Four ways to boost your energy and beat the afternoon energy crashes.

It is 2 p.m. and as usual, your eyes feel heavy and you’re having trouble concentrating. Before you give in to that vending machine candy bar or make a fresh pot of coffee, try to beat the afternoon energy crashes with more natural approaches.

1. Sit up and get up. Straighten your posture. That one movement can help you feel more alert. Stand while taking phone calls. Once an hour, stand up and move around to improve your circulation, and shake out the cobwebs in your muscles and brain. Keep Suntheanine, a patented form of L-theanine, on hand for those times when you know you’ll need to stay focused and alert. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that highly anxious students who took L-theanine improved their attentional performance and reaction times.
2. Balance your breakfast and lunch. Plan your meals the night before so you’re not as crunched for time. Include something from every food group: protein, fruits, vegetables, grain and dairy. This helps with a steadier energy release throughout the day. Sorry, sugar isn’t a food group. A donut may fill you up for a short time, and even give you a brief energy surge because it’s spiking your blood sugar, but that’s followed by a crash that may leave you feeling more worn out than before you ate it. In a rush? Surprisingly, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says it’s okay to enjoy a slice of leftover pizza with a glass of orange juice for breakfast. For lunch, prepare a sandwich using whole-grain bread. Bring a side salad topped with cheese or nuts.
3. Help your digestive system to move normally. Could some of your sluggishness be because of occasional irregularity? Exercise and a high-fiber diet are a good start. But face it, none of us eat perfectly all the time. Sunfiber naturally helps to normalize your bowel movements. It also helps you feel fuller longer, so you’re less likely to have that mid-afternoon snack craving. Plus it helps to control the glycemic index of foods, so you will experience fewer energy spikes and crashes.
4. Flip your stress switch to the “off” position at night. Better sleep hygiene includes coming up with a plan for leaving your stress at the bedroom door. Devise a transition habit that will work for you. Some people do yoga just before bedtime. Others enjoy a cup of green tea and some quiet time with their spouse. Supplementing with Suntheanine a half hour before bed will help to relax your mind by increasing alpha brain waves. Or, read a chapter from a funny book to lighten your mood. Create the right atmosphere for deep sleep by lowering the room temperature and turning off your electronic devices.

By following these four easy tips, you might be surprised by how much more productive you become in the afternoons. And by exercising, eating better and snacking less, you might also become a little slimmer. Now there’s a side bonus you can celebrate!

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