The morning is the most important time to establish the rest of the day. The way you wake up will set the mood and energy level until the next night. If your alarm startles you out of a deep sleep, it can take hours to really feel awake. Fortunately, our bodies are easily manipulated. The brain is just a combination of chemicals, which can be added and subtracted easily in the modern world.
What is caffeine, and why avoid it?
One of the biggest breakthroughs in energy science is caffeine. Caffeine is an easy, highly effective way to wake up and stay up. Millions of people start their day with caffeine, putting coffee at the front of their day to keep them awake and stimulate the central nervous system.
At the end of the day, caffeine is still a drug. Even though the energizing boost is coveted, it has residual side effects that can be damaging to your body long term. Since caffeine is a stimulant, side effects can include irritability, jitters, anxiety, rapid heart rate, and insomnia. As a drug, it is also highly addictive. But how else can we stay awake and alert without caffeine?
Easy ways to boost your energy completely caffeine free
1. Improve sleep
The most effective way to completely wean off of caffeine is to improve sleep quality. Tracking your sleep and scheduling alarms around sleep cycles can help you achieve a dramatic change in energy levels throughout the day. You can accomplish this in many ways. For many people, increasing sleep quantity is a priority. For some, sleeping less will maximize energy. Try experimenting with sleeping more or less and figure out what works best for you. Another simple way to improve sleep quality is by sleeping with the curtains open. When the sun rises, it will trigger your brain to start digestion, and your systems will start waking up while you sleep. That way, by the time your alarm goes off, your body is well on its way to waking up completely.
2. Expose yourself to light early in the morning
As soon as you wake up, try to get your body into natural sunlight. Humans are programmed to respond to the sun’s rays, and by putting yourself right in them, your body will have a natural reaction to wake your brain up by slowing down your natural production of melatonin. As humans, we tend to underestimate the importance of the sun, but our whole circadian rhythm is built around it. As soon as the sun goes down, our bodies produce melatonin, and when it rises, we make chemicals which inhibit melatonin production. Spending nights under light bulbs and mornings in the dark offset this cycle, and make naturally occurring energy much harder to produce and maintain.
3. Snack well
Since the beginning of time, people have known that eating increases energy. Food is fuel, and it helps energy at a molecular level. When we eat, the food is broken down first by our teeth, then by our bile, and then further as it disperses throughout digestion. These processes keep blood flowing and muscles moving, but more importantly, the food literally turns into energy. When nutrients are pulled into cells, they fuel the molecules of our body, and the glucose is converted into energy, which is stored in our mitochondria. By eating, we are literally infusing energy through our cells and bloodstream, as well as experiencing delicious food and (sometimes) the joy of cooking. For snack inspiration ideas, check out our article on healthy snacks for meetings. The benefit of snacking is that it keeps nutrients flowing throughout the day. Meals are the recommended format for long term planning, but keeping healthy snacks around can keep you satiated and keep your blood moving without even requiring you to stand up. Although we do recommend that also.
4. Standing up
There are literally hundreds of distinct benefits to working out, but they don’t all require a full exercise regimen. The most important part of working out is movement to keep your body engaged and awake, and the energy comes naturally. To reap the basic benefits, all you have to do is stand up and take a lap of whatever room you find yourself in a few times a day. This reminds your body to stay awake and increases blood flow, coordination, and reduces risk for many conditions, like heart disease and diabetes. Walking is proven to have powerful health benefits, and if you feel inspired, it acts as a great gateway into the world of running, cardio, anabolic training, and more. It is an accessible way to tap into your body’s natural resources of strength and fuel without doing all of the intense work (although that is a great next step).
Just the first steps
Whether you are looking to cut out caffeine entirely or just amend your routine, these four tips can act as an acceleration lane onto the highway of natural energy and wellness.
There are a myriad of other ways to access natural energy that remain completely unmentioned in this article, but a little bit of research can get you a long way. No matter what, coming back to the simple goals will be a strong start, and push you in the direction of less dependency and more self-motivated acceleration.