Can you boost energy without caffeine? For many of us, it’s hard to imagine what life would be like without caffeine. We love our coffee and energy drinks, yet we still feel tired all the time. How can that be?
Our cells produce a molecule called adenosine. Adenosine serves a variety of functions in the body. But particularly in the brain, it acts as a depressant to the central nervous system. This can cause that drowsy, tired feeling. As it turns out, caffeine is structurally similar to adenosine. It can bind to adenosine receptors in the brain, which blocks adenosine from attaching. Instead of slowing the cells, it actually increases the activity of the cell. Your heart starts beating fast and you may feel a little jittery. It increases the neuron firing, which gets us into this flight or fight a phenomenon.
In the moment, when you need energy, this can be a good thing. But there are some downsides. For one, it can interrupt your sleep.
The half-life of caffeine is about six hours, which can be good or bad depending on how you look at it. If you have 200mg of caffeine at 3:00 PM, that means around 9:00 PM, you’d still have about a hundred milligrams left. While you might still be able to go to sleep. This can actually deter your ability to get into deep sleep. But it’s during that deep sleep when we get a lot of recovery.
What can you do to feel more energized without coffee or energy drinks? Turns out, the answer you’ve been looking for is right underneath your skin.
Tapping into better blood flow for more energy
Blood flow can be a major source of energy throughout your day. But blood flow “ebbs and flows” and a lack of healthy blood flow can actually make you feel less energetic. That’s where molecules like Nitric Oxide come into play. Nitric Oxide is a molecule produced in our bodies. It dilates our blood vessels, helping to improve blood flow throughout the body. This includes the brain, the heart and the muscles.
With that blood flow, you’re getting a more natural energy boost that isn’t “tricking” your adenosine receptors. It’s shuttling nutrients and oxygen to the cells, organs and muscles, facilitating the functions in your body. Even though you may not feel blood flow, you’ll notice it when you’re engaging in activity or when it actually matters the most.
While coffee and energy drinks give you that jolt, it’s blood flow that gives you that natural feeling energy throughout your day.