If you've ever skimped on your 71/2 hours of slumber, pushed yourself too hard during a midday workout, or spent the day camped out in a swivel chair with your eyes glued to a computer screen, you've surely encountered the infamous energy crash. And while reaching for Red Bull or scrounging for sugar might seem like the panacea, the effects of your quick fix may be short-lived. Here's your all-day guide to fight fatigue the healthy way from morning till night.
IN THE MORNING
Jump-start your metabolism. Breakfast kicks off your day and makes you feel better. Include a mix of protein and quality carbohydrates into your meal, says Denise Austin, author of "Get Energy! Empower Your Body, Love Your Life."
Shower sans steam. Your body responds quickly to a cold stimulus, so a cool shower can help perk you up, says dietician Erin Palinski. It also will cut down your shower time and get you out the door faster.
Crank some tunes. First thing in the morning, turn on your favorite high-tempo music to wake up your mind and your body, suggests Jim Karas, author of "The 7 Day Energy Surge."
Let in the light. In the morning, throw open the drapes and turn on all the lights to enhance your wake-sleep cycle, Karas says.
Sit up straight. Improve your posture, Austin says. This will help open up your chest, allowing you to fill your lungs with more oxygen for your body to deliver to your muscles, including your brain, which consumes 20 percent of the body's oxygen.
AT YOUR DESK
Allow yourself mini breaks. Take 5-minute breaks throughout the day to stand up and stretch, Austin suggests. Circulation, blood flow and oxygen delivery to the brain are poor when we're sitting down, which fatigues the body and decreases mental alertness.
Breathe deeply. Taking deeper breaths will deliver a larger amount of oxygen to the brain, keeping you more alert.
Sip green tea. It's packed with anti-aging antioxidants, reduces inflammation, hydrates your body and can boost metabolism to help you slim down, Karas says.
Eat regular meals. We know you've got appointments, deadlines and never-ending e-mails, but don't forget to break for lunch. Eat at regular intervals to keep your blood sugar balanced and energy levels high, Palinski saysON YOUR LUNCH HOUR
Soak up some sun. Get outside for at least 15 minutes, Austin says. You'll get vitamin D, which improves mood and helps strengthen bones.
Grab a slice of whole-grain bread. Carbohydrates will help raise blood sugar slightly, providing an energy boost along with an increase of the mood-lifting chemical serotonin in the brain, Palinski says.
Pick a protein. It keeps your blood sugar stable for a longer period of time. Round out meals and snacks with foods such as eggs, cheese, yogurt and lean meats, and aim to eat something every three to four hours, suggests dietician Marjorie Nolan, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.THROUGH THE AFTERNOON
Gulp a glass of water. Drink 10 to 12 ounces of cold water as fast as you can, Nolan says, noting that dehydration contributes to fatigue. The temperature drop will shock you awake, and the hydration benefit will keep you feeling perky.
Awaken with aromatherapy. Sniff scents such as jasmine, peppermint, cypress, eucalyptus, spearmint or geranium to help keep your brain more alert, Palinski says.
Snack on nuts. Eat this magnesium-rich snack for a quick boost in energy, Palinski suggests.
Skip the sugar. Aim for high-fiber carbohydrates sources, such as fresh fruit, whole-grain crackers or popcorn, instead of sugar. Although sugar might seem like a quick source of energy, equally quick drops in blood sugar levels can cause another crash, Palinski says.
Cheer up. Overly negative people can easily zap your energy, says Austin, who suggests adopting a more positive attitude as a way to feel instantly energized.
Take a walk. A brisk walk gets your blood flowing and improves circulation and mental function, Palinski says.DURING THE EVENING
Exercise to energize. Regular physical activity increases energy and fights fatigue by raising levels of mood-boosting serotonin as well as norepinephrine and dopamine, brain chemicals that give you pep, according to University of Georgia researchers who analyzed 70 studies on the subject. But evening exercise can disturb your sleep, so choose your workout wisely.
Unwind with music. Karas suggests starting and ending the day with music, but pick something soothing for the late hours.
Drift off without distraction. Get a good night's sleep to recharge your body, Austin says. To drift off with ease, don't bring your laptop to bed, she suggests, explaining that it will stimulate your brain and make it harder to fall asleep.