What feeling do I hate more than anything?
“Dear Sleep, I'm sorry we broke up this morning. I want you back.” UnknownA few weeks ago I was driving home from a movie shoot in Kentucky, which is about 5 hours from my home in Asheville, NC. We wrapped the shoot later than we expected and after I stopped for dinner, I knew I was in for some late night driving. I don't know about you, but for me there's nothing worse than the feeling of falling asleep at the wheel. It feels like relief is a million miles away (or at least 150). Do you pull over and prolong the trip or power through? During the drive, I did what many people do - I ate something to keep me awake. I picked an organic chocolate bar with espresso beans in it, figuring if that didn't give me a jolt, nothing would. The chocolate definitely did the trick - I got home with energy to spare. But I definitely paid the price over the following few days. I started snacking more, found myself constantly thinking about what sweet thing I was going to have for dessert next, and felt a low-grade depression sink in. It didn't take long to figure out what was going on - I was having a sugar hangover. After months of not eating sugar, I was feeling the full effects of it on my mind and body. And I didn't like it at all. After I finally got back into my normal sugar-free routine, I realized how much of my life I'd spent in that sugar-induced cycle of cravings, guilt, and unwanted physical effects. It makes me so grateful for the health I have now. (For the record, I still LOVE dessert - I just make it with very low/zero-glycemic sweeteners, like the ones found in Shift Bars.) So what do you do when you need a boost but you don't want to reach for the sneaky white powder? Here are my top natural energy boosters:
- Take a nap: At this point, you might be saying, "Duh, Emily!!!" But how often do we choose to power through when we're really starting to doze off? All you need is a quick 10-15 minute power nap and you're back in the game, more effective than ever.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: We should be drinking water all day long, but many times, having an extra glass when you're feeling drowsy can pick you right back up. It'll also fill you up so you don't feel the urge to reach for a sweet treat.
- Shake it off: Taylor Swift has the right idea - moving your body is a great way to wake yourself up. Whether it's a 5-minute dance break, a quick walk around the block, or a few yoga poses, getting that blood circulating will deliver more oxygen to your brain and wake you right up.
- Healthy energy drinks: No need to reach for that afternoon cup o' joe. With green tea, coconut water and yerba mate available, you can sip your way to more energy, the healthy way.
- Sugar-free chocolate: I'm never going to give up my chocolate, but next time, I'll make sure I have some on hand that doesn't have sugar and coffee beans in it! My favorite is a local brand called Santosha (don't worry if you don't live in Asheville, they ship!)