Natural Energy Boosters

Give yourself a pick-me-up with smart habits and natural energy boosters.


| January/February 2012



Young Woman With Headset

Skip the caffeine and perk up with smarter habits and natural energy boosters.

Photo By Oliver Rossi/Veer

With long nights and chilly temperatures, it’s easy to feel rundown in the winter. Rather than heeding our natural instinct to slow down, we often spend too much time working and running errands, and don’t pay attention to our physical, mental and emotional needs. Many of us feel tired day-to-day, and when we do, we reach for coffee or soda. While caffeine does provide a temporary boost, it doesn’t address the underlying problems—lack of sleep, adequate exercise and proper nutrition—and can leave us more tired than before. Plus, there’s a chance that too much may elevate blood pressure, induce headaches or encourage jittery withdrawals.

Fight fatigue by restoring your energy supply with one of these natural energy boosters. From herbs and supplements to aromatherapy, these natural solutions can energize your mind and body, leaving you rejuvenated and alert to meet the day.

Energy-Boosting Recipes

Energy Elixir
Energizing Sea Salt Skin Polish
Invigorating Foot Rub
Stimulating Scalp Toner
Uplifting Citrus Massage Oil
Energizing Tub Tea 

Get Enough Sleep

First, make sure you are getting adequate sleep. Most adults require seven to eight hours a night, although some may need as few as five and others as many as 10. Humans don’t adapt to getting less sleep than we need, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Although we may get used to sleep deprivation, it still impairs our judgment, reaction time and other mental functions. “Experts say that if you feel drowsy during the day, even during boring activities, you haven’t had enough sleep. If you routinely fall asleep within five minutes of lying down, you probably have severe sleep deprivation,” the NIH reports. Studies show adequate sleep is “tied to better metabolic control, memory, learning and emotional functioning,” according to Psychology Today. New studies also suggest ties between sleep and creativity, and between sleep deprivation and obesity and depression. To get the sleep you need, turn down lights and avoid television and computer screens in the evening. Many people find a nightly routine helps them settle soundly into sleep. And take naps—in several studies, napping has been shown to improve memory, learning ability and motor skills.

Natural Light and Exercise

Long before alarm clocks, the morning sun was our ancestors’ cue to wake up: Light triggers the release of stimulating chemicals in our brains. Get a morning dose of sun with a brisk walk. If you work indoors, make an effort to go outside for at least one (ideally two or three) 10- to 15-minute walk during the workday. For many of us, the short winter days leave few daylight hours before and after work, so it’s especially important to get outside during the workday at this time of year.

Exercise is one of the best natural energy boosters. Movement stimulates blood flow, which helps us feel awake. Along with increasing our levels of feel-good brain chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin, studies show that exercise reduces general fatigue in nearly every group, from healthy adults to those with chronic diseases. In fact, in a review of more than 6,000 individuals in 70 randomized studies, researchers at the University of Georgia Exercise Psychology Laboratory found that exercise had a stronger effect on drowsiness than the narcolepsy drug modafinil. And don’t hesitate to explain to your boss why you need a long walk or a trip to the gym at noon: Researchers at Leeds Metropolitan University found that exercising around lunchtime leads to a more productive workday.

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