Ways to Have More Energy in the Mornings
Simple strategies that can give you more get-up-and-go in the morningiVillage June 2, 2011
In the Morning: Drink Up
By the time you get up, you’ve gone several hours without water and are mildly dehydrated—and that can make you feel tired,” says Nicole Kuhl, director of nutrition at LifeSpan medicine in Santa Monica, Calif. Another reason to reach for a beverage first thing? Drinking something will get your circulation going, which will energize you. Plain old H2O will do, or try this energizing quaff: Stir 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, one tablespoon minced ginger and two squeezes of lemon into a glass of water. For sweetness, add a little stevia
In the Morning: Break the Fast
“Breakfast is the one meal you have to have,” Kuhl says. It supplies glucose to the brain, revving it up for the day’s activities. Breakfast also helps stabilize blood sugar levels; if they’re low, you’ll feel fatigued. What type of food you eat, though, will depend on your body. While some people perk up with protein-based meals, others do better with a carb-based meal (think oatmeal). Experiment to see which type of breakfast satisfies you the most.
In the Morning: See the Light
One of your first activities after rising should be getting outside in natural light for 15 to 30 minutes. “Sunlight hits the pineal gland in your brain, which reduces melatonin production,” Finkelstein says. “As melatonin levels fall, you become more alert and awake.” Unfortunately, indoor light isn’t strong enough to cause this response, but if it’s storming or dark when you get up, use a light box, suggests Dr. Marks. As you go about your morning habits — reading the newspaper, brushing your teeth — turn on the box.
In the Morning: Escape into Nature
When people spent at least 20 minutes a day outdoors, they felt up to 20 percent more physically and mentally energetic than people who stayed indoors, according to a study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology. Researchers suspect that simply being in nature boosts vitality. Even a 10-minute walk in the park can pep you up.
In the Morning: Meditate
Even though your eyes are closed and you’re sitting still, meditation activates the brain. “It’s a powerful way to get blood flowing in the brain,” Dr. Finkelstein says, adding that 15 minutes is all you need. If possible, sit in front of a window where sunlight is streaming in.
In the Morning: Move It
Physical activity gets your blood flowing, giving you instant energy, Dr. Finkelstein says. Don’t think you have to run a marathon, though. Just a little activity—gardening, walking your dog or doing yoga or tai chi—counts. Take your activity outside and you’ll also reap the benefits of light and nature.
All Day: Curb the Caffeine
While that cup of joe can give revive you first thing in the morning and that cup of tea can get you through a midday slump, it can be easy to get too much of a good thing when it comes to caffeine. Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant that increases adrenaline production, explains Dr. Marks. Stick with no more than 200 to 300 milligrams per day, or about two to three cups of brewed coffee, and quit drinking it at least six hours before bedtime—or before noon if you’re super sensitive to caffeine
All Day: Can the Energy Drinks
Down one of these stimulant-loaded drinks and you’ll feel a surge of energy. But don’t let that rush fool you: “Most of these drinks have too many stimulating substances, which may lead to reactive low blood sugar and cause fatigue,” Kuhl says. Long term, overstimulating the nervous system can cause adrenal fatigue and eventually adrenal exhaustion, and if that happens, you’ll suffer fatigue around the clock. If you want a little stimulation, sip a cup of coffee or, better yet, green tea, which has less caffeine than coffee and is packed with disease-fighting antioxidants
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