I’ve written before about how to improve your energy level, but I’ve mostly focused on long-term strategies. Today I want to share a quick fix that I’ve found to be effective when I feel a slump in my energy level and the urge to take a nap starts coming on.
People tend to deal with these in one of three ways.
First, taking a nap– that sometimes works, but sometimes it just takes you more tired. And regardless, it takes time.
Second, consuming caffeine. This usually works, but it also usually amounts to kicking the can down the road. If it’s after noon or so, that caffeine is going to impair your sleep. Even caffeine taken first thing in the morning can affect your sleep that night if you consume enough of it, and are a slow metabolizer like me.
Also, caffeine tolerance starts setting in earlier than most people realize. Just consuming 100 mg a day is enough to get you addicted.
Third, there’s food. Usually sugary junk. This gives you a quick pick-me-up, but leads to a sugar crash a couple hours later. Like caffeine, it’s kicking the can down the road, except the crash comes a lot sooner. Plus there’s, you know, junk food being bad for your health in general.
So my solution is basically an combination of upgraded versions of all three of these approaches.
Here’s what to do when you feel tired during the day
Get some bacon. Four strips if you’re a small woman, six for larger women or smaller men, up to eight strips for bigger men. That’s assuming a typical American-sized bacon strip which usually has about four grams of protein.
Get a plate and some paper towels. Put two layers of paper towels on the plate, lay the strips over them, then put one more layer of paper towels on top of the bacon.
Microwave the bacon on high for a few minutes. How many minutes seems to vary with different microwaves, so start at three and work your way up until you find the right amount of time to cook the bacon without making it crispy.
While you’re waiting on the bacon, consume a gram of L-Tyrosine. This is an amino acid, and the main precursor to dopamine. It will increase the dopamine levels in your brain for a while, with no crash afterward because, unlike when you consume stimulants, this replenishes rather than depletes your brain’s supply of L-Tyrosine.
Note that phenylalanine, another amino acid, will also work. However tyrosine produces a faster and more noticeable effect, which is what we want here.
Now eat the bacon– a lot of the fat will have melted and soaked into the paper towels, so the fat content will be 1-2 grams lower per strip of bacon than what the package says.
Maaaaybe eat an apple or a handful of berries with the bacon. This small amount of slow-digesting carbs might help to stabilize your blood sugar levels, particularly if you’re on a reduced-carb but not ketogenic diet, and haven’t had any carbs in 5+ hours.
Drink 12-16 ounces of water with the pills and food.
Finally, after you’ve finished your snack, sit down, close your eyes, and meditate for about five minutes.
By the time you’re done meditating, the tyrosine and bacon should be kicking in and you should feel your energy level creeping back up. Stand up and stay on your feet for the next 15 minutes, at least, to encourage your brain to wake up.
That’s it. As you can see, all elements of this are better versions of what most people instinctively do when they feel tired.
The bacon is a healthier snack that will give you a more stable and lasting energy boost than sugar would. Tyrosine produces a smaller energy boost than caffeine, but there’s no crash and you won’t get over-stimulated. Meditating is faster and more reliable than a nap.
Additionally, the water lets you rule out dehydration as a cause of your low energy, and combined with the salt from the bacon it also lets you rule out over-hydration, so all your bases are covered. Finally, standing up is a simple brain hack for making yourself more alert.
I find this method works like a charm about 90% of the time. Give it a try next time you feel tired.