Beat the 3 p.m. blues
5 tips for keeping your energy level up.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - It's a condition all too familiar to many of us...the 3 p.m. slump. No matter how energized you may have felt when you alarm clock went off, by mid-afternoon, your body and mind have just about had it.
In today's 5 tips, we're going to give you the power to keep up those energy levels at work.
1. Stop hitting snooze!
The snooze button has been letting overworked Americans catch a few extra z's for half a century. But if you're looking to increase your energy, you better just get up.
A sleep specialist at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago says that even an hour's worth of fragmented sleep won't help as much as 15 minutes of steady sleep. In fact, while those 9 minutes may be just the cushion you need to re-enter the waking word, you may be cheating yourself from getting all the rest you need.
"If you hit the snooze alarm more than 2 or 3 times," says sleep specialist Edward Stepanski, "you may be damaging your sleep quality."
The truth is that hitting snooze just makes you more sluggish. The trick is to get more sleep to begin with (or just put your alarm across the room).
2. Hold the Joe
We all can't wait for that first cup of coffee to give us the pep to get into the office. But our little caffeine fix may be defeating us in the long run. Coffee initially raises stress hormones and gives a rush of energy, but consuming four or more cups or more of coffee per day can promote fatigue, a lack of energy, nervous tremors and irritability.
And if you're stressed, your sensitivity to coffee is even higher. "If you drink too much coffee in the morning, you're just running on fumes," says Jon Gordon, author of "The 10 Minute Energy Solution."
To help curb your craving, think about adding some decaf or leave more room for milk. You may even want to switch to green tea, which has half the caffeine. To really do a body some good, try increasing your water intake. Dehydration is often overlooked as a cause of fatigue.
3. Care for some mint?
Ok, so there's no use fighting the eventual onset of exhaustion. You've hit that afternoon slump. A little peppermint may be just what you need.
According to Gordon, peppermint can boost your mood and your motivation. He recommends a cup of peppermint tea, spray an herbal mint spritzer around your desk or even dab some diluted peppermint oil on your wrists to temples to revive you. And as an added bonus, peppermint can also improve digestion and fight bad breath.
4. Sit up straight
All that nagging from your Mom to sit up straight may have had some validity. Bad posture alone can give your brain up to 30% less blood and oxygen. When you slouch, your muscles have to work harder just to hold you up and that can tire out the body.
In fact, it's reported that just 15 minutes of reading or typing in the wrong position exhausts the neck, shoulders and upper-back muscles. Poor posture also compresses the internal organs so your body can't function as efficiently as it should.
To check that you have good posture, make sure your back is aligned against the back of the office chair. Use a chair with good lower-back support and keep your knees a little higher than your hips according to Spine-Health.com. Don't sit in the same position for more than half an hour.
"Just by sitting up straight, you also just feel more alert," says Gordon.
5. Ear's to more energy
Massage your ears to feel more alert, says Mark Hyman, MD, the publisher of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. "The ears have a tremendous amount of nerve endings and they are full of accupuncture points," he says.
To try this technique out, remove your earrings and try rubbing your entire ear with your fingers. You should feel more pep. This technique is adapted from Qigong, which is a form of traditional Chinese medicine.
Gerri Willis is a personal finance editor for CNN Business News and the host for Open House. E-mail comments to email@example.com.
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