28 Science-Backed Ways To Boost Your Energy Instantly

Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
By Kelly Fitzpatrick
Advertisement
Put down that energy shot! There's no need to chug crazy canned concoctions or buckets of coffee to get through the day without a 3 p.m. slump. We found 28 quick-and-easy tips to increase your energy levels — no unpronounceable chemicals required.
Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
1. Work Out Midday
When that mid-afternoon urge to doze rolls around, hit the gym instead of the sack. Studies suggest working out can actually increase productivity enough to counteract that time away from the office.
2. Power Nap
Avoid the temptation to pull a Rip Van Winkle, and take a quick midday power nap instead. Studies show the optimal nap length is 10 to 20 minutes — that way, you can get through the day without throwing off your good night's sleep.
3. Hit The Candy Bowl
Sure, chocolate's got caffeine, but that's not the only reason it offers a quick pick-me-up. Flavonoids found in cocoa have been shown to boost cognitive skills and improve mood. Just make sure it's the dark stuff.
Advertisement
4. Drink Some Joe
We can say from experience that six back-to-back cups of coffee is a recipe for instant crash-mode. But, one cup is usually just right. One study found that a single cup of coffee was enough to keep sleepy drivers on a long haul more alert at the wheel.
5. Go Outside
Head into the great outdoors — even if some woods aren't nearby, a green park will do. Just 20 minutes outdoors is enough to feel more alive. How's that for an energy boost?
Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
6. Eat Regularly
The body needs fuel (a.k.a. food) to function, and without it our energy and mood can spiral downward. However, regular, healthy meals and snacks can improve cognitive function. But, keep in mind that not getting enough sleep can also cause us to eat when we're not actually hungry, so check in with that stomach before munching down.
7. Reach For Complex Carbs
Wondering what to eat to fuel up? Complex carbs (like whole grains) are a good bet. The dose of glucose they provide serves as food for the brain, and one study found a meal of complex carbs made subjects feel more energized. Studies have also found low-carb dieters to be moodier than those who do eat carbs.
Advertisement
8. Sip Sugar-Free Drinks
Studies suggest sugary energy drinks can leave us crashing as soon as one hour later. Even caffeine-free sugary beverages can cause a crash.
9. Add Some Greens
In a stuffy office, a houseplant can help filter out pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (or VOCs for short) and ozone. Those chemicals can have both long and short-term effects, including causing energy-draining allergies and headaches. Add a plant, though, and those threats could diminish.
10. Laugh
Laughter's a proven stress-buster, but studies suggest laughing can boost energy levels, too. (Feel free to use this as permission to go on YouTube for the next 30 minutes.)
Illustrated by Mary Galloway.
11. Stretch It Out
Just a few desk stretches may be enough; studies have suggested a little yoga could fight depression and anxiety or other stress-related disorders.
Advertisement
12. Open The Curtains
Environmental cues play a huge role in thebody's energy grooves (a.k.a. circadian rhythms), and sunlight can also help alleviate seasonal affective disorder. There's no need to invest in a light therapy box if there's a sunny window available.
13. Chew Wisely
Instead of nodding off during an endless meeting, pop a piece of gum. One study found that chewing gum can increase alertness and improve your mood.
14. Think Fast
It may not sound so easy when those eyelids are drooping, but making the brain work a little quicker may help the body follow suit! Thinking faster (i.e. reading at a quicker pace, brainstorming in a group, or learning a new concept) made one group of study subjects feel more energized.
15. Take A Cold Shower
It's all about the polar-bear swim. Researchers have even suggested a three-minute-long cold shower could be enough to counteract some of the effects of chronic fatigue.