy throughout the day.

Body

  1. Practice diaphragmatic breathing. What the heck is that, you ask? Basically it’s just a fancy way of saying take deep, belly breaths so your lungs are completely filled with oxygen. Sounds simple but it can invigorate you and help you to relax.
  2. Take a break. Though it might sound counterproductive, taking a break can actually help increase your productivity and energy. Spend some time reading a book, watching TV, or just plain relaxing and you’ll feel better and refreshed afterwards.
  3. Go for a walk. A brisk walk around the block, to the library or pretty much anywhere can turn you from sleepy into alert. The walk gets your blood pumping and energizes your brain for whatever is coming in the day ahead.
  4. Do some yoga. Yoga is a great way to stretch out the body and help improve circulation, both of which can make you feel more awake and alert. Better yet, you can do it almost anywhere and even ten minutes or so is enough to see a result.
  5. Work out. While you might not feel like working out when you feel tired, getting to the gym, running or riding your bike can do wonders for your energy. Do a little cardio in the morning to get your body feeling good, your blood flowing and oxygenated.

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