New Secrets for All-Day Energy
You know all about the power of caffeine. But what else can help keep you going strong all day long?
We sifted through the latest research on fatigue and pulled out some of the easiest ways to fight the rundown feeling. Get ready to wake up refreshed and recharged, remain alert throughout the day, and wind down just in time for a good night's sleep.
Lighten up when you wake up. Aim for 30 minutes of light first thing, even on a Saturday when you've decided to sleep in (though it's best to keep a steady wake-up time). Try a half-hour stroll outdoors, or have your breakfast by a sunny window. If your schedule requires you to rise when it's dark outside, crank up the lights indoors—every little bit may help.
Keep carbs in balance. Although they can provide a burst of "quick burn" fuel, carbohydrates are an energy drain if you consume too many. In recent research, women who reduced the amount of carbs and raised the amount of protein in their diets reported feeling more energetic. Try to keep your daily intake of healthy carbs below 150 grams, best apportioned like this: five servings of vegetables; two servings of fruit; and three or four servings of starchy (preferably whole grain) carbs such as bread, rice, pasta, and cereal.
Beat an afternoon slump. Just as it does in the early morning, light later in the day may blunt an afternoon energy dip. Step outside into revitalizing sunlight for a short walk. If you can't get outside, plant yourself next to a window, open the shades wide, and look out. You can also fake it by bringing flowers or plants into your indoor space. Texas A&M researchers found that volunteers who kept a vase of vibrant flowers on their desks, along with green plants elsewhere in the office, generated more creative ideas than those in a vegetation-free setting.
Cue up your iPod. One study found that employees who donned headphones while they worked were 10 percent more productive than those who didn't.
Ease into sleep. Instead of checking Facebook status updates, try reading a book. Studies show that bright light increases brain activity, so it's not a stretch to see that light emitted by a computer monitor late at night can confuse your body's sleep-wake cycle. Log off at least an hour before bed. What about winding down by watching TV instead? Experts say most people sit far enough away (at least 15 feet) from the screen to be unaffected by its brightness. Better yet, read a book or magazine. Just make sure the light you use doesn't exceed 60 watts—save the bright light for tomorrow morning.
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