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Tired All the Time? Here’s How You Can Boost Energy Without Caffeine

Whether it’s water, vitamins, herbs or acupressure massage, here are the safe and natural ways to boost energy when you’re tired all the time.

A female doctor sitting on her work desk while yawning and holding a cup of coffee in one hand.

Do you feel tired and need a boost of energy all the time? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. According to the National Health Service (NHS), constant exhaustion is such a common symptom in many patients that the condition has its acronym — TATT — , which is short for “Tired All the Time.”  

This has led many people to depend on coffee or energy drinks, which contain caffeine. In fact, caffeine has been dubbed “the world’s most widely consumed legal psychoactive drug.” Just like some types of drugs, caffeine can cause addiction, although it’s rare to overdose from it. Even so, there have been cases of death related to the overconsumption of energy drinks. 

So how can you beat fatigue and increase productivity safely? Read along as we explore the causes of fatigue and learn about ways to boost energy naturally, based on Western medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

A female doctor sitting on her work desk while yawning and holding a cup of coffee in one hand.
Do you need caffeine to boost energy?

Causes of Fatigue 

An increasing number of people are exhausted easily these days. Late nights and busy schedules have caused them to have decreased sleep at night to meet the demands of work and life.

At times, exhaustion may appear without explanation. It may go on for long periods of time and not be relieved by sleep. When the tiredness gets too overwhelming, it is referred to as fatigue, and it may be a symptom of an underlying health condition. Here are 10 reasons you might feel fatigue: 


Fatigue can come from a lack of iron in the blood.

Sleep apnoea/snoring 

When someone has sleep apnoea, they will find it hard to breathe while resting. As a result, they wake up often during the night and feel tired in the day. 

Underactive thyroid 

When the body has too little thyroid hormone, it will feel tired easily. 

Coeliac disease 

Being tired is one of the symptoms of coeliac disease, caused by the immune system’s negative reaction to gluten. 

Chronic fatigue syndrome 

A long-term illness signified by extreme tiredness, chronic fatigue syndrome sometimes goes undetected. 


Exhaustion is a symptom of type 1 and 2 diabetes. 

Glandular fever 

This common viral infection also results in fatigue. 


Depression can suck your energy out of you and keep you awake at night, making you feel tired constantly. 

Restless legs syndrome 

A type of sleep disorder, this syndrome disrupts your rest. The poorer the sleep quality, the more tired you get. 


Unlike depression, this mental disorder takes a toll on your energy. 

A woman sleeping with her mouth open
Snoring may be the reason why you are tired and need to boost energy.

Fatigue According to TCM 

From TCM’s perspective, these three things may lead to fatigue: 

Weak Spleen and Kidneys 

In TCM, the Spleen turns the food you eat into nutrients for the body. Meanwhile, the Kidneys manage growth and general well-being, as they are thought to be the organs generating qi (vital energy).


Too much work can drain you physically and mentally. 

Unbalanced diet 

Consuming an unhealthy, unbalanced diet can harm your digestive system. 

Together, the three factors above can deplete your yin, yang, qi and blood, resulting in fatigue. 

How to Boost Energy Naturally 

Besides sleeping, there are some activities you can do to help you gain energy: 

Eat often 

Instead of consuming big meals a few times a day, eating and snacking regularly every three to four hours is recommended. Furthermore, TCM suggests avoiding cold drinks as well as fried and oily food. 


Working out can give you more energy and make you lose any excess weight in the long run. Moreover, it can help to ease the mind and reduce stress. 

Schedule a therapy session 

Other than exercise, you can eliminate stress, depression and anxiety by talking it out with a trusted therapist.

Drink water 

Sometimes dehydration causes fatigue. Choose water, and not caffeine or alcohol, to keep yourself hydrated. 

Supplements to Boost Energy  

These vitamins can increase energy: 

Vitamins B6, B9 and B12 

To deliver oxygen, the body requires vitamins B6, B9 and B12. Not having enough of the three vitamins can lead to anaemia.


Thanks to its neurological and neuromuscular functions, magnesium is known to fight the effects of fatigue and lethargy.

Vitamin D 

A lack of vitamin D has been known to cause fatigue, weakness, depression, and impaired cognitive performance, among others. 

TCM Remedies to Boost Energy  

Western medicine can sometimes be combined with TCM treatments for a better result. TCM physicians can prescribe herbs, tuina massage or cupping to fight fatigue, depending on how the condition affects the body. 

These herbs have been used to treat tiredness: 

American ginseng (xi yang shen, 西洋参) 

Cancer patients widely use this herb to improve fatigue. 

Ling zhi (灵芝) 

The mushroom contains a component that enhances immunity. 

Chinese wolfberry (gou qi, 枸杞) 

A great source of antioxidants, Chinese wolfberry or goji berry benefits the eyes and reduces anxiety. 

A small bowl of goji berries surrounded by pieces of scattered goji berries.
Goji berry (gou qi, 枸杞) is one TCM ingredient used to boost energy.

Wild Chinese yam (shan yao, 山药) 

The herb has been proven helpful in aiding the digestion system. 


In some cases, TCM physicians may recommend acupuncture to relieve exhaustion. Alternatively, you can massage these acupoints yourself 20 to 30 times a day: 

He Gu (L14, 禾谷) 

Located between the base of the thumb and index finger. It is said to strengthen qi and immunity. 

Bai Hui (GV20, 百会) 

Located at the top of the head in the centre. It is believed to enhance mental functions, settle the nerves and stimulate the qi.

Many rely on caffeine to boost energy because it is fast and convenient. However, you now know that there are plenty of other quick solutions to beat fatigue, whether by healthy snacking, exercising, drinking water or taking vitamins. To ensure better effectiveness, you can combine them with TCM remedies.

All in all, there’s nothing like a good night’s sleep to boost your energy, so no matter how busy you are, always remember to get enough snooze. 

This is an adaptation of an article, “How to Boost Energy if You Always Feel Tired”, which first appeared on Eu Yan Sang website. 

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