Let’s face it. We’ve all been there. A poor night’s sleep results in an after-lunch slump in the middle of the workday. In order to ward off reverting back to a zombie-like state, you reach for a mid-day pick-me-up.
That’s when you pour yourself another cup of coffee. If it’s too late in the day for a coffee, it might be an energy drink. While turning to coffee or energy drinks may seem like the right thing to do, it’s just a quick fix for an underlying problem that needs to be addressed (which we will get to in a bit). There are healthier ways to boost your energy. In this article we will talk about the five top natural alternatives to coffee and energy drinks.
Why Not Use Coffee and Energy Drinks?
Coffee and energy drinks are not ideal choices for mid-day rejuvenation. As a side rant, if you are going to choose between coffee and energy drinks, coffee is the lesser of two evils. Energy drinks are laden with artificial sugar. Lots of it. Just one can of Monster contains 54 grams of sugar, which breaks down to 13 teaspoons. Countless studies confirm that excess artificial sugar intake over a lifetime is linked to weight gain, heart disease and a myriad of other ailments.
A limited amount of caffeine may be beneficial, especially when it comes to weight management and starving off diabetes. It is recommended that you have up to 400 mg of caffeine a day. However, the high doses of caffeine in energy drinks make it easy to exceed this amount.
With all that being said, the reason why neither is ideal for a middle of the day boost is due to the caffeine.
Technically, caffeine is a drug and it is addictive. Caffeine acts as a stimulant. Sure, it perks you up during the day, but it also keeps you up at night. Research has confirmed that having caffeine late in the day may disrupt your sleep.
In reality, the reason you drink coffee and energy drinks is because you are tired. Then the caffeine wears off, leaving you with late-night jitters. Consequently, you are up at night. So when you start your day, you need to have more caffeine to boost your energy. By the time you eat lunch, your body has metabolized the morning caffeine. You need another cup. This cycle is addiction.
Since you just ate lunch and food is energy, you shouldn’t be sluggish. Luckily, there are natural alternatives to coffee and energy drinks. Here are the five best natural solutions!
5 Natural Alternatives to Coffee and Energy Drinks
Most people don’t realize how easy it is to be dehydrated. Just mild dehydration may trigger bouts of moodiness and fatigue. When you receive this trigger, your natural reaction is to think that you need caffeine. However, you might just need water.
The old adage holds true. It is recommended that you drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. For an extra energy boost, try buying an infusion pitcher. That way you can cut up organic lemons and place them in the pitcher. Drinking this first thing every morning with an empty stomach helps balance the pH levels in your gut. Balanced pH levels in the gut helps boost the immune system as well as regulate mood, hormone and energy levels.
2. B-Vitaminize Your Diet
One of the keys to finding a natural alternative to coffee and energy drinks is to spruce up your diet a bit. B vitamins are the energy vitamins. There are eight that form a B vitamin complex. While you can take B vitamin complex supplements, you can also incorporate more B vitamins in your diet.
- Vitamin B1: Metabolizes food and regulates heart function. Found in multi-grain and whole wheat products, soy, spinach, lettuce, kidney beans, and cabbage.
- Vitamin B2: Energy booster that maintains red blood cells. Found in legumes, eggs, chicken, dairy, spinach, and broccoli.
- Vitamin B3: Helps convert carbs into sugar (energy). Found in salmon, chicken, whole wheat pasta, and legumes.
- Vitamin B5: Also helps convert carbs into sugar. Found in avocados, broccoli, kale, and potatoes.
- Vitamin B6: Maintains metabolism, liver, and nerve function. Found in eggs, dairy, legumes, and red meat.
- Vitamin B7: Helps support function of adrenal glands. Found in egg yolk, liver, avocados, pork, and salmon.
- Vitamin B9: Also converts carbs to sugar. Found in leafy greens, liver, and legumes.
- Vitamin B12: The only vitamin our body doesn’t create, essential for central nervous system function. Only found in animal fats and dairy; vegetarians can take supplements and nutritional yeast.
Eating more lunches rich in B vitamins such as a spinach salad with grilled salmon or chicken, or bringing leftovers from dinner like whole wheat pasta with chickpea meatballs, can go a long way in kicking the after-lunch slumps.
3. Get More Sleep!
The whole reason you are in this coffee/energy drink rut is because you lack the proper amount of sleep your body needs to get through the day. There are many factors at play that could be the cause of insomnia, such as:
- Exposure to LED lights on tablets and smart TVs within an hour prior to bed
- Chronic stress
- The use of sunglasses
- Sleeping disorders
- Alcohol or drug use
Whatever the reason may be, there is a way to get back into the swing of things. Your body naturally produces melatonin. This is a hormone that tells your body that it is ready to go to sleep. Usually it kicks in about an hour before your normal bedtime.
When we lack sleep, the hormone cortisol takes over. Our body gets stressed out and the only answer is to pump out the stress hormone. Snuff out the cortisol naturally with melatonin supplements such as Tranquility Labs’ Sleep-Fast.
An out-of-whack sleep cycle is more than likely the root of this caffeine addiction. Once that is under control, your body will have more time to repair itself. In turn, you will have more energy during the day.
4. Get Up and Out!
It is amazing what fresh air and moving around stagnant blood and bones will do for your energy levels. Maybe cut lunch a little short and get outside. Go for a walk around the building. After all, exposure to sunlight is extremely helpful for human health. It is the most natural source of vitamin D. This essential vitamin penetrates the skin and provides natural energy booster directly into our cells.
Essential oils are more than just a cushy marketing ploy on a bottle of lotion. They are the real deal. Our nasal passages have receptors that interact with the olfactory bulb in the central nervous system. The olfactory bulb works as the toll booth to the brain.
When your body interprets a scent, it gives the brain a signal. Studies have shown that essential oils such as peppermint, lemon, orange have a myriad of benefits. Diffusing or sniffing it straight from the bottle can give you a natural energy boost. Using essential oils like lavender, chamomile and ylang ylang at bedtime are also great for getting your sleep back on track at bedtime.
Break the Cycle
Now that you have some natural alternatives to coffee and energy drinks, it’s time to start a new routine. Get your sleep in check and everything else will follow. Don’t forget to also stay hydrated, keep moving around, eat your B vitamins, and perhaps give aromatherapy a shot.
Speaking of B vitamins, Focusene has 500% of your daily value of Vitamin B6 and contains other ingredients such as DMAE, Acetal L-Carnitine, L-Phenylalanine (Amino acid), which help your body break down fat (carbohydrates) and turn them into energy.
What is your mid-day go-to? What changes would you like to make? Let us know in the comments below!
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