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5 Simple Switches That Can Give You More Energy

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Getty Images / Tim Robberts

It’s 2 p.m. and you know what’s coming: The dreaded afternoon slump is about to set in, but you aren’t ready to pack it in for the day. Even although alertness and focus can naturally ebb, a few simple tricks can help fight those sluggish feelings and leave you feeling ready to take on whatever comes your way. Here are five ways to keep those energy levels high from the moment you wake up all through the afternoon:

Don’t hit snooze.

Although it’s tempting to grab a few more moments of sleep, stay away from the snooze button, sleep experts advise. As enticing as those extra minutes seem, their poor sleep quality won’t make you feel more rested, a Sleep Health study indicated. The better option for easier wakeups: Getting the recommended eight hours per night by going to bed and getting up at consistent times every day (including weekends).

Get more light in the morning.

For an a.m. jumpstart sans caffeine, leave your curtains open. The natural morning light will cue your circadian rhythm (a.k.a. your body’s inner clock) that’s time to get up and feel more alert. If your bedroom lacks big windows, try a sunrise alarm clock, which will gradually glow brighter when it’s time to get moving.

Change up your snacks.

Get longer-lasting energy throughout the day by choosing foods with a low-glycemic index, which your body digests more slowly for sustained fuel. Pick snacks high in protein, fiber or both. Greek yogurt, hummus, carrots, nuts and whole grains like oatmeal hit the mark. Don’t forget to space out your snacks between meals. Eating every three to four hours will keep your energy levels up. (That means don’t skip breakfast!)

Get moving.

Instead of taking a 20-minute nap, try taking a 20-minute walk when you’re feeling sluggish. Not only does exercising improve your sleep quality at night, but moving around will also make you feel more alert immediately afterward. In addition to giving your cells more energy and circulating oxygen, the activity also prompts the release of energizing hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine, according to Harvard Medical School. Doing so regularly may pay even greater dividends: Exercising consistently generally increased energy levels by 20 percent, a University of Georgia study found.

Drink more water.

Dehydration can make you feel especially lethargic, so reach for some H2O to stave off tiredness. A word for the wise: Avoid drinking caffeinated or alcoholic beverages in the evenings, too. They can interfere with your nighttime sleep quality and leave you feeling less than rested the next day.

Write down your to-dos.

Stress can also sap away energy, so take a load off. In addition to mindfulness exercises and other stress-relieving measures, free up some brainpower by writing down what you need to do instead of mentally juggling all of the chores, errands and reminders on your brain.

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