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11 Ways to Keep Energy Levels High All-Day

Update Date: Aug 27, 2014 04:24 PM EDT
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As the day goes on, energy levels start to dip. Since afternoon naps might not be an option for many adults, they have to find other means of staying alert. Instead of turning to energy drinks and espresso shots, here are 11 ways people can follow to keep energy levels relatively high throughout the day.

1. Pull Up the Shades Immediately

When people wake up in the morning, they should always pull up the shades first. Natural sunlight can help shift the body's circadian rhythm and make people feel alert and awake. Sunlight works by stimulating cells in the eyes that signal the brain to wake up. Throughout the day, seeking out sunlight, whether it is a short walk outside of the office or standing next the window, can help boost alertness.

2. Eat a Protein-Packed Breakfast

Even though several studies have dispelled the myth that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, eating a protein-packed breakfast, especially for people who are used to eating this first meal of the day, can help with energy levels.

"You can make and eat a fatigue-beating breakfast in five minutes, which is probably all the time you'll have on a morning when you're tired and have slept in as late as possible," stated registered dietitian Elizabeth Somer according to MSN. Some of Somer's breakfast recommendations include whole-grain toast with peanut butter and banana, and whole-grain cereal with low-fat or skim milk and fruit.

3. Stay hydrated

Keeping the body hydrated throughout the day can prevent the body from feeling sluggish and fatigued. Since the body is primarily made up of water, once water is depleted, the body could stat to react negatively. When drinking water, people should remember to sip not gulp. When people drink a lot of water quickly, the kidneys end up filtering it out of the bloodstream before it can be absorbed.

4. Drink Coffee Slowly

For a lot of people, coffee is the key to waking up in the morning. However, when people drink coffee too fast, the effects of the caffeine will diminish by midday, causing a loss of energy. Instead of finishing that cup in under an hour, people can sip on their coffee throughout the day. Roughly six to eight sips every hour can prevent an afternoon slump.

"Caffeine blocks adenosine, a sleep-inducing brain chemical that accumulates throughout the day," explained James K. Wyatt, Ph.D., a sleep specialist from Rush University Medical Center located in Chicago, IL. "If you drink all your coffee first thing in the morning, the boost will wear off just when you need it most."

5. Opt for Green or White Tea

Green and white tea contains high levels of an amino acid called I-theanine. This amino acid can make the body feel relaxed but still alert. For people who need a midday booster and already had coffee, opting for green or white tea can help improve their energy levels.

6. Snack Smart

Despite following these tips, energy levels will inevitably dip for some people. In order to increase these levels, people can turn to healthy snacks. Pick up a fruit and some form of protein to boost energy levels. Do not reach for candy or soda, which will cause a short spike in energy followed by a crash.

7. "Lunch" Smart

Another way to keep energy levels high is to eat a healthy lunch. Instead of eating a greasy slice of pizza, a burger or fried chicken, people should focus on eating a meal that is lower in fat. Fat has been tied to making people feel sleepier. Healthier meals include lean protein, fruits, vegetables and something with whole-grain in it.

8. Go on a Walk

Many office jobs require people to sit in front of a computer from 9am to 6pm. Sitting all day can make people feel lethargic. To combat that sluggish feeling, people should go on a leisurely stroll whenever possible. Any form of exercise can boost chemicals such as dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin, which can increase brain energy levels. Furthermore, walking outdoors where there is sunlight can also give people energy.

9. Take a Nap

For people who have the luxury of a private office, close the door and take a quick nap. Studies have found that a nap lasting from 15 to 30 minutes can help the brain recover and feel rejuvenated. However, people must remember to set their alarm clocks. Sleeping too long can make it harder to wake up and make your mind feel groggy.

"Keep your nap short and you'll get all the benefits of early-stage sleep, which fine-tunes your alertness, improves dexterity, and refreshes you," stated Sara Mednick, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of California, San Diego.

10. Use a Wake-up Spritz

Another method that people can use to stay awake is washing their face with cold water. The cooling sensation can trigger the body and mind into feeling more awake. For people who wear makeup and do not want to mess it up, dabbing cold water around the neck area can have similar effects.

11. Skip the Chores and Sleep Early

The key to feeling alert and awake is to have a full night's rest. People who sleep the recommended seven to nine hours per night feel better when they wake up in comparison to people who sleep less. If chores take up too much time at night, consider changing up your chores schedule so that you do not lose out on sleep. For example, do laundry on days where you have extra time, such as the weekends as opposed to the weekdays.

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