Science 101: Vitality & Boosting Your Energy Levels Naturally

Feeling drained, sluggish, and lethargic are more than just minor inconveniences standing in the way of our productivity—they can put a real damper on your day-to-day life. Picture this: you’re about to embark on an epic adventure, not across oceans or mountains, but through the labyrinth of your own energy levels. This article will lead you on a journey through the peaks and valleys of vitality, where coffee cups and energy drinks are mere sidekicks, and the real superheroes of energy management await. Energy isn’t just fuel for our bodies—it’s the key to living our best life. So let’s dig into what gives us this mojo and discover some ways to naturally kick it up a notch! 


The Origins of Energy: Understanding How Energy is Generated in the Body


Ever wonder how your body manages to keep going all day? When we eat nutrients like glucose, amino acids, and fatty acids, these get absorbed into our bloodstream and chauffeured to various cells and tissues, and are then broken down in our cells to generate energy. 


The Role of Nutrition in Energy Levels


Food is more than just delicious—it’s our main source of energy. To understand how food affects our body, we need to know about macronutrients. Macronutrients are essential nutrients that the body requires in relatively large quantities to provide energy, support growth, and maintain overall health. Let’s take a peek at three primary macronutrients:


Carbohydrates: They’re the body’s main source of energy and are found in foods like grains, starchy veggies, legumes, fruits, and sugar-containing foods. [1]


Proteins: Proteins, found in foods like meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, eggs, legumes, nuts, and seeds, are made up of amino acids. They are crucial for building and repairing tissues, supporting immune function, and producing enzymes and hormones. [2]


Fats: Fats serve as a concentrated source of energy and play vital roles in hormone production, insulation and protection of organs, and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Sources of dietary fats include oils, butter, avocados, nuts, seeds, fatty fish, and animal fats. Fats are composed of fatty acids, and different types of fats (saturated, unsaturated, trans) have varying effects on health. [2]



The body absorbs these macronutrients at different rates, so mix it up—have a little bit of everything in your meals or snacks. Limiting simple sugars will keep you from crashing hard and losing energy. And even though carbohydratess, proteins, and fats serve up the energy, don’t forget the other vital players—vitamins, minerals, and water—that ensure holistic health. Balancing your plate should be an artful mix of fresh fruits and veggies, along with the right balance of macronutrients and micronutrients, to cater to meet your body’s nutritional needs. [3]


Catching Z’s: The Sleep-Energy Connection



Sleep isn’t just a downtime activity, it’s a powerhouse player in keeping your energy tank filled and promoting overall wellness. It’s a time of restoration, a secret sanctuary where your body and mind hit the reset button and come out refreshed. Let’s delve into the nitty-gritty of how sleep charges up your energy batteries:


Energy restoration: During sleep, the body repairs and rebuilds tissues, restore glycogen stores in the muscles, and supports the immune system. While you’re lost in dreamland your body is gearing up for the next day, ensuring your energy levels are firing on all cylinders. [7]

Brain function and cognition: Sleep plays a vital role in memory consolidation, learning, attention, and problem-solving. It’s like hitting the refresh button on our brains—leading to sharper mental clarity, better concentration, and a more productive day. [7]

Hormonal regulation: Adequate sleep helps balance hormones that regulate appetite, metabolism, and energy expenditure. Sleep deprivation or poor-quality sleep can disrupt hormone levels, potentially leading to increased feelings of fatigue and alterations in energy balance. [7]

Mood and emotional well-being: Lack of sleep can impact mood and emotional well-being, resulting in irritability, low motivation, and elevated stress levels. Emotional disturbances can, in turn, drain your energy and dull your overall zest for life. [8]

Physical recovery and exercise performance: Sleep plays a critical role in physical recovery and exercise performance. During sleep, the body repairs muscle tissue, consolidates the gains made during exercise, and promotes muscle growth. Basically, better sleep equals better recovery and better future performance. [9]


Stress: The Energy Thief


The “fight or flight” response to stress isn’t all bad—it can help in certain situations. But prolonged stress is like a leech, sucking away our energy, messing with our sleep, and tempting us into bad dietary choices (hello, sugar crashes!). [10] It’s important to recognize the impact of stress on energy levels and take steps to manage and reduce stress when possible. Techniques like relaxation exercises, mindfulness, regular exercise, and seeking support can help keep stress and its energy-draining effects at bay.


The Energy-Mood Connection: An Unseen Bond


Energy and mood are closely interconnected, and changes in energy levels can have a significant impact on mood. When we’re brimming with energy, we’re more likely to feel upbeat, motivated, and ready to seize the day. But when energy levels dip, we can feel sluggish, unmotivated, and downright grumpy. Energy plays a crucial role in motivation. When our energy levels are high, we tend to feel more motivated and capable of engaging in activities. Increased energy can lead to a sense of productivity, accomplishment, and satisfaction, which positively impacts mood. Energy not only affects how we feel, but also how we see ourselves. When we feel energetic, we may have a more positive self-image, and vice versa. Recognizing the interplay between energy and mood is important, and if we want to keep the positive vibes going, we’ve got to keep our energy levels afloat. [11] 


Top Tips to Naturally Boost Energy Levels


While food is the primary way our bodies derive energy, there are several strategies we can use to naturally improve our energy levels:


  • Prioritize sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night and establish a consistent sleep routine by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. [6]
  • Stay hydrated: Dehydration can lead to fatigue, so it’s important to drink enough water throughout the day. The general recommendation is to consume around 8-10 cups (2 liters) of water daily, but individual needs may vary. [4]
  • Eat a balanced diet: Opt for a balanced diet with complex carbs, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Avoid excessive consumption of processed foods, sugary snacks, and drinks, as they can cause energy crashes. [2]
  • Manage stress: Stress can take a toll on our energy levels. Incorporate stress management techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or engaging in activities you enjoy.
  • Regular physical activity: Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week. Find activities you enjoy, such as walking, jogging, cycling, or dancing, and make them a part of your routine. [5]
  • Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol: While caffeine can provide a temporary energy boost, relying on it excessively can disrupt sleep and lead to energy crashes. Similarly, excessive alcohol consumption can interfere with sleep quality and leave you feeling tired the next day – moderation is key. [6]
  • Stay social and connected: Maintaining social connections and engaging in activities with loved ones can positively impact mood and energy levels. Seek support from friends and family, participate in social activities, and foster a sense of community.
  • Take regular breaks: Taking short breaks throughout the day can help combat mental and physical fatigue. Get up from your desk, stretch, and engage in activities that give your mind a rest.
  • Consider dietary supplements: Some supplements, such as B vitamins and iron play a role in energy production and may be beneficial if you have deficiencies. However, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplements to ensure they are appropriate for you. [3]


Remember, everyone’s energy levels and needs are unique, so it’s important to listen closely to your body and make adjustments accordingly. If persistent fatigue or low energy levels are a concern, consult with a healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation and personalized recommendations. For more actionable tips check out our Energy Primer!

Energy isn’t just about getting us through the day—it’s the unseen force that powers our motivation, shapes our mood, and enhances our lives. So, let’s start valuing our sleep, managing our stress, and fueling our bodies right. In doing so, we’re not just warding off fatigue; we’re embracing a vibrant, fully-engaged life. For more tips be sure to check out our Energy Primer. Cheers to your energized journey ahead!



  1. Holesh JE, Aslam S, Martin A. Physiology, Carbohydrates. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing; 2023. Accessed June 15, 2023.
  2. Carreiro AL, Dhillon J, Gordon S, et al. The macronutrients, appetite and energy intake. Annu Rev Nutr. 2016;36:73-103.
  3. Tardy AL, Pouteau E, Marquez D, Yilmaz C, Scholey A. Vitamins and Minerals for Energy, Fatigue and Cognition: A Narrative Review of the Biochemical and Clinical Evidence. Nutrients. 2020;12(1):228.
  4. Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate. National Academies Press; 2005.
  5. CDC. Move More; Sit Less. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published March 23, 2023. Accessed June 8, 2023.
  6. What Is Sleep Hygiene? Sleep Foundation. Published April 17, 2009. Accessed June 8, 2023.
  7. How Sleep Works: Understanding the Science of Sleep. Sleep Foundation. Published October 23, 2020. Accessed June 8, 2023.
  8. Mental Health and Sleep. Sleep Foundation. Published September 18, 2020. Accessed June 8, 2023.
  9. How Can Exercise Affect Sleep? Sleep Foundation. Published February 25, 2013. Accessed June 8, 2023.
  10. Harris RBS. Chronic and acute effects of stress on energy balance: are there appropriate animal models? Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2015;308(4):R250-265.
  11. McEwen BS. The Brain on Stress: Toward an Integrative Approach to Brain, Body and Behavior. Perspect Psychol Sci. 2013;8(6):673-675.