Your morning routine may sound like this: hit the snooze button on multiple alarm clocks, slowly get out of bed and head straight to the coffee.
While we can’t all be morning people and instantly wake up feeling energetic, experts say there are ways to feel more energized throughout the day.
The go-to recommendations are ones we already know, said Alistair Hopper of Flex Fitness in Winnipeg — exercise, eat well and stretch.
“Start your morning with some cardiovascular and resistance training exercises,” he told Global News.
The food we consume also controls our energy levels the next day.
“Be sure to get a proper balance of carbohydrates, fats and proteins the day before,” Hopper added.
He also recommends stretching both in the morning and the night before to help you de-stress.
“[This will lead to] better sleep and being more flexible for your day ahead,” said Hopper.
Below, Hopper — as well as nutrition experts — give us their top ways to stay energized all day.
Used in herbal medication, some adaptogens are slightly stimulant, said Desiree Nielsen, a registered dietitian based in Vancouver. This can help you feel an energetic lift without the added caffeine crash.
“I love rhodiola, which is an herb that helps the body deal with stress and increases mental alertness and energy — just like caffeine does,” she explained.
“Rhodiola may also help with the transition away from coffee and make it less unpleasant.”
If you are interested in adaptogens, always talk to your doctor or pharmacist to make sure the herbs will not interfere with any medication.
Dehydration can make you feel exhausted, especially the next day.
“After eight to 10 hours without drinking anything, you need to re-hydrate,” Nielsen said.
“Try drinking 500 millilitres to one litre of water as soon as you wake up. I recommend room temperature (or warm water with some lemon) when it’s cold out.”
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Wake up at the same time each day (plus or minus half an hour), says registered dietitian Jessica Tong. And yes, this means even on the weekends.
“Our bodies operate well under structure, and we each have unique sleep and wake cycles that our bodies have adapted to. If on some days we wake at 6 a.m. and other days we wake at 10 a.m., it can confuse the body and affect energy levels,” Tong explained.
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If you’re having trouble staying energized during the day, avoid drinking alcohol the night before.
“Alcohol is a sedative, but the sedative effect is short-lived. After the alcohol is metabolized (usually around 3 a.m.), people experience the rebound wakefulness where we come out of deep sleep,” Tong said.
“Even if you’re lying in bed and thinking you’re getting rest, you’re not getting restful sleep, and this will impact your energy levels the day after.”
Our minds are racing most of the day. Before you sleep, you should really try to clear your mind. Tong said meditation can be helpful.
“Meditation helps you detach yourself from the distractions, the tempting influx of information available online and the bright lights. Just a few minutes before bed can help to prepare your mind and your body for a state of relaxation and, subsequently, more restful sleep.”
Certain foods can give you a natural boost, said Hopper. He recommends eating more bananas.
“Bananas have natural sugars (complex carbohydrates), amino acids and vitamins that help boost your energy quickly,” he explained. “Your body absorbs it into the bloodstream fast.”
Tong added that research has shown most Canadians are vitamin D deficient.
“Our bodies synthesize vitamin D after sun exposure, but in the wintertime, vitamin D production is lacking,” she said. “It is difficult to get adequate vitamin D from the diet unless you are consuming milk, egg yolks and oily fish every day.”
Vitamin D deficiency can affect one’s mood and perceived energy levels. Some studies have indicated that the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder are related to a decrease in vitamin D in our bodies during the winter.
“The recommendation is to take 1,000 IU of vitamin D each day,” Tong said.
While most of us stumble like zombies towards the coffee maker every morning, quitting caffeine might actually help you feel more energetic, Nielsen argued.
“I never thought I could do it but I’ve been largely caffeine-free since May 2018 and I feel a lot better when I wake up,” said Nielsen.
Some research has shown caffeine can interfere with the quality of our sleep.
“Meaning you feel more tired the next morning,” she continued. “In addition, caffeine withdrawal can cause drowsiness. In fact, when you think you are so tired that you need coffee, what you really might be experiencing is the effects of past coffee consumption.”
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