Exhaustion is not simply lack of sleep; it’s related to stress, dehydration, nutrition and lifestyle. Conquering your exhaustion can feel insurmountable, but what if it could be as simple as listening to music, having more sex, or changing the way you breathe? Dr. Oz and Jim Karas, energy expert and author of The 7 Day Energy Surge, have created a 4-step plan containing small changes that add up to big increases in your energy.
Step 1: The Morning Makeover
First, assess your alarm clock. What time is it set for? A time that allows you to repeatedly hit the snooze button? Or do you only allow yourself time to grab a quick shower before rushing out the door and hitting the drive-through? It’s time to reset your alarm. Give yourself 10 minutes to lie in bed before getting up. During that time, perform a breathing exercise called “breathing into blackness.” Place the palms of your hands over your eyes, and with your index, middle and ring fingers, massage the top of your forehead. Inhale 6 counts through your nose and exhale 6 counts through your mouth. Breathing into blackness provides the body with increased oxygen and 10 full minutes of internal meditation.
Then, throw open your curtains and turn on all your lights. This enhances circadian rhythms and tells your body that night, the natural time for sleep, is over.
Finally, eat a power breakfast full of protein and fiber that won’t spike blood sugar levels and will keep you satiated. Click here for a muesli recipe packed with protein, fiber, antioxidants and omega-3s.
Step 2: The Vital Vitamin Cocktail
To feel more energized, you need to fuel your body properly. Magnesium and tyrosine are 2 supplements that specifically target the chemical processes responsible for increased levels of energy. Magnesium activates enzymes that contribute to energy production and helps regulate the levels of important nutrients like calcium, copper, zinc, potassium and vitamin D. While you can get magnesium from foods like whole grains, nuts and leafy green vegetables, most Americans need a supplement to reach the recommended daily value: 400 mg magnesium with 600 mg calcium.
Tyrosine is a nonessential amino acid and a building block for the mood-enhancing neurotransmitters epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine. Chronic stress can deplete your level of tyrosine and contribute to feelings of exhaustion. Tyrosine supplements should be taken in 500 mg doses 3 times a day, at least 30 minutes before meals.
For a super boost, open a 500 mg tyrosine capsule, place the powder under your tongue and let it dissolve. It has a chalk-like consistency that may be hard to swallow, so take water as needed.
Step 3: Pick Up a New Mid-Afternoon Pick-Me-Up
Ditch the soda, candy and energy drinks. Instead, opt for a shot of the phenomenal super food: wheatgrass. It’s full of antioxidants, stimulates metabolism and alkalinizes the body. Get a shot at your local health food store or juice bar for a few dollars or, if that’s not an option, purchase wheatgrass in supplement form or powder.
If you must have coffee, try a combination consisting of half coffee/half low-fat milk. It contains caffeine like a normal cup of coffee and the protein in milk helps keep blood sugar levels stable.
Step 4: Set the Stage for Sleep
Perhaps you’ve already done the basics: removed the TV from your bedroom, set a regular bedtime, and banned cell phones and other electronics from your nightstand. But here are some additional steps to help your body wind down, fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Listen to soothing music for 45 minutes before going to bed. Research indicates this helps you fall asleep faster and recall more vivid dreams, an indication of deep, restful sleep.
- Turn your alarm clock away from you. Watching the clock keeps the brain stimulated, making it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Use a night light in the bathroom. This prohibits turning lights on during the night which in turn activates the brain, telling it to wake up.