10 ways to find more energySkip the Red Bull. Step away from the 5-Hour Energy. We'll show you the smartest ways to power up when your reserves are running low
Need An Energy Fix?
This Halloween, try out a really original costume: You, dressed as a man who's rested, refreshed, and bursting with energy. Trust us--no one will ever recognize you.
Ah, if it were only that simple. But there's no disguising the fact that fall is the sleepy season, thanks to the effect of diminishing daylight hours on your body. As the sun sets earlier and earlier each day, your levels of sleep-inducing melatonin begin rising sooner, says John Caldwell, Ph.D., a psychologist who has researched fatigue for NASA and the U.S. military. This can make you feel drowsy well before bedtime. Add to that the usual daily dose of work stress, a less-than-perfect diet, a chronic shortage of shut-eye, and hours gazing at glowing touchscreens, and it's a wonder you're not facedown at your desk by noon.
If that's the trick, here's the treat: simple, expert-approved strategies to help you power through your day. Just try to keep your eyes open long enough to follow our list, and you'll find the solution best suited to your type of tired. Plus, check out our Top Sleep Tech Gadgets to help you sleep better and longer.
Energy Drain 1
You might be paying penance for too much pinot noir--or you might just be suffering from something called sleep inertia. This grogginess and disorientation you experience upon waking--which is especially severe if your alarm has interrupted deep sleep--can be as crippling as intoxication, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. That's because your barely awake brain needs time to reboot and bring its signals back up to speed after sleep. "It will probably take you 30 to 45 minutes to shake off the grogginess," says Caldwell.
Fight it: Drink cold water
Chugging ice water and splashing it on your face can speed the transition from comatose to conscious. "Cold triggers the stimulating hormone adrenaline," says internist Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., the author of From Fatigued to Fantastic! This helps your heart pump stronger, boosting bloodflow to your brain. Another benefit: Drinking water revives shriveled cells after hours of sleep-induced dehydration, which is known to cause tiredness. (And load up on The Food That Fights Fatigue.)
Energy Drain 2
Your body responds to serious work and relationship stress the same way it would to a grizzly attac--by cranking out the fight-or-flight hormone cortisol. "This raises energy levels initially, but your body can't keep up with the cortisol demand," says integrative physician Alicia Stanton, M.D., the author of Hormone Harmony. The effect: Your cortisol plummets--and you tank just when you need to be on top of your game.
Fight it: Drink green tea
Don't drain the coffeepot. The megadose of caffeine will only leave you anxious and jittery, says nutritionist Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S., author of The 150 Most Effective Ways to Boost Your Energy. Green tea, however, has just enough caffeine to boost production of the hormone adrenocorticotropin, which triggers the release of cortisol. It also contains EGCG, a flavonoid that promotes focus and calmness, Australian scientists say. To achieve Don Draper smoothness, grab a glass about 90 minutes before you need it to kick in. "Green tea takes longer to hit than coffee does," says Bowden.
Green tea is just one of the 40 Foods with Superpowers.
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