It’s called beauty sleep for a reason, because a good night’s sleep really is the best anti-aging solution. But sometimes, whether we’ve skimped on sleep or our cycle’s just off track, we find ourselves drowsy by midday. In this article, we’ll uncover the perfect perk-me-ups…without reaching for that caffeine-laden latte.
1) Get a Move On
Exercise, even as brief as a short walk around the block, can start your blood pumping and recharge you. You’d be amazed at what a few good stretches or yoga moves like downward-facing dog can do to start energy-boosting oxygen flowing to all points of your body. Or why not make it even more fun! Pump up the volume and dance to your favorite song!
2) The Nap of Luxury
Sometimes a little power nap is just what you need to perk up. The key is to keep it short, sweet and early so you don’t interfere with tonight’s bedtime or you might find yourself even groggier than before the nap. Aim for 30 minutes or less, at least 6 hours before bedtime. And closing your eyes, or looking away from the computer screen, for even a little bit is also great for relieving eye strain.
3) Energy-Smart Snacking
That sugar and fat-laden candy bar you’re craving for a pick-me-up may do the job right away, but you’ll soon regret not just the calories, but also the imminent crash that follows. Forgo the Snickers plummet and reach for a healthier alternative that will boost, not sap your energy. Smart options offer a balanced mix of protein, fat and complex carbs like peanut butter on crisp apple slices or a Greek yogurt with fresh berries and nuts.
4) The Social Network
Get spry with a little help from your friends. There’s a reason they call it happy hour, but the social reverie doesn’t have to be limited to cocktail time. Dial up a good friend for a mood and mind-lifting heart-to-heart or even double up your wakeful boost and take your chat outdoors for a walk. Good conversation and a little laughter are always great to make you feel more lively.
5) Take a Deep Breath
Try The Stimulating Breath, a yogic breathing technique that will not only wake you up, but also clear your mind… and it only takes 15 seconds! The principle is that you breathe in and out very rapidly through your nose, with your mouth closed. Aim for three super-short breaths per second, with each inhalation and exhalation being of equal length. As you master the technique, you can gradually add five-second increments, up to one-minute maximum. Don’t overdo it your first time or you risk becoming lightheaded.
6) Bright Lights, Alert City
Brighten your prospects for staying alert with a spot of light. We’re not talking harsh fluorescents, but warm, not dim light. Natural daylight is best. When your bedtime becomes too erratic, your circadian rhythm, which controls your sleep cycle and your ability to sleep and wake in a timely fashion, can get out of sync. Natural daylight can help reset your circadian rhythm and even boost your mood.
7) The Hydration Equation
Dehydration can leave us feeling sluggish and sleepy. Drinking water throughout the day hydrates every cell in our bodies and just makes everything run better. And water really is like a natural miracle cure for so much of what ails us, including sleepiness. And as a bonus, drinking water can keep those food cravings at bay, keeping rumbly tummies feeling full.
8) Exercise your Brain
Menial mental tasks can take their toll, but brainy puzzles can actually be exhilarating, energizing both your mind and body. Try a Sudoku or a word game with a friend and get your neurons firing. Problem solving in a fun way can engage the mind to push past the drowsiest part of your afternoon.
9) Flip a Switch
Getting stuck on the same task all afternoon can sap energy faster than any power-draining app. Sometimes a fresh approach is all that’s needed for better mental stimulation. Try throwing a little variety into the mix by switching to a new task. Once you get your brain thinking in a different way, you just might find yourself with a renewed pep in your step.
10) Chew on This
Pop a stick of peppermint chewing gum and you may find you’re just a little more pert than you were a moment ago. Mint has aromatherapeutic properties that promote alertness and the act of chewing gum actually boosts oxygen to the brain. Another added benefit is that that chewing gum can suppress your need to graze, helping stave off a sugary snack that might make you crash later.