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Last Updated on January 20, 2021

8 Natural Energy Drinks to Give You a Boost Without Caffeine

8 Natural Energy Drinks to Give You a Boost Without Caffeine

Between work, meetings, cleaning, working out, and trying to have a life on top of all that, it’s no wonder you’re feeling a little worn out. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was some way you could get the energy you need to power through your day without those nasty caffeine-induced side effects? Fortunately, natural energy drinks can help.

It turns out there are many healthy energy drinks that can boost your energy levels without caffeine—a stimulant that has been linked to insomnia, migraine headaches, and even cardiac arrest. Below are some options to consider when you want to get your energy levels up the safe and healthy way, without reaching for a cup of coffee or a Red Bull.

1. B Vitamins

While B vitamins won’t give you a kick like caffeine, they are essential for your body to produce energy. Vitamin B-12, along with others in the B-vitamin complex, helps the metabolic functions in the body. Adults should be getting around 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B-12 daily, and many natural energy drinks provide more than enough to keep your body running smoothly.

Some great sources of B Vitamins include meat (especially liver), seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, legumes, leafy greens, seeds, and fortified foods, such as breakfast cereal and nutritional yeast[1].

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Perhaps, next time you make a fruit smoothie, consider throwing in some spinach or kale to give it a little boost of Vitamin B.

2. Kvass

A popular drink in Russia and Eastern Europe, this fermented drink is a healthy way to get your energy levels up without using caffeine. Kvass is created through the natural fermentation of wheat, rye, or barley and has a similar taste to beer[2].

Besides giving you energy, the probiotics in kvass have been found to enhance your immune system, aid your digestive tract, and even protect you against cancer. The best kind of kvass to boost your energy level will be mixed with fruits and veggies. Kvass is available in many natural food stores nationwide, and can even be made in your own home.

3. Coconut Water

Known as nature’s sports drink, coconut water is a great way to boost your energy through the coconut’s high levels of minerals and its good dose of potassium. The best coconut water comes from young, Thai coconuts. Be careful with store-bought coconut water as it will often have added sugars.

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Drink the water by itself, or blend it with bananas and strawberries for a tasty smoothie.

4. Kombucha

This fermented, probiotic tea is a tasty way to detoxify, heal, and boost your body’s energy levels, making it one of the best natural energy drinks. Kombucha is a mixture of brewed tea and SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) producing organic enzymes, amino acids, and vitamins[3].

The drink is available in many health food stores, or it can be purchased online. You can also buy your own kombucha brewing kit to create various flavored drinks and even beauty products.

5. Acai Berry

Besides the acai berry’s amazing nutritional properties, acai juice is a great way to boost your energy levels. Acai contains a host of B vitamins, potassium, protein, and fatty acids. The acai berry boosts your metabolism, which gives you more energy and can help you lose weight, making it a great natural energy drink.

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When searching for a good, energy-boosting acai drink, make sure to check the nutrition label and look for those with acai high on the list of ingredients and with a low amount of sugar.

6. Eleuthero and Ginseng

Ginseng is a herb that aids your body in adapting to stress and helps boost energy and stamina. There are different kinds of ginseng, and the Siberian ginseng, also known as eleuthero, is the most conducive to increase your energy levels[4]. Adults should take around 200-400 milligrams of ginseng daily, and the herb can be found in many healthy energy drinks.

7. The Green Monster Juice Drink

In addition to helping with weight loss, juicing is also an effective way to meet your fruit and vegetable quota while boosting your energy naturally. Below is a recipe that is sure to give your body a healthy energy boost with this natural energy drink.

Ingredients:

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  • 2 cups of spinach (about 3 handfuls)
  • 2 cups of kale (about 6-8 leaves)
  • 1 Granny Smith apple
  • ½ of a cucumber
  • ½ of a lemon
  • 4 stalks of celery

Steps:

  1. Rinse fruits and vegetables well.
  2. Peel the lemon, if you want.
  3. Put into your juicer and juice.
  4. Pour over ice, and drink up!

8. Berry, Beet, and Wheatgrass Smoothie

This is homemade treat and one of the best natural energy drinks, with vitamins A, B, C, and potassium! Beets are one of many foods that have the ability to help your body use oxygen more efficiently.

Blend together one small beetroot, 1/4 cup strawberries, half an avocado, a handful of spinach, one banana and one cup of almond milk. Add a tablespoon of fresh or powdered wheatgrass to add the additional benefits of antioxidants, minerals, and even more vitamins.

Final Thoughts

Life demands a lot from you, and you owe it to yourself to be able to bring your A-game, no matter what the day might throw your way. For increased energy and stamina to tackle your to-do list and do the things you love, try the natural energy drinks listed above or check out this list of 165 energy drinks.

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More energy, great health benefits, and no nasty caffeine-induced side effects? We’ll drink to that!

More on Energy-Boosting Foods

Featured photo credit: Dylan Alcock via unsplash.com

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Published on July 15, 2021

Shift Work Disorder: 17 Ways to Manage it Better

Shift Work Disorder: 17 Ways to Manage it Better

Are you having trouble sleeping? Or do you feel like you can barely stay awake when you need to? Are you left tired and irritable, lacking the joy and motivation that life once brought? If these complaints are tied to your long or rotating work schedule, you may be suffering from shift work disorder—a common ailment among professions with schedules outside the typical 9 am to 6 pm range.[1]

Why does it matter? Let’s be honest—being tired stinks. It feels terrible and leaves you vulnerable to many health risks that well-rested people aren’t as susceptible to. Not only that, but it can also wreak havoc on your relationships and quality of life.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to help manage this, and you can start trying them out today! Some of the solutions may not be what you expect. For instance, you might have linked improved sleep to exercise, but did you know that being compassionate with yourself can also have an impact?

Who Are Affected by Shift Work Disorder?

Twenty-five million people are shift workers in the country, so you are far from alone if you are struggling with this. Shift work disorder is a condition frequently affecting anyone who works a job where their schedule is outside standard business hours. Nurses, police officers, firefighters, and factory workers are common examples of professions with schedules that rotate around the clock.

Rotating shifts naturally leads to a change in one’s schedule, including sleep. As your sleep schedule becomes more chaotic, your body is unable to adjust and regulate itself and can result in having difficulty falling or staying asleep. This inevitably leads to less sleep, which is where some big problems can arise.

What Are the Symptoms?

Sleep is one of the most important (and underrated) aspects of our lives. Enough sleep and good quality sleep are critical to our emotional, mental, and physical health.

Insufficient sleep can lead to a significantly increased risk of physical health problems, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and gastrointestinal disorders. Mentally, being tired contributes to having scattered concentration, difficulty processing information, and being more likely to make mistakes or have an accident. Emotionally, the fallout of being chronically exhausted is linked to poor emotional regulation including being irritated more quickly, as well as an increased likelihood of developing anxiety and depression.[2]

Any of this sound familiar? If so, keep reading for some scientifically-based tips to help you manage your sleep better and get your life back.

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17 Ways to Manage Shift Work Disorder Better

Quality sleep, or the lack thereof, impacts us physically, mentally, and emotionally. The most impactful plan of attack against shift work disorder and to regain quality sleep must also reflect that.

I suggest reading through all of the tips and formulating a plan based on what you think will work for you. Start by trying out one thing and build from there as you are able. Remember to construct a plan that addresses your physical, mental, and emotional health.

Let’s start in the most obvious place first:

Your Job

1. Make Your Schedule the Best It Can Be

Randomly rotating shifts has been found to have the worst impact on our health.[3] If you have to rotate your schedule, request to rotate shifts in a clockwise fashion.

For example: work the day shift, rotate to the nights, then to the early morning shift, then start back on the day shift. Sounds silly? It’s not. Studies show that our bodies more easily adjust to changes in schedule when completed in a clockwise manner.[4] This is because of something called our circadian rhythm—24-hour cycles that are part of the body’s internal clock that carry out essential functions. The most commonly known of these is sleep. It has been discovered that our circadian rhythm adjusts forward more easily than it does backward.

2. Speak to Your Manager About Keeping Your Workplace Bright

Special lights have been designed to assist with circadian rhythm. It turns out that absorbing bright light that is most similar to sunlight can positively impact regulating our circadian rhythm.[5]

3. Avoid a Long Commute to and From Work

Having a long drive home after working a rotating shift is statistically not in your best interest. It’s been shown that fatigued/sleepy employees are 70% more likely to have a workplace accident and 33% more likely to be involved in a traffic accident.[6]

To avoid putting yourself at risk by driving when you’re not at your best, catch a nap before leaving work, pull over to sleep, or stay at a friend’s house nearby.

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4. Speak to Your Manager About Your Concerns

Many companies that operate around the clock are willing and able to make accommodations to those working alternative shifts. Whether it’s helping you find a schedule that works best for you or connecting you with other programs designed to support your well-being, being in good communication with your employer is to everyone’s benefit.

Sleep Attitudes and Environment

5. Change Your Perspective and Start Prioritizing Sleep

Here’s the deal: despite some pretty well-known dangerous effects of not getting enough sleep, somewhere along the line, our society began to think of sleep as a luxury. Some even consider it a badge of honor to “power through” without much (or any) sleep. People have been made to feel embarrassed or lazy if they get the recommended amount of sleep each night.

Here’s the bottom line: sleep is not a luxury.

Let me repeat that—sleep is not a luxury, and getting a consistent and healthy amount does not make you a slacker. Sleep is actually when our body does a lot of repair work on itself—blood vessels, muscles, and other organs. Sleep also boosts our immunity.

If we could help people feel as proud about sleeping as we do about them working out regularly or sticking to a healthy diet, people might be a lot healthier.

6. Make Your Sleep Space as Conducive to Rest as Possible

This means tweaking your environment so it’s as enticing as possible for your body to go to sleep. Keep the room dark using blackout blinds, reduce the temperature (our body rests best when slightly cool), limit interruptions (phone calls, visitors, noise), and remove electronic devices.[7]

Set yourself up for success by supporting yourself through your surroundings. If you wanted to lose weight, you wouldn’t frequently surround yourself with cookies, cake, and ice cream, right? Same idea here.

Personal Habits and Choices

7. Stick to a Regular Sleep Schedule as Closely as Possible—on Workdays and Days Off

This is obviously difficult when your schedule changes on the regular, but the more consistent you can keep your bedtime, the easier time your body has getting to sleep and staying that way.[8]

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8. Allow Yourself Time to Catch Up on Sleep

Having enough days off to rest and recuperate is an important aspect of protecting your health. You wouldn’t expect to be able to drive across the country on one tank of gas, right? Filling your own personal gas tank is just as important.

9. Take Naps, but Don’t Overdo It

It’s recommended by the Cleveland Clinic to take a 90-minute nap just before starting your shift and then a 30-minute nap during your “lunch break” at work.[9] Again, this is all about keeping some gas in your tank and not allowing yourself to get to the point where you are running on fumes. Short naps will help you stay refreshed and alert on the job.

10. Limit Caffeine to the Start of Your Shift

Most of us love a good hit of caffeine, especially when we are tired. But overdoing it or having caffeine too late in your shift can negatively impact your ability to get to sleep when you finally have the time to do so. Moderate your intake to help yourself get some quality sleep.

11. Avoid Alcohol Before Bed

Unwinding after work with a drink can be tempting. It can make you drowsy, which many people mistakenly believe will help them get better sleep. Unfortunately, alcohol will actually keep you awake (or wake you up later). This obviously impairs your ability to get the quality of sleep you are looking for.

12. Don’t Smoke

Much like alcohol, people turn to nicotine to “calm their nerves” or help them relax. Also, like alcohol, nicotine has been shown to disrupt sleep.[10] Cut back or cut this habit out as able.

13. Eat Well and Eat Smart

Choose convenient nutritious meals and snacks. Nutritious food is the foundation from which our body creates the needed chemicals for quality sleep. Foods high in saturated fat and sugar have been shown to have the worst impact on sleep.[11]

Also, timing is everything as they say. Eating too much or not enough before your shift can cause you to feel tired.

14. Get Regular Exercise

According to numerous studies, exercise can be as effective in treating sleep disorders as prescription medication.[12] Yes, you read that correctly—regular exercise is the bomb!

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This one can be tricky to convince people to do, especially if they are already tired and short on time. If you don’t have the time to hit the gym, take a brisk walk, dance around your living room to your favorite song, or mow your lawn. Despite feeling tired, getting up off the couch and moving around (moderate to vigorous exercise) is best for reducing the time it takes to get to sleep and improving the quality of sleep.

Mental and Emotional

15. Establish Consistent Practices That Help You Relax Before Bed

This can include yoga, deep breathing, a warm bath, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, meditation, and hypnosis. These are designed to reduce physical tension and quiet your mind from thoughts that are keeping you awake. There are lots of great apps and free videos that can help you with this.

16. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT as it’s known, works by helping you to identify thoughts and behaviors that make sleep worse and then developing new habits consisting of thoughts and behaviors that promote sleep. There are psychologists and life coaches who are specially certified in CBT that can help you with this.

17. Show Yourself Some Compassion

Sounds silly? Well, it’s not. A seven-year study conducted at the University of Mannheim concluded that the daily practice of self-compassion positively impacted people’s quality of sleep.[13]

The concept of showing ourselves compassion is foreign (and uncomfortable) to many of us. Try going easy on yourself for being grumpy, and give yourself some credit for the efforts you are making in tough circumstances. What would you say to your best friend if they were struggling with the same situation? I routinely ask my clients this question as it’s sometimes easier to be compassionate to others than ourselves. This tip might take some practice, but the effort could result in a better night’s sleep.

Final Thoughts

Okay, there you have it—17 different ways you can help yourself manage shift work disorder, feel more rested, more like yourself, and enjoy life again. To get started with your plan, pick out a few tips that you can implement today, but remember to choose a well-rounded approach—addressing the physical, mental and emotional.

Be patient with yourself. It takes time to build new habits. And show yourself some compassion and kindness—you might just be able to sleep better when you do.

Featured photo credit: Yuris Alhumaydy via unsplash.com

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