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Bad Sleep? 4 Hacks to Boost Energy and Feel Great

Everyone struggles with a bad night's sleep on occasion, but life still goes on. Here are some of my favourite hacks to help boost your energy even when you’re feeling tired.
Feb 1, 2023 | Joy McCarthy

No matter how much we make sleep hygiene a priority, it’s inevitable that from time to time, we will struggle the next day because we had a bad night’s sleep. Life still goes on even though we are tired and for most of us, taking an afternoon nap isn’t an option. In fact, a Harvard study found that people with insomnia lost an estimated 11 days of productivity per year and who has time for that?

Here are some of my favourite hacks to help boost your energy even when you’re feeling tired. Try one or all of the suggestions below to help you feel energized and joyous, whether you’ve had a full night’s sleep or not!

1. Get Some Sunshine First Thing In The Morning


After a poor night’s sleep, it’s likely you’re feeling tired and maybe even a bit stressed or anxious. One of my favourite ways to boost my mood, lower stress, and reset my circadian rhythm is to get outside first thing in the morning, before 10am, to get some sunshine.

Not only will the sunlight help wake you up so you can feel focused and productive, it will also encourage your body to fall asleep earlier. What a great way to help you catch up on your missed Zs!

If you want some more inspo on how to regulate your circadian rhythm using natural sunlight, this Joyous Health podcast episode has you covered!

2. Nourish Your Body Right

Unless you practice intermittent fasting, a great way to set yourself up for a productive day after a night of not so joyous sleep is to have a nourishing breakfast that contains a balanced combination of protein, healthy fats, fibre, and complex carbohydrates.

Lack of sleep can mess with your fullness (leptin) and hunger (ghrelin) signalling hormones and increase your cravings for sugars and carbs. Getting onto the blood sugar rollercoaster throughout the day will make it even harder to stay productive as your energy levels spike and crash. That’s why eating a filling, savoury breakfast to balance your blood sugar will help you stay focused all day long!

Try enjoying something yummy like this Broccoli Sweet Potato Feta Frittata, toast with almond butter and hemp hearts, or a delicious smoothie like this Simple Green Smoothie or this kid-approved Celery Blueberry Smoothie.

Celery Blueberry Smoothie

If you wake up not feeling hungry, it may be due to eating too late at night or low stomach acid. Don’t force yourself to eat if the reason you’re not hungry is that you ate late. Instead, start your day with some freshly squeezed lemon in water, which can help to stimulate digestive juices like stomach acid or some apple cider vinegar in water.

3. Move your Body for a Better Mood

If you’re feeling tired, high intensity exercise is probably not the best choice. Instead, walking is a wonderful form of movement to increase your energy and improve your mood. Try getting outside in nature, even for a 10-minute walk, doing some yoga or stretching, or another gentle activity that you enjoy. The natural boost to your energy will help you feel more alert almost immediately!


4. Try Natural Health Supplements

Sometimes when we’ve had a poor night’s sleep, taking some natural supplements can give our bodies the boost they need to get through the day.

  • B vitamins. These are a great choice since they are cofactors in energy production and brain function, which can give you that little extra support you need when you’re feeling groggy. It's not a magic pill so be sure to take them daily and you'll likely notice a difference in your energy if you were deficient within a week or two. Make sure you take a complex supplement since B vitamins work together synergistically unless you've got a specific deficiency that would warrant taking single nutrients. Lastly, methylated B vitamins are more readily absorbed in the digestive system since they are activated. AOR has a great B Complex Vitamin supplement.
  • Maca. This is one of my favourite natural adaptogens that supports energy production and tastes great in everything from hot chocolate to freezer fudge!
  • Magnesium. This is your most potent anti-stress mineral and gets depleted during times of stress. Magnesium is a mineral that relaxes the body. It relaxes muscles, supports the central nervous system, reduces cortisol and improves sleep quality among many other benefits. The best form to take for those benefits I just mentioned is magnesium bisglycinate. It's the most absorbable form and well tolerated (won't give you loose stools). CanPrev has a great magnesium supplement. Want to learn more about magnesium? Check out this amazing episode with naturopathic Dr. Barb.

If you want to incorporate other beneficial adaptogens into your daily routine to give you long-term support, try enjoying a cup of Rise & Shine Tea. It includes the powerful adaptogen Holy Basil (tulsi) and you can enjoy it as is or whip up my favourite latte. The soothing herbs and spices are sure to perk you up when you need a little extra energy. Learn more about some of my favourite adaptogens and how to use them in this post.

Matcha. When I'm feeling tired I love having a matcha latte in the morning for a little boost. It contains some caffiene but not too much for me, and a source of L-theanine which is naturally occurring amino acid in matcha that enhances focus and counterbalances the effect of the caffeine. You can get L-theanine in supplement form too.

What To Do If You’re Regularly Struggling To Sleep Well?

I don’t recommend reaching for sleep medications if you’re having trouble falling and staying asleep. That’s because about 80% of people who take them report residual side effects such as feeling groggy, oversleeping, and having trouble focusing the next day. These effects are definitely not going to set you up to be your most joyous self!

If you regularly struggle to fall asleep, I suggest building your own nightly wind down routine. This routine can include reducing your exposure to blue light after sunset, taking some time to relax with a book or a bath, and brewing up a cup of my favourite TLC Herbal Tea, you can even turn into a comforting tea latte!

It’s loaded with herbs that function as nervine tonics, which are a class of herbs that have nourishing and balancing actions on the nervous system. Many nervine tonics have a fast-acting effect on the body. This means that you can take them when you’re experiencing symptoms of stress or anxiety and get relief relatively quickly, so they’re great to sip on at the end of a busy day to help you unwind for deep rest. You can learn more about my favourite herbs for stress relief and relaxation here.

The best thing about all of these hacks is that even if you’re getting a great night’s sleep, incorporating them into your life is sure to improve your energy and help you feel good. The more often you work them into your routine, the more regulated your circadian rhythm and energy levels will be, which means increased productivity and a life full of joy!

Xo Joy


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