My Q Health | All-Day Energy, Every Day
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All-Day Energy, Every Day

All-Day Energy, Every Day

By Virginia Sole-Smith,

We’re a nation of can-do people: We work, we plan, we organize, we go, fueling ourselves on coffee and pure determination. Until, that is, we fall onto the sofa in a stupor.

More of us are struggling with energy issues, experts say; they point to the weak economy, which has us working harder and plugging in longer, and the belief that we can have it all (so what if we’re up till midnight making it happen?).

“I’m seeing so many women who think of themselves as machines that can run nonstop, and they’re living with this deep fatigue,” says psychologist Michelle Segar, associate director of the Sport, Health, and Activity Research and Policy Center for Women and Girls at the University of Michigan. “Just like houseplants need water, our energy reserves need regular replenishing.”

To the rescue: strategies that will keep you humming along — and, happily, don’t take much effort.

Stay energized all morning

What works against your a.m. mojo: “We’ve been essentially in a starvation state all night,” says Dr. Gregory Dodell, an endocrinologist in New York.

What’s working for you: “At the same time, we experience spikes in cortisol and testosterone, important hormones for energy that help get us moving,” Dodell adds. You want to fuel up and max out that hormone high. The plan: Lights! Action! Breakfast!

Don’t delay the day. It’s so tempting to hit snooze when your alarm goes off in the morning. Problem is, “by falling back asleep, you could be interrupting the hormone cycle, which can make it harder to get going,” Dodell says. Better to just set your alarm for 15 minutes later — and keep your clock across the room so you can’t reach out and silence it.

Let in light. “Artificial or natural, light helps optimize the body’s wake-up processes,” says Michael Terman, director of the Center for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York.

Roll up the shades or, if it’s still dark outside, turn on lights. Terman recommends compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) labeled “cool white” or “daylight.” They’re not just good for Mother Earth, he says: “CFLs with these color temperatures emit a white light closer to outdoor light than the yellowish kind from incandescents.”

Ease into things. “Roll out of bed and into the frenetic pace of getting everybody ready and you’re exhausted right out of the gate,” says time-management expert Julie Morgenstern, author of the book “Never Check E-mail in the Morning.”

Get up 15 minutes before the kids so you can shower and get dressed. And, yes, avoid the siren call of e-mail: “Facing an onslaught of to-dos can be a big drain if you haven’t cleared your mind first.”

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