The holidays are almost here, and at a time when everyone else is focused on decorating and shopping, college students across the country are gearing up for final exams. If you’re already getting tired of coffee and energy drinks — or looking for a healthier alternative — you’ll be glad to know there are other, more natural energy boosters out there.
If you’re trying to stay awake for classes, late night study sessions, and final exams without ingesting too much caffeine and sugar, take a look at these natural energy boosters.
1. Add Energy Boosters to Your Diet
Food is the most natural way to increase your energy. Of course, it has to be the right food — sorry, but that means pizza and takeout don’t count. In general, the best foods for boosting your energy have lots of protein, no refined sugar and healthy fats.
Some examples of great energy boosters to snack on include hummus, avocados, almonds, pumpkin seeds, blueberries and Greek yogurt. You can combine nuts and dried fruits to make a trail mix for munching while studying or start the day off with a blueberry and Greek yogurt smoothie before that 8AM class.
For meals, you can increase your energy by eating eggs, turkey and salmon. Eggs are cheap and can easily be prepared in tons of different satisfying ways from scrambles to omelets. If you don’t have access to your own kitchen and rely on your school’s dining hall, keep an eye on the weekly menu. If salmon and turkey are on the list, grab some Tupperware and take some home for the following night, too.
When you’re thirsty, green tea is a great alternative to coffee or energy drinks. The thymine in green tea can make you feel more alert while caffeine levels are relatively low. And don’t forget to drink water throughout the day, since this is the healthiest beverage possible and is known to help keep you feeling on top of your game.
2. Increase Your Physical Activity
It may sound like the worst thing to do when you’re already sluggish, but it turns out exercise can help boost your energy. It’s because physical activity gets the blood pumping and affects your central nervous system.
You don’t have to run a marathon to get the benefits of energy boosters like exercise. Need a break from studying? Take a quick walk around campus. Need a bit of energy to power through the last hour of your group study session? Lead a quick round of jumping jacks.
Of course, if you already have a daily workout schedule, this gives you more reason than ever to stick to it, even during the hectic last few weeks of term.
3. Get Enough Sleep
This might sound easier said than done when you’re frantically cramming for exams and still trying to make all your classes (including the early ones!), but getting a good night’s sleep is a must.
Try to get between six and eight hours of sleep per night. If you’re using the other natural energy boosters suggested above, you’ll find this easier since reducing your caffeine intake and working out more during the day can help you fall asleep faster at night.
Make sure you take time to unwind before turning out the lights. At least thirty minutes before bed, put away any work you’re doing for class and avoid the temptation to turn on Netflix. Being active on your computer late at night will actually make it harder for you to fall asleep, even if you’re watching a calming nature documentary.
Instead, try reading a book for pleasure or just listening to some relaxing music.
If you’re still having trouble getting a full night’s rest, you can always try taking small naps throughout the day when you’re feeling especially exhausted. That’s right, power naps really do work! They typically last anywhere from about 20 to 60 minutes, and in addition to helping you feel better rested, studies show they can also help you retain what you’ve been learning during your study sessions.
Along with these natural energy boosters, you can try out some other tips that many people swear by when they’re feeling sleep deprived. They include focusing on breathing deeply, getting more sunlight during the day, and simply making an effort to be more positive.
These energy boosters are quick and easy for any college student to use, so try them out as you study for final exams!