Getty Images Do you start feeling lethargic around the same time every day? Uncover the reason for your daily slump — and the body-clock secrets that guarantee nonstop energy. Groggy midmorning? Try knitting.
Wish midmorning naps were a “thing”? That’s because your brain’s prefrontal cortex, which helps you stay clearheaded and focused, is experiencing an early day dip in electrical activity. Fortunately, researchers say you can energize your prefrontal cortex—sharpening concentration, memory and energy by 32 percent — by taking a 10-minute break to focus on a creative task like sketching or knitting. Daniel H. Pink, author of When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, notes that brief, restorative breaks are key to better AM brain function. Sluggish after lunch? Munch on macadamias.
Your pancreas, which produces sugar-controlling insulin, is most likely to misfire in the early afternoon, letting blood sugar dip to snooze-inducing levels, says neurologist Daniel Amen, MD.
To increase your energy and stamina by 65 percent, add one ounce of macadamias to your lunch, or enjoy these crunchy treats as an early afternoon snack. UCLA researchers say the nuts’ healthy plant oils energize a tired pancreas, plus prod tissues to use up insulin, allowing fatigue-fighting blood glucose to reach brain and muscle cells that need it. Dozy in the afternoon? Cool your brow.
Your nervous system craves an afternoon break and tries coaxing you to catnap by tamping down the production of energizing beta brain waves. But Australian scientists say a brief drop in skin temperature — try splashing cool water on your cheeks, holding a cold pack to your eyes or stepping outside if it’s chilly — can kick-start beta wave release in 30 seconds, boosting your energy and focus by 50 percent for 90 minutes. Weary all the time? Sniff vetiver before bed.
The number-one cause of all-day fatigue is poor sleep. Thankfully, there’s an easy Rx: Take 15 minutes before lights-out to enjoy the aroma of 100 percent vetiver essential oil (place four drops on a tissue and set it beside you as you read or relax).
A study in the journal Natural Product Research reveals vetiver’s earthy aromatic compounds prompt the release of sleep-enhancing theta brain waves, helping you drift off 45 percent faster and sleep 25 percent more deeply, increasing daytime energy by 65 percent. Beat by dinner? Beautify with plants.
We’re exposed to twice as much tiredness-triggering carbon dioxide when we’re cooped up in tightly sealed homes and offices, say researchers at Washington State University. And that exposure can dampen the central nervous system, leaving us dragging by dinnertime.
But Portuguese research suggests that decorating rooms you frequent with air-purifying plants like ferns and spider plants cuts indoor carbon dioxide levels by 30 percent to prevent evening energy dips.