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Caffeine-Free Ways to Stay Energized

Written by: Jillian Catalano | WVUGo Media - Copywriter/Editor

Soft Drink Cans Photos by: Ben Powell

Looking for ways to refuel without a cup of Joe? This series highlights six healthy habits to stay energized throughout the day.

Through balancing coursework, jobs and extracurriculars, being a tired college student is seemingly inevitable. All too often, students turn to sugary caffeinated beverages to combat their case of fatigue. Though, developing a dependence on caffeine is not without its drawbacks. Luckily, there are a variety of healthy habits students can implement to kick their caffeine fix to the curb.

Focus on food

Eating a healthy meal is a fool-proof way to stay energized throughout the day. Doctors recommend eating a small meal every three to four hours to refuel. When reaching for something to eat, make sure it has complex carbs, lean protein and healthy fats. Skipping meals or replacing nutrients with empty calorie foods can deprive you of necessary nutrients that keep you going. It can also contribute to overeating to overcompensate for lost nutrients. Sticking to a healthy and consistent eating schedule can keep blood sugar and energy levels steady.

Drink lots of water

A lack of energy is a common sign of dehydration, so it’s important to focus on drinking water throughout the day. The recommendations for water intake vary as some experts believe consuming six to eight glasses of water a day is sufficient. Though, this recommendation can fluctuate depending on body size and activity level. If remembering to refill your bottle is a challenge, try out a hydration app or decorate your drinking vessel with helpful reminders.

Take an exercise break

Exercise is a great way to get out of a mid-day slump. Getting up and being active reminds your body you need to refuel. Exercise of any kind, even going on a quick walk around campus, releases chemicals that contribute to alertness and overall well-being. Get up and get your blood flowing!

Engage in mindfulness behaviors

Yoga and meditation practices are great ways to get in tune with your inner self. Starting the day with a headstand, bridge pose or other simple stretch relaxes the mind and propels the body with a jolt of natural energy. Breathing techniques, such as “ Bellows Breath” are also beneficial to increase alertness. To try out this breathing exercise, keep your mouth closed and focus on breathing through your nostrils. These breaths should be short, quick and last for about ten seconds at a time. Once this segment is complete, give yourself a short break and repeat it several times.  

Yoga Class

Improve your sleeping patterns

College students often sacrifice their sleep schedules to keep up with their studies. However, adults need at least seven hours of restful sleep each night. Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule and bedtime will help the body adjust to your sleeping patterns. In doing so, your body will be more likely to understand when it should be awake and at rest. Thus, falling asleep and waking up will be much easier, and energy levels will be balanced throughout the day.

There are some days, however, where a good night’s rest is not enough to fuel the day. In these instances, health experts say a twenty minute “power nap” is long enough to experience the primary refueling benefits of the early stages of sleep. Though, napping for longer than twenty minutes may cause you to fall into a deeper sleep. In doing so, you wake up feeling more fatigued than before and experience a sleep induced haze. It can be tempting to take long naps, but they can be more of a setback than a lunge forward. Take naps earlier in the day and with caution, as they should not be used to compensate for a full night’s rest. 

Park space

Be one with nature

Studies have shown that spending time in nature makes people feel more alert and energized. Being outside, even for short periods of time, can be used to decrease stress and refuel. There are many places on campus to soak in the sun and be one with the trees!

College is tiring and caffeinated drinks are a shortcut method to quickly fight fatigue on campus. There are plenty of healthy alternatives ranging carb filled snacks to power naps that can help combat the mid-day blues. Implement these healthy habits and kick that cup of Joe to the curb.

About the Author

Jillian Catalano
Jillian Catalano is a part of the Writing/Editing Team for WVUGo. She is a junior Communication Studies major with minors in political science and public relations. Jillian is from Lumberton, NJ, a small town named after the abundance of pine trees that were in the area many years ago. Jillian is a member of Omega Phi Alpha, a national service sorority and currently serves as the chapter’s Promotions Chair.