People are more overworked than ever. According to U.S. Department of Labor statistics, our parents and grandparents worked around 1,600 hours a year in 1979, compared to 1,800 a year in 2007.
It can be easy and convenient to grab an energy drink or large soda when you’re feeling tired. But cheap-and-quick energy sources will leave you feeling even more fatigued than you initially were once they wear off.
Try these natural, clean and easy methods for increasing your energy.
Related: Boost Your Energy Now
The more water, the better. Staying hydrated keeps your organs functioning properly, which in turn keeps your energy levels in tip-top shape. Drink at least 16 ounces of water at morning, noon and night.
Eat smaller meals more frequently. By eating a small meal every two or three hours, you maintain your brain’s steady flow of nutrients and avoid fatigue. If you prefer larger meals less frequently, make sure you don’t skip any.
Blueberries, artichokes and tomatoes are great examples of foods chock-full of antioxidants. Antioxidants are a clean energy source, meaning they can protect the body from future energy dips or stress.
Sugar will provide a temporary energy increase, but it will lead you to crash a couple of hours later. Although natural sugar is OK, try choosing fruits low in fructose, such as citrus and berries, instead of ones high in sugar like cherries and mangoes.
Whether you’re a restless sleeper or you’re simply worn out from a long week at work, don’t be afraid to take a short nap. Keep it under 30 minutes to avoid interfering with your nighttime sleep schedule.
Caffeine boosts energy and helps stave off Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, dementia and cancer. It can also ease migraine pain and step up concentration, memory and reaction time. If you don’t like coffee or feel like it gives you the jitters, try another source of caffeine, such as green or black tea.
If you work a desk job, this is particularly important. A brief walk can get your blood pumping and will provide you with a short boost of energy to push you through the day. In fact, one study found a 10-minute walk can increase your energy levels for up to two hours.
A study conducted by the Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center of the Department of Agriculture found women who had more magnesium in their diets were able to work out harder over a longer period of time. Halibut, whole grains and nuts (in particular almonds and cashews) are a rich source of magnesium.
You might feel as if you sleep soundly with a drink or two in your system before bed, but the opposite is true. Alcohol actually disrupts deep sleep and will leave you feeling restless the following day.
This article originally appeared in the May 2017 issue of SUCCESS magazine.