It happens daily. 2 o'clock hits and you're ready for bed all over again. The typical reaction may be to reach for another Red Bull or to head to the community coffee pot.
What you may not realize is that the added caffeine could result in headaches, shakiness, dehydration, or even becoming dependent on that extra cup of joe to get through your day.
Put that coffee pot down and try one of these caffeine-free alternatives to give your body a healthy boost.
#1 - Set Yourself Up For Sleep
This one is #1 for a reason. Sleep is an important aspect of not just your recovery from workouts but also giving your body and brain a chance to recuperate from the day. Having a sleep schedule can ensure that your body is primed for sleep and can get to sleep easier. This doesn't necessarily mean you need an elongated nightly routine to get to bed at the same time (though there's nothing wrong with having one), but having a set time you're going to get ready for bed and lay down for sleep is helpful. You're body's internal clock (aka circadian rhythm) will start picking up on this routine and allow for an easier time falling asleep and staying asleep.
There's actually a field of study around a topic known as chrononutrition, that dives into how our circadian rhythm can affect our overall health, hormone production, immunity, and energy. Sleep plays a bigger role than you think, so make sure to make bedtime and wake-up time a priority.
Check out this episode of GymTalk about Recovery & Sleep and learn more about why it's so important.
#2 - Get Moving
This doesn't mean hitting the toughest workout of the week, but simply moving your body a little! There are studies on how high-intensity exercise can produce more energy on a cellular level, so this isn't just a theory anymore that movement can give you an extra boost in the day.
As we said before, you don't need to have a huge workout to get that spike. A quick walk around the office, some push-ups at your desk, or a simple stretch session can help give you the extra kick you need to push through the rest of your day.
#3 - Crank Up The Tunes
Find the music that makes you move, that gets your feet tapping, and subsequently gets the energy levels up! This study in the Journal of Music Therapy shows that having music that makes you sing or rhythmically tap to the beat helped "increase energy arousal significantly and decrease tiredness arousal significantly."
Find the high-tempo tunes to get the best boost. Try some of these tunes or open up your playlist to get the muscles moving:
"Livin' On The Edge" by Aerosmith
"I'm Still Standing" by Elton John
"All My Life" by the Foo Fighters
"Remember the Name" by Fort Minor
#4 - Stay Hydrated
Fatigue is a simple and easily recognizable sign of dehydration, so DRINK UP! Make sure you're drinking the recommended amount of water for your body (and add a little more if you're working out).
It's typically recommended to drink around 90oz. of water for women and 121oz for men (with an additional 8-16oz on days of exercise). Not sure if you're drinking enough? Put rubber bands on your favorite water bottle and move them to the lid for each bottle you drink! This will help you keep count during the day.
#5 - Take Small Breaks
Taking a small break during the workday can pay long-term dividends for your workload and productivity. You don't need to take elongated breaks, but having a break of some kind can drastically improve your productivity throughout the day. This study from the University of Illinois suggests taking a break once an hour and states that "brief mental breaks will actually help stay focused during a long task."
#6 - Get Outside
This one is a combination of boosters. Natural light, movement, and Vitamin D (from the sun) all help give you an extra kick. On your lunch or your next break, take a walk around the building, down the block, or through the park. You'll not only feel a boost of energy, but you'll get a boosted mood too.
You don't need that extra cup of coffee or to visit the vending machine for another energy drink. Set yourself up for a healthy lifestyle by substituting it with one of the above alternatives. Small changes can make a major difference in your long-term health and happiness.