Whether it’s the emotional exhaustion from everything going on in the world, effort at having to entertain kids who would usually be at school, or having your sleep routine thrown off by a change in schedule, it seems virtually everyone is wondering how to feel less tired these days.
A girl can only drink so many cups of coffee a day (though quickly reaching a new record!), so I asked a dietitian, doctor, and trainer for how to boost energy levels naturally, like what to drink instead of coffee, lifestyle tweaks, and more. I was all ears for all the tips—and they did not disappoint.
How to feel less tired, according to a dietitian
1. Eat more fruits and vegetables
When it comes to eating for energy, for most people, protein-rich foods is what first comes to mind for many people. And while important, Jaclyn London, RD, the head of nutrition and wellness at WW, says eating fruits and vegetables helps, too. “These are foods high in water-volume. An extra hit of hydration can help maintain energy and focus,” she says. To make sure you’re getting enough, aim to make 50 percent of each meal veggie-based.
2. drink more water
On a similar note, London also says hydrating is key for energy levels. “While fruits and veggies can count toward your hydration goals, water makes up about 60 percent of the human body, so proper hydration is key to making sure that our body’s cells are functioning properly and to help us stay alert, focused, and feeling energized,” she says. And yes, even if you’re just sitting around at home not doing much, it’s still important to stay hydrated.
3. stick to your regular eating schedule
Even if your routine is thrown off right now, London says eating at the same times that you normally do helps keep energy levels balanced. “Sticking with a schedule helps you stay mindful of your body’s own hunger cues, so you’ll be less inclined to immediately opt in on a second serving and take a beat to notice if there’s something else you need instead,” she says. Intuitive eating definitely comes into play here, so listen to your body for intel on what it needs to feel its best.
What to eat to boost energy levels:
How to feel less tired, according to a doctor
1. sip on green tea
Harry Oken, MD, an internal medicine doctor and professor of medicine at the University of Maryland, emphasizes the importance of hydration. In addition to plain H20, he also likes sipping ginkgo biloba or green tea, both of which provide a natural energy boost without the crash of coffee. Both types of teas are linked to boosting cognitive function, making them especially great work from home drinks.
Here’s how the benefits of green tea compare to the benefits of matcha:
2. take a 15 minute walk outside
Dr. Oken says often his patients are feeling sluggish on a regular basis because they aren’t getting enough vitamin D. “At least 2,000 units of vitamin D-3 a day is crucial to our immune system,” he says. “Going for a 15 to 20 minute walk in the sunshine causes a D-3 boost but also helps release nitric oxide, essential our health.”
How to feel less tired, according to a trainer
1. stick to a schedule
As a personal trainer and fitness instructor, Melissa Yan regularly wakes up at 4:30 a.m. to start teaching, and often she’s not done until late in the evenings. One of her tips for keeping her energy up: sticking to a schedule. “Every night at 10 p.m., I force myself to drop what I am doing, take 30 minutes to wind down, and get into bed,” she says. “Sticking to a schedule will help your body prepare for rest, and do it more effectively.” When you give yourself a curfew, it makes resisting that next Netflix episode that much easier.
2. work movement into your day
It’s easier to feel tired if you’re sitting for prolonged periods of time, which is why Yan says to try to incorporate mini movement breaks throughout the day. “Even if I sit down for a few hours to do administrative stuff, I make sure to get up every half hour or so,” she says. These small breaks don’t have to be time-consuming. Yan says walking across the room to get a glass of water, spending a couple minutes doing some quick stretches, or walking up a flight of stairs all count. “Just something to remind your body that we are still awake and working,” she says.
Getting consistent, good sleep is also important for maintaining good energy, but it’s easier said than done. Here’s how a sleep doctor winds down at night. And here’s what to do when you seriously can’t fall asleep.