Does your battery drain quicker than the one in your smart phone? If you’re already on your third cup of coffee and it’s not even 10am, something’s got to change. Follow these 24/7 strategies to keep humming all day long.
7am: Get Up As Soon As The Alarm Goes Off
Throw open the shades and turn on all the lights. Sunlight helps shift circadian rhythms from sleepy to sprightly. Our eyes are especially sensitive to this visual cue when our pupils are still somewhat dilated from sleep, according to researchers at the Center for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms at Columbia University Medical Center.
7:10am: Start With Exercise
A 30-minute workout will help long past the morning hours. “People who exercise in the morning tend to have more energy, more focus and less anxiety throughout the entire day,” said Robert Steigerwald, an exercise physiologist and personal trainer in Huntington. If there isn’t time for a full workout, just five minutes of aerobic activity can bring oxygen to the muscles, putting more pep in your step. Try jumping rope or count off a few jumping jacks.
8am: Fuel up With Breakfast
Go for a mix of complex carbs, lean protein and a little healthy fat. Eggs are a particularly good choice as they have choline, which helps boost brainpower, said Marlo Mittler, RD, a nutritionist in Great Neck. Try a scrambled egg on whole-wheat toast with a slice of avocado.
10am: Take a Drink
Dehydration is a major factor when it comes to fatigue. If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Drink throughout the day to avoid that state altogether. Keep a glass at your desk with a straw in it, which will make you drink more, Mittler recommended. Add a little zing with slices of lemon, lime or cucumber.
12:30pm: Eat a Healthy Lunch
Avoid the pasta salad. Mittler warned refined carbs will provide a boost of quick energy, but because they take no time to digest, blood sugar will take a deep dive quickly and your head will be falling on your desk in no time. Instead, make a salad with a variety of colored vegetables topped off with some protein, like grilled shrimp, diced avocado and a few slices of cheese. “Dairy products contain certain amino acids which serve as the building blocks for our muscles to help fight fatigue,” Mittler said.
1pm: Head out for a Power Walk
It doesn’t need to be long, a 10-minute walk can do the trick. Sunshine helps boost levels of vitamin D and a study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism suggests that plenty of vitamin D can help keep energy levels up all day. If it’s a crummy day outside, simply walk around the office. “Walking forces you to take deep breaths, getting more oxygen to the brain,” said Steigerwald. “It also helps to push the blood throughout your body, which will wake you up.”
2pm: Pop a Piece Of Gum
The repetitive, rhythmic action can help with focus. In a study published in the International Society of Behavioral Medicine, subjects performed four different tasks at once, including math and memory problems, and found that alertness increased significantly when they chewed gum.
3pm: Eat a Healthy Snack
Step away from the vending machine! High-fat, sugary snacks will lead to exhaustion and crankiness within an hour. Instead of the sweet stuff, choose something nourishing like carrots and hummus, trail mix or almonds and dried berries with a little dark chocolate. Make sure to eat something every three to four hours to keep blood sugar from dropping.
4pm: Practice Posture
Balance a book on top of your head. Slouching compresses the lungs, depriving the body of oxygen and creating lethargy. An added bonus: catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and see how silly you look. Laughter is a natural pick-me-up.
6pm: Indulge in a Few Carbs
Carbohydrates help manufacture the brain chemical serotonin, which relaxes you. For the longest lasting effect, choose complex carbs like whole grains, which take longer to digest. Try 6oz of salmon, spinach and brown or even white rice for dinner.
9pm: Put Away the Gadgets
As tempting as it is to check email well into the night, the blue light emitted by cell phones, computers and tablets suppress the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls the sleep/ wake cycle. Put all the electronics away at least one hour before lights out to be well rested and more energetic tomorrow.