We’ve all had those days where we feel super tired and foggy. Thankfully, these study-backed tips for how to get more energy will help you bounce back in a jiff.
1. Integrate the Color Red Into Your Day
A quick fix for a case of the groggies? Throw on a red scarf or switch to using a red pen at the office. University of Rochester researchers say a bold, ruby hue can increase your energy by 31 percent, as it stimulates an area of the brain that reverses tiredness and encourages alertness.
2. Get Nostalgic
To ease sleepiness fast, gaze at a cherished family photo. Stanford researchers say images of positive memories can encourage the release of a revitalizing brain chemical that will perk you up in just 60 seconds.
3. Swap Out Your Carbs
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 found in sweet potatoes spurs the production of energizing hormones. The result: You’ll increase your vim and vigor by 55 percent!
4. Stand Up and Stretch
Carving out just 25 minutes a day for simple stretches or yoga poses can sharpen 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.
5. Breathe in Some Frankincense
To boost alertness in as little as one minute, slowly breathe in the earthy scent of frankincense essential oil ($19.98, Amazon). Canadian scientists say unique compounds in the oil called boswellic acids activate the focus center of the brain.
6. Take a bedtime bath
While it may seem counterintuitive, if you’re feeling tired first thing in the morning, you’re likely not getting enough deep sleep. To snooze more soundly and awaken more 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. You’ll also spend significantly less time tossing and turning overnight.
7. Sip Passionflower Tea
Cozying up with a big mug of passionflower tea ($21.95, Amazon) in the evening helps you sleep through the night as effectively as Valium, German scientists say. That’s because the phytonutrients in the herbal brew slow the production of snooze-sapping hormones.
8. Make 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.
9. Cuddle Up With Your Pup
You already know your four-legged friend makes you smile. Now, Washington State University researchers say petting your dog or cat for just 10 minutes sends your stress levels plummeting too!
10. Chew Some Cardamom
Canadian scientists say chewing three cardamom pods ($7.99, Amazon) like you would chewing gum calms the nervous system and releases digestive enzymes that soothe pain now, plus cut your risk of future stomachaches by 55 percent, as long as you munch them regularly.
11. Use a Hot Water Bottle
Applying a hot-water bottle ($9.99, Amazon) for 10 minutes spurs the production of digestive enzymes that relax stomach cramps.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.
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