Most of us know that when we are yawning and feeling like we can’t keep our eyes open, it’s time to sleep. But sometimes, we look at the clock during these episodes and it is only 2pm.

Even if we are tired, if it is the middle of the day and we are still at work, we may not have the option of going to sleep. So, how can we increase our energy in order to remain productive during our day.

In the past, you may have reached for something sweet. We naturally crave these foods when we are tired because our body knows we need glucose as a quick fuel source. But although sugar is easily utilized, it does not create lasting energy.

In fact, with sugary foods, energy tends to spike but then drops precipitously. We usually end up more tired and hungry than before we ate the sugary food. So, what can we do to increase our energy in a healthier way?

1)      Our body needs water to function. If we are dehydrated, we tend to have less energy and sometimes thirst can be misinterpreted as hunger. So, by hydrating our body regularly with water, we have a steadier stream of energy. Along with the energy, we may even lessen over-eating by eliminating thirst, which may be misconstrued as hunger.

2)      If you really feel that you need caffeine but want to make sure that you can sleep at night, try oolong (a type of black tea) or green tea which has a fraction of the caffeine in coffee while providing polyphenols, amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and flavonoids that naturally boosts your energy.

3)      The mid-afternoon energy drop can frequently result from consuming a carbohydrate-heavy lunch. So, it’s crucial that the food we eat at lunch is more protein-heavy, preferably in the form of plant proteins. Plant-proteins such as legumes and soy provide phyto-nutrients and minerals that help our body run efficiently and are more anti-inflammatory than many processed carbohydrates or animal proteins. A non-specific symptom of elevated inflammation in the body is fatigue. Therefore, eating plant-based proteins help our bodies achieve a less inflamed state while providing our body with the nutrients it needs to perform vital functions. All of this translates into less fatigue.

If you implement these steps, you may not be as tempted by sugary foods. The ultimate goal is to provide you with energy, without jerking your body into high gear then dropping your energy lower than before. These healthier energy-boosting alternatives should keep you swiftly moving along in your day to a more productive afternoon.