Have More Energy All Day Long
JULY 28, 2013Lauren Russell, Daily Mail7 a.m.: The Morning Fog
You would think that if there were one time you'd feel naturally alert and energized, it would be after 8 hours of resting and recharging. Instead, your mind is mush. Why? Blame a phenomenon called "sleep inertia." When you first awaken, the parts of your brain associated with consciousness—the thalamus and brain stem—begin firing right away. But the prefrontal cortex, which handles problem solving and complex thought, is like a cold engine—it needs time to warm up.
Fill it up. Make your morning meal a bowl of instant oatmeal prepared with skim milk. Tufts University researchers recently found that people who ate one packet of instant oatmeal spiked with 1/2 cup of skim milk received a steady glucose infusion, which increased their alertness all morning and improved their ability to process information. And if you aren't already jolting yourself with java, start; a University of Pennsylvania study shows that a dose of caffeine can combat sleep inertia.
3 p.m.: The Afternoon Slump
Deep down inside, you're a conflicted man. In one corner, there's your body clock, a.k.a. your circadian clock, which fights to keep you awake until bedtime. In the other corner, there's your homeostatic system, which competes to make you sleepy. And every day, between approximately 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., the homeostatic system tries to score a knockout. "We think the afternoon dip in alertness occurs because the drive from the circadian clock to stay awake is not yet strong enough to cancel out the sleep drive caused by having been awake for half the day," says Wright.
Expose yourself. As in, give yourself a shot of sunlight. The sun's rays will provide a boost to your circadian clock that should solve your afternoon slump—if you time things right. "The key is adequate exposure to sunlight very quickly after you wake up in the morning," says Michael Terman, a professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University medical center. "As you move into the middle of the day, the same amount of light exposure doesn't affect the circadian clock at all."Read more: Fox News