Updated: Jun 12, 2019
Raise your hand if you want more energy!
I recently attended several masterclasses for increasing your energy. It was quite interesting as most tips are not backed by research (I'm not saying anecdotal evidence is not important, but I think the combo is best, but that's a whole other topic). And these tips use both, but are heavy on the science side. Who can argue with that?!
I'll get right to it...it's all about circadian rhythms (this keeps coming up for me, especially with my cluster migraines. Read my post on that here.) Why are circadian rhythms important for increased energy? Because hormones like cortisol (the energy hormone) and melatonin (the sleep hormone) go up and down throughout the day. If that rhythm is messed up, then your energy is going to be messed up too. (See image below.)
So how do you get your circadian rhythm back to normal?
Top 5 tips for increasing your energy by regulating your circadian rhythms:
1. Get bright light every morning within 30 minutes of waking. If you can't get outside, use a seasonal affective disorder (SAD) light. A friend gifted me one and I have it in my bathroom and turn it on while I'm getting ready in the morning. You can also have one at your desk. Just turn it off around 1:00 pm. I have found on days I do not use it, my sleep isn't as good.
2. Stop your "screen" time 2-3 hours bofore you go to bed. The light from your screens (phone, tablet, computer, TV) sends a signal to the brain that it's still daytime. Fact, your melatonin (sleep hormone) is delayed for 1 hour after you are exposed to blue/green light from these devices. No wonder you can't fall asleep! If you must be on your computer, tv or phone, wear blue/green light blocking glasses, like these.
3. Sleep in complete darkness. Studies have shown, even a quarter-sized amount of light on the skin can trigger a wake response. Try black-out curtains or a sleep eye mask, and ditch the night-lights. Be sure to cover any little "power" lights on electronics with electrical tape.
4. Go to bed earlier. Most people are not night-owls. Let me repeat. Most people are not night-owls. They just think they are because of modern day life. The constant to-do list, the constant exposure to light at night and all things to watch on our TV's and cell phones. Your actual bed-time is probably 1-2.5 hours before you actually go to sleep. Shocking right? Start by going to bed earlier in 15 minute increments.
5. Optimize your feeding window to 10-11 hours. For example, if you have breakfast at 7:30 am, dinner should be at 6:30 pm. Why? Every organ has a circadian rhythm, so you should be finished eating at least 3 hours before bed so melatonin can start kicking in to help you get tired for sleep. If you are used to late-night snacking, reduce the time by 15-30 minute increments to gradually no snacking. (Bonus, this is also good for your gut health!)
Try one or two of these stategies. Too many might be overwhelming. You'll be more likely to stick with gradual changes. And let me know how they helped in the comments below.