The cold weather has us stuck indoors more often, leaving us tired and foggy. Thankfully, these study-backed tips can help you reclaim your energy and bounce back fast!
Dodge a slump with a splash of red.
If you’re feeling foggy and out of sorts,Throw on a red scarf or switch to using a red pen at the office. University of Rochester researchers say a bold, ruby hue increases your energy by 31 percent by stimulating an area of the brain that reverses tiredness and encourages alertness.
To ease grogginess fast, gaze at a cherished family photo. Stanford researchers say positive images encourage the release of a revitalizing brain chemical that perks you up in just 60 seconds.
Swap your spuds.
Savor 1⁄2 cup of sweet potato home fries with your scrambled eggs, and you’ll send your energy soaring. Yale University researchers explain that the betacarotene in sweet potatoes spurs the production of energizing hormones. The result: You’ll increase your vim and vigor by 55 percent!
Sharpen focus by stretching.
As your brain funnels energy into adapting to the colder weather, it’s no wonder you feel like you’re not firing on all cylinders. But carving out 25 minutes a day for simple stretches or yoga poses sharpens your ability to plan and complete tasks by 65 percent and ups your energy by 51 percent, according to a study in the journal Mindfulness. Researchers credit the gentle moves with increasing blood flow to the brain to nourish nerve cells so they can function at their peak.
Try this essential oil.
To boost alertness in as little as one minute, slowly breathe in the earthy scent of frankincense essential oil. Canadian scientists say unique compounds in the oil called boswellic acids activate the focus center of the brain.
Take a bedtime bath.
If you feel tired first thing in the morning, you’re likely not getting enough deep sleep — something that can be disrupted for as long as a week after turning back the clocks. To snooze more soundly and awake refreshed, relax in a warm bath one hour before bed. A new study in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews found that doing so helps you fall asleep 10 minutes faster and spend significantly less time tossing and turning overnight.
Sip passionflower tea.
Cozying up with a big mug of passionflower tea in the evening helps you sleep through the night as effectively as Valium, German scientists say. The phytonutrients in the herbal brew slow the production of snooze-sapping hormones.
Curb stress fatigue with a soothing playlist.
A disrupted sleep schedule sends levels of the stress hormone cortisol soaring, which in turn depletes your energy. To tame anxiety and put the pep back in your step, cue up a relaxing song, like “Weightless” by Marconi Union. New research out of the University of Pennsylvania found that calming music eases stress as effectively as anti-anxiety medications.
Ease energy-sapping stomachaches with cardamom.
When your body clock is off balance, it can cause stomach upset. But Canadian scientists say chewing three cardamom pods (like you’d chew gum) calms the nervous system and releases digestive enzymes that soothe pain now, plus cut your risk of future stomachaches by 55 percent if you munch them regularly.
Applying a hot-water bottle for 10 minutes spurs the production of digestive enzymes that relax stomach cramps.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.