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Instant Energizers

Fatigue-busting tips to boost your energy at work or the gym.
By
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic-Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

It usually happens around 3 p.m. Your eyes get a little heavy, your energy starts to sag, and you feel like you need a nap or something to get you through the rest of the day.

Afternoon fatigue (or a similar slump at any time of day) can be caused by low blood sugar or dehydration, or it can simply stem from boredom or lack of sleep. And no, candy bars or caffeine won't help. They may work immediately, but after a short while, energy levels drop again.

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Still, there are a few things you can do to perk up and get back to business, at your desk or in the gym. Eating small meals every three or four hours throughout the day is one way to prevent energy lulls. But if eating around the clock doesn't fit into your schedule, try boosting your energy with one or more of these five "instant energizers."

1. Hydrate Yourself

Staying hydrated is essential to maintaining energy. So before you head to the vending machine in search of a pick-me-up, drink a big glass of water.

"Being dehydrated can make you feel tired, so one of the easiest, calorie-free ways to beat an energy slump is with a tall glass of water or sparkling soda with a twist," says Carolyn O'Neil, RD, author of The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous. "As we age, our thirst mechanisms are not as reliable and don't work as well. Keep water bottles at your desk or in the car, and sip regularly."

If water just doesn't do it for you, try a glass of iced tea or cup of hot tea.

"It makes sense that cultures around the globe have enjoyed the daily ritual of 'tea time,' to enjoy a hot beverage and a little snack to perk up their sagging energy levels." says O'Neil.

Having a cup of tea helps hydrate you, and the addition of a small cookie or dainty tea sandwich is just enough to take the edge off your appetite and energize you until dinner.

"An added bonus is, tea is loaded with antioxidants and other health-promoting substances," O'Neil says.

Stock your pantry, briefcase, or desk with a variety of tea flavors and individually packed, simple cookies or 100-calorie snack packs so you can enjoy your very own "afternoon tea" time.

2. Bed and Breakfast

First off, you need a good night's sleep -- if you're sleep-deprived, it's going to be challenging to overcome energy lulls with anything other than a nap. Then, be sure to get your blood sugar perking with a healthy breakfast.

"Many people skip breakfast and this usually leads to a midmorning slump," says Marissa Moore, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

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