Dragging by mid-morning? Feeling tired all day can sometimes feel like a way of life, to the point where you ignore the weariness as much as possible and just Keep. On. Pushing.
But constant exhaustion is your body’s way of sending you an important message: Either you A) aren’t getting enough quality sleep or B) need to make a lifestyle change to better support your health and ramp up your energy levels. Or hey, maybe both!
Fortunately, there’s no shortage of ways to make it happen. Here are 17 science-backed strategies to kick all-day fatigue to the curb — and get your energy back ASAP.
It sounds obvious, but more than 1 in 3 U.S. adults aren’t logging the recommended 7 to 9 hours of shut-eye per night.
If you’re one of them, start by getting more sleep. You might find that an extra hour or 2 of snoozing is the only thing you actually need to ramp up your daytime energy levels.
When you consider your brain’s a whopping 73 percent H2O, it’s no wonder that being dehydrated can zap your energy. The good news? If you tend to fall short on your water intake, just drinking more can be enough to get you revved.
Exercise releases energizing hormones like epinephrine and norepinephrine, giving you a post workout boost. Just as important? Daily activity is key for helping you snooze more soundly, upping the odds that you wake up refreshed in the morning.
Alcohol signals your body to produce the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, lulling you into a low-energy state at any time of day. And drinking at night can have an especially big impact on daytime tiredness the next day.
While alcohol can help you fall asleep faster, it makes your sleep restless and disruptive, leaving you groggy the next morning.
For energy that lasts, say yes to complex carbs like whole grains, beans, and sweet potatoes paired with a source of protein and healthy fat.
Foods high in refined carbs — white bread, white pasta, white rice, or sugary snacks — cause your blood sugar to spike and quickly crash, which is a recipe for sluggishness.
A cuppa joe or two in the morning can deliver a much needed jolt. But caffeine takes hours to clear out of your system, people.
So if you’re sipping it in the afternoon or early evening for a boost, there’s a good chance it’ll end up messing with your sleep, leaving you less alert the next day.
Ever scarfed down a huge, heavy meal — then felt the immediate urge to take a nap? (We’re looking at you, brunch.) Yup, us too.
Big meals divert more energy to your digestive system, which can temporarily leave your brain short on the fuel it needs to fire on all cylinders. But having smaller meals or snacks spaced out throughout the day ups the odds that your noggin has a steady supply of nutrients.
Truth is, unchecked tension and anxiety can eat away at your energy levels and leave you feeling physically exhausted.
Finding ways to keep your stress in check — from yoga, to meditation, to journaling, to even just carving out time for a bath before bed — won’t just make you happier, it’ll put some literal pep in your step.
Forget the idea that naps are lazy. They’re actually proven productivity boosters. And they don’t need to take a ton of time: Just 20 minutes is all you need to power you through the rest of the day.
Waking up feeling wonky even though you went to bed at a decent hour? Make sure your room is cool enough, dark enough, and quiet enough so your sleep isn’t getting interrupted.
A temperature between 60 to 67°F (15 to 19°C) is optimal for sleep, while blackout shades and a white noise machine or earplugs can work wonders at blocking out any potential disruptions.
Spending time on your phone or tablet right before bed is another sleep stealer that might be making you tired in the morning. That’s because electronic devices emit blue light, a stimulating type of light that can make it harder to fall asleep.
If possible, steer clear of screens for at least an hour before bedtime.
Like, 10-minutes quick. Strolling for that long gives the energy equivalent of taking a 50 milligram tablet of caffeine, one study found — though the study was on stair climbing, so if you’re not in a hilly area, perhaps add a few extra minutes onto your walk.
Next time you’re lagging, lace up your sneaks.
Scents like lemon, rosemary, and peppermint all have a stimulating effect, making them go-to aromas for helping you feel more alert and focused. Keep a bottle of essential oil in your bag and reach for it whenever you need a quick pick-me-up.
Next time you’re feeling like a zombie, head to the nearest park or trail. Spending just 20 minutes in nature has been shown to boost feelings of vitality and give people the sense of feeling more, well, alive, research shows.
You already know the whole spiel about smoking being terrible for your health. But did you know that lighting up can actually cause insomnia? ICYMI, nicotine is a powerful stimulant that can make it pretty hard to fall asleep — causing you to toss and turn and feel exhausted the next day.
Cranking up song you love is a no-fail way to get revved up. But don’t just listen. You’ll reap even more energizing benefits if you sing along or tap to the beat, one study found.
Staring at a computer, phone, or tablet for too long is a great way to strain your eyes, and can actually give you a headache, make it harder to concentrate, or leave you just wanting to close your eyes.
If you’re spending long stretches of time on a device, make it a point to look away every 20 minutes, at something at least 20 feet away, for a full 20 seconds. It’ll give your eyes a break and keep the energy-zapping strain at bay.
It’s not all that unusual to feel zonked during the day from time to time, especially if you’re stressed or just not getting great sleep. But if it’s a regular issue or one that’s affecting your work or quality of life, touch base with your doctor.
Daytime fatigue could be a sign of an underlying health problem, so it’s important to figure out the root issue.
There are lots of strategies for staving off daytime slumps, starting with making sure you’re logging enough quality shut-eye. But if it seems like you’re exhausted during the day no matter what you do, check in with your doc to rule out any underlying medical causes.