5 Ways to Boost Your Energy
From Cathy Wong, N.D.,
Energy is essential in this sleep-deprived, overstretched, high-speed world. How do we recharge our batteries when there is a constant drain on our resources?
Tip #1: Try Belly Breathing
In Chinese Medicine, energy is called "qi" (pronounced "chi"), and one of the most important ways we make qi is by breathing deeply. Stress, poor posture, a snug waistline, and habit are some of the reasons why our breath doesn't make it down to the bottom of our lungs. Belly breathing, also known as diaphragmatic breathing, is a simple way we can increase our qi energy and improve our stamina.
Tip #2: Get a Good Night Sleep
Most of us know that 8 hours of sleep per night is optimal.
But what many people don't know is that the actual time you fall asleep is important too--sleeping from 1 am to 9 am is not as restorative as sleeping from 10 pm to 6 am.
The reason why is because hormone secretion, body temperature, digestion, and other important restorative processes follow a 24-hour cycle linked to natural light exposure. The later in the evening we fall asleep and the later in the morning we wake up, the more out-of-sync our cycle becomes. If you've ever gone to bed at 3 am and woken up the next morning at 11 am, you may have noticed that you feel worn down and not fully "with it".
Growth hormone is one such restorative hormone. Eighty percent of growth hormone, which is needed for lean muscle, optimum immune function, and strong skin, is secreted during sleep between the hours of 11 pm and 1 am.
Try to go to bed before 10 pm. It may be difficult to get used to getting to bed at an early time, especially if you work late or if night-time is your only downtime and you like to watch late-night television. But you'll be rewarded with increased energy.
Tip #3: Eliminate Energy-Sappers From Your Diet
Not enough alkaline-forming foods in your diet - Foods that are alkaline-forming include figs, molasses, green leafy vegetables, almonds, beets, dates, celery, canteloupe, and parsley (this page has a list of alkaline vs. acid foods and explains the concept of alkaline- and acid-forming foods).
In addition to eating these foods, taking 1 teaspoon of a greens powder every morning mixed into juice or a smoothie can also raise energy.
Excess sugar - Excess sugar causes fluctuations in blood sugar, which can result in plummeting energy levels. Try to decrease all forms of refined sugar. Watch out for low-fat foods -- many have forms of sugar, such as high-fructose corn syrup, added to make the food more palatable.
Insufficent protein - With high-protein, low-carb diets being so popular, it's hard to believe it but insufficient protein is a common reason for fatigue. Pack some almonds and nuts for a quick and convenient protein snack.
Too much coffee - Although coffee initially raises stress hormones and gives a rush of energy, consuming several cups or more of coffee per day can promote burnout. Try to gradually cut back to one cup a day. If you like the taste of coffee, you may want to try one of these Top 5 Coffee Substitutes. To assess your level of burnout, take the Adrenal Fatigue Screening Quiz.
Not enough water - One of the most common reasons for low energy is not drinking enough water.
Tip #4: Take 20 Minutes Every Day Just For You
Create a daily ritual where you take 20 to 30 minutes for yourself just relaxing and doing nothing (no watching tv or surfing the net). Pick up a book, listen to music, meditate, have a cup of tea, or try a new yoga pose.
Two Ways to Meditate: Step-by-Step Instructions
Tip #5: Consider a Stress-Formula Multivitamin
People who are under chronic stress require more B vitamins. A stress formula multivitamin often has more B vitamins than standard multis. B-50 B supplements are also available as a supplement to a standard multivitamin. The B-2 in a B complex can turn urine a bright yellow color. If you haven't checked your multi, grab your vitamin bottle and take this quiz:
Does Your Multi Measure Up?