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How to Get Energy Without Caffeine
Updated on August 10, 2023
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At Home Health
How to Get Energy Without Caffeine

Coffee is the most common go-to beverage for a morning energy boost. Most coffee drinkers love to start their day with a brew. A cup of joe can also help you overcome the afternoon slump. 

Coffee has caffeine — it’s what helps you get fired up for the day. Caffeine blocks adenosine or sleep-promoting receptors in your brain to increase alertness.1

“Caffeine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. As such, it causes wakefulness. But the effects of caffeine also result in some changes in the stomach, heart, and kidneys,” says our in-house expert, Dr. Rizza Mira. 

The caffeine in coffee can make you feel awake as quickly as 15 minutes after your first sip.2 However, the temporary energy boost isn’t ideal for everyone. 

“There is a limit to how much caffeine the body can handle,” says Dr. Mira.

Health Benefits of Coffee 

Coffee can give us more than just the jolt we need. Aside from helping jump-start our day, studies suggest that coffee has various potential health benefits, such as:3

  • Providing more energy
  • Promoting heart health
  • Lowering your risk of Alzheimer’s
  • Protecting your liver 
  • Reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Strengthening your DNA 
  • Decreasing your stroke risk

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Is Caffeine Bad For You?

Caffeine isn’t all bad if you’re drinking just the right amount. However, some people drink more than the ideal coffee amount, while others have caffeine sensitivity. These people may experience more pronounced effects associated with caffeine intake. 

For example, a caffeine-sensitive person may feel a little shakier after consuming coffee. Another symptom of sensitivity to caffeine is an upset stomach or the need to use the loo after a cup of joe.

Excessive caffeine intake can have several effects on other organ systems. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration suggests limiting your caffeine consumption to 400 milligrams per day.4

That’s about four to five cups of coffee a day. Any amount beyond that may cause caffeine overload, which may look like:5

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Feeling agitated or jittery
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased thirst
  • Restlessness

If you’d like to enjoy coffee without the jitters and other side effects, you can drink decaf coffee instead. It has less caffeine than regular coffee but has the same benefits.

7 Natural Ways to Boost Energy That Don’t Involve Coffee

You can boost your energy level naturally without drinking coffee. These tips can help you increase energy while cutting down on your coffee consumption. 

1. Eat Your Meals Regularly

Skipping meals or following super restrictive diets can make you tire easily. That’s because they deprive your body of much-needed fuel. 

You’re also more likely to binge or give in to your cravings on your next meal. Unhealthy diets may also cause your blood sugar to fluctuate, which affects your energy level. 

On the other hand, healthy eating habits ensure a steady supply of energy and blood glucose. Meal planners can help guarantee that you’re eating healthy and regularly throughout the day. 

“Foods with low glycemic index provide the body with a steady supply of glucose (sugar). It is important to read the labels and consume more of these foods,” says Dr. Mira. 

2. Take a Power Nap if Needed

Do you feel sleepy in the middle of the day? It’s usually a sign of low energy. But a coffee break isn’t the only solution. 

A behavioral sleep specialist explains that a power nap is a good alternative to coffee. It can help you recharge while increasing your alertness and concentration.6 

Power naps should ideally last 20 to 30 minutes because if you go over this, you may dive into a deep sleep instead. Interrupting deep sleep can make you feel more tired. 

Consider napping earlier in the day. Napping near bedtime or even taking several naps can mess with your sleep schedule. 

3. Keep Yourself Hydrated

Tiredness and fatigue are classic features of dehydration. Dehydration can even cause mental slowness. Drinking six to eight glasses of water daily ensures that you’re hydrated.

Some symptoms that you may experience if you don’t drink enough water include:

  • Dry mouth 
  • Headaches 
  • Tiredness
  • Painful urination 
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dark-colored and foul-smelling urine

Drinking water can reverse the effects of dehydration on your mood and focus.

Next time you want to stay awake, try a glass of cold water instead of coffee. Drinking cold water helps your body produce the hormone adrenaline that makes you suddenly alert.

4. Get Your Daily Dose of Sunshine

Sunlight won’t give you energy, but it can help you fight fatigue. 

Melatonin expert Russel J. Reiter says that getting sufficient sunlight can elevate your mood and energy. It does this by regulating melatonin production.9

Melatonin facilitates energy production and regulates your daily cycle. If your body’s melatonin production is disrupted, it can affect your circadian rhythm, sleep pattern, and glucose metabolism.10 

“If it is impossible to get some sun, keep your workplace properly lit. Your body increases melatonin production if the environment is dark,” says Dr. Mira. 

Sunshine can also boost your energy levels. When the sun strikes your skin, it triggers the chemical reaction for making vitamin D. The sunshine vitamin provides energy, supports your immune system, and strengthens your bones.11 

5. Switch to a Low-Glycemic Diet

The glycemic index (GI) is a system that categorizes food according to how they affect your blood sugar levels. Foods with a high GI can cause a dramatic rise in your blood glucose levels. 

Your body responds by releasing insulin. The result is a sugar crash that makes you feel fatigued.12 

On the other hand, a low glycemic diet contains foods that release energy slowly. It helps you maintain normal levels of blood glucose. 

Some examples of low glycemic index foods to add to your diet include:13

  • Fruits
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils 
  • Kidney beans
  • Raw carrots
  • Leafy greens
  • Bran breakfast cereals

If you have diabetes, there are foods that lower your blood sugar level and provide long-term energy.

6. Get Adequate Sleep

A power nap can help you overcome lunchtime drowsiness, but it can’t replace a good night's sleep. Sleep is necessary for the repair of body tissues so each organ can function at its best.

Adequate sleep helps you feel refreshed the following morning. An average adult should get about seven to eight hours of sleep daily to keep their brain healthy.14 

If you’re having trouble getting enough sleep, try these tips:15

  • Avoid stimulants (caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine) close to bedtime
  • Use your bed for sleeping
  • Participate in physical activity
  • Set a routine and stick to it
  • Turn off electronic devices
  • Try relaxation techniques (deep breathing and yoga)
  • Get some morning sunshine

7. Grab a Quick Snack

Simple and easy-to-digest carbohydrates make great snacks. If you're feeling low, your body can quickly break them down to release instant energy. 

However, we don’t recommend making a habit out of it. Do not resort to sugary snacks and processed foods each time your energy drops. 

These foods can cause your blood sugar to spike. Eventually, this can lead to diabetes.

Snacks that you can try include:

  • Fruits
  • Beets
  • Corn
  • Lentils
  • Nuts
  • Whole grains 

Healthy Energy Boost Alternatives

Coffee can help you stay focused and keep you energized — all thanks to its caffeine. Many of us depend on it to accomplish tasks and get through the day.

Unfortunately, drinking too much coffee can make you jittery and anxious. Some people also have caffeine sensitivity and cannot drink it in large quantities.

One thing you can do is switch to low-caffeine coffee. Besides giving you energy, decaf coffee also benefits your health like regular coffee.

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Updated on August 10, 2023
Dr. Rizza Mira
Dr. Rizza Mira
Medical Reviewer
Dr. Rizza Mira is a medical doctor and a general practitioner who specializes in pediatrics, nutrition, dietetics, and public health.

As a pediatrician, she is dedicated to the general health and well-being of children and expecting parents. She believes that good nutrition, a healthy lifestyle, and prevention of illness are key to ensuring the health of children and their families.

When she’s not in the hospital, Rizza advocates and mobilizes causes like breastfeeding, vaccination drives, and initiatives to prevent illness in the community.
Cristine Santander
Cristine Santander
Content Contributor
Cristine Santander is a content writer for KnowYourDNA. She has a B.S. in Psychology and enjoys writing about health and wellness.
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