10 Ways to Have More Energy
Manage Your Z's
To ensure you get enough rest, figure out your ideal bedtime. Breus suggests counting backward 7.5 hours from your normal wake-up time to determine it. "Most people need at least seven hours, but the average American sleeps only 6.9," says Breus, who also recommends taking a relaxing lavender bath before bed. "There's clear data showing that lying in a hot bath two hours before bed improves your ability to sleep," he says.
elizabethW Lavender Bath Salt, $24; dermstore.com
Be All That You Can Be
Take a cue from the front lines. This turbo-caffeinated gum (each piece has 100 milligrams of caffeine, 20 milligrams more than your typical cup of coffee) was developed by the Army to instantly improve alertness among soldiers (it's even part of their rations!). Clinical studies have shown it also boosts cognitive abilities and physical performance.
Stay Alert gum in Spearmint, $8; amazon.com.
Green Your Wake-Up Drink
Even though it has caffeine, "green tea won't give you the jitters like coffee can," says L.A. nutritionist Jonny Bowden, author of The 150 Most Effective Ways to Boost Your Energy. One explanation: "It contains theanine, an amino acid, which is very relaxing." Each bag has about 55 milligrams of caffeine; you'll still get less than the amount of what's in a cup of joe. (That's usually enough to ward off withdrawal headaches too.)
Yogi Green Tea Pure Green, $5/16 bags; shop.yogiproducts.com.
Nix the Empty Carbs
Experts say the key to maintaining consistent energy throughout the day is modulating your blood sugar. When you eat foods high in processed carbohydrates, your body floods your system with insulin, a hormone that triggers fat storage. Instead, Bowden says to fill your diet with high fiber and low-glycemic foods (non-starchy veggies, berries) and start meals with protein, "which stimulates your metabolism and makes you feel full longer."
See the Light
Want to avoid the afternoon slump? From 1 P.M. to 3 P.M., the body's core temp drops, sparking production of melatonin, which signals the body to sleep. Exposing yourself to direct light—via a walk outside or a blue-light machine-halts the process, says sleep expert Michael Breus.
Philips Golite Blu, $155; amazon.com.
Grab a "Nappuccino"
For those days when you're truly exhausted, Michael Breus recommends this guerrilla rehabilitation tactic: Pound a cup of tepid coffee and then close your eyes for 20 to 25 minutes. "By the time you wake up from your nap, the caffeine will just be hitting your bloodstream," says Breus.
Pop a Mint
Peppermint-smelling it or tasting it-stimulates the trigeminal nerve, which is connected to the part of the brain that induces wakefulness, explains Alan Hirsch, the founder and neurological director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation.
Altoids, $4/2 tins; drugstore.com.
Exercise On Your Schedule
Breus says that there are two types of people: those who are energized by working out and those who get more fatigued. It's important for your overall energy level to figure out which one you are," says Breus. If you feel more awake after a brisk jog, he advises exercising in the morning to boost your energy. Tired afterward? Schedule a workout in the early evening-it'll help you go to sleep.
Take a Breather
Looking to improve your office efficiency? Diffuse an invigorating scent (citrus or peppermint) into your workspace and you may be able to skip your coffee break. Jasmine-scented candles, lotions or perfumes can also help: While citrus and minty smells stimulate the trigeminal nerve, jasmine aromas increase beta waves, another factor that controls alertness, says Hirsch.
Spa Mist Aromatherapy Oil Diffuser, $40; target.com