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How to Boost Your Body's Energy All Day


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By Jennifer Cook Consumer Reports

February 16, 2017


....“Stress, poor diet, poor-quality sleep, lack of exercise, and limited bright-light exposure during the day can all contribute to fatigue,” says Shelby F. Harris, Psy.D., director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at the Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.

....See your doctor if you have other symptoms—such as unexplained weight gain or loss, fever, shortness of breath, morning headaches, or difficulty concentrating—or you recently started a new medication. Otherwise, give these seven strategies a try for a month to see whether your energy levels reboot.

In the Morning

Let the sunshine in. The brain makes melatonin, the hormone that causes sleepiness, when it’s dark. Morning light helps stop the production of melatonin, Harris says. Upon awakening, open the curtains or shades, sit by a window while you eat breakfast (even if it’s cloudy outdoors), or take a morning walk. And continue to expose yourself to light during the day to keep your body’s sleep-wake cycle synchronized. This helps combat daytime sleepiness and promotes better nighttime shut-eye.

Take a "drink" break. Even mild dehydration can zap energy, memory, and attention, according to a 2016 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Older adults may have a tougher time staying hydrated, in part because the mechanism that triggers thirst may become less efficient with age. To compensate, make it a point to drink at regular intervals throughout the day, beginning in the morning. Coffee and tea count (they have only a mild diuretic effect, if any), as do foods with a high water content, such as soup and most fruits and vegetables.

In the Afternoon

Get moving. It seems counter­intuitive, but physical activity is a powerful antidote for fatigue. And it doesn’t have to be strenuous. In a small University of Georgia study, couch potatoes who engaged in a 20-minute low-intensity aerobic exercise routine three times per week for six weeks reduced their fatigue by 65 percent. Those who engaged in moderate-intensity exercise lowered it by 49 percent.

Stop sipping coffee and tea. Because of their caffeine, both are great pick-me-ups. But it’s a good idea to limit these stimulants to 400 mg per day (about two to four 8-ounce cups) and taper off by late afternoon. Caffeine can disrupt sleep when it’s consumed even 6 hours before bedtime. 


In the Evening

Power down. Dim the lights, switch off the TV, and put away smartphones, tablets, and computers at least an hour before bedtime. This will trigger your brain to start producing melatonin.

Make over your bedtime habits. ....To get the 7 to 9 hours of slumber you need to restore body and mind, improve your sleep hygiene. Keep your bedroom dark, use your bed only for sex and sleep (no pets allowed), and stick with a regular sleep schedule.

Address your stress. ....Harris recommends listening to a meditation or relaxation app before bed. “Mindful meditation quiets your mind, so your brain isn’t hijacked by anxious or racing thoughts of the day or by what has to be done in the future,” she says. “It centers you and helps set the stage for sleep.”

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

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