Recharge while you’re awake with these seven simple tips from Mary Ann Bauman, M.D., author of Fight Fatigue: 6 Simple Steps to Maximize Your Energy. This almost hour-by-waking-hour guide helps you power through your killer schedule and may even help you sleep better when you finally get the chance.
Do breakfast right
Skip the French toast sticks and hash browns—a quick rush of simple sugars that can leave you tired hours later—and reach for six ounces of Greek yogurt. Mix in a cup of fruit and a few tablespoons of granola for a light meal that’s rich in protein and healthy fats.
Fill your water bottle
Staying hydrated fends off sluggishness by moving nutrients through the body. Plus, water has no problem ingredients like sugar (extra calories) or caffeine (a diuretic that can leave you jittery), so make this the first of several fill-ups.
Check in with a friend
Mentally changing focus at least once a day fights brain fatigue. Now’s the time to take a break and call or email a friend. (Don’t feel guilty about it.) Try to keep the conversation upbeat.
Select smart carbs
When you’re slammed, it’s tempting to sub an instant-energy candy bar for a real meal. Not so fast. “The carbs in sugary foods will give you only a short burst of energy,” Bauman says. Instead, try a dose of energizing complex carbs, perhaps some turkey and light Swiss cheese on whole-wheat bread, plus a few apple slices.
Let the sunshine in
Our bodies are synced to the circadian rhythm of daylight and darkness, so taking 10 minutes to soak up some rays offers a natural wake-up call. Even cloud-filtered light can stave off sleepiness. If weather permits, add a brief, brisk walk to get your blood circulating.
Pat yourself on the back
About now, it’s easy to fixate on unfinished tasks. But beware of these “energy thieves,” Bauman’s term for thoughts that annoy or disappoint us. Make a quick list of today’s accomplishments—even “I got to work on time!” counts.
Dodge the couch
The energy-wise will get their 20 minutes (or more) of jogging, strength-training, or yoga now. Exercise can actually help you sleep well, which, Bauman says, is the key to starting the next day with power to spare.