Maintaining Your Energy

By Kelsey – February 2, 2011

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Whether it’s a new baby, a new job or a new semester, life often demands you to be alert (or just awake) more than you might like. And for most people, a lack of sleep results in a painful cycle of caffeine highs followed by crashes, long naps with sleepless nights, uncontrolled eating and missed workouts. When your life gets hectic, energy management is a fantasy.

But the time to figure out a way to manage your energy is now. You need to make sure you have enough to last through your day, when you’re up late with the man in the moon finishing that project or meeting that deadline. Once you start maintaining your schedule, you’ll feel great naturally, which will make you happy for a lot longer than the 5 minutes after you down that latte.

  • Stick to a schedule. When you’re forced to stay up later than you’re used to, it’s tempting to sleep in a little later. But sticking to a schedule is important to maintain a good energy level. Sleeping in might keep you up even longer the next night, and then you’re trapped in a sleepless cycle that will hurt even more than getting up at the regular time to start with will.
  • Cat naps. But say you do get up at the regular time and just can’t function well. A 20 minute nap will give you the power to keep going, and won’t affect your nighttime sleep.
  • Watch your caffeine intake. Coffee is great, and most sane adults need some sort of caffeine to get their day started. But make sure to monitor how much you’re getting, and when you’re getting it. It takes about six hours for your body to get rid of 1/2 of the caffeine you take in, so consider how many hours until your ideal bedtime before you swing through Starbucks in the afternoon.
  • Don’t skip out on your workouts. Getting the right amount of physical activity is important when you’re more busy than usual. Staying sedentary– in front of the computer, in the car, at the dinner table– might leave your mind drained, but your body still won’t be getting the attention it needs. Exercise will keep your mental and physical health strong, the most important thing to remember when you’re running all over the place.
  • Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! We know that our bodies function on water, so it’s odd that hydrating with water is often the thing that we forget to do. This doesn’t mean abiding by a strict 8 glasses rule, but it does mean drinking water when you’re thirsty. Especially if you’re drinking coffee to stay perky, make sure you hydrate after and during, because caffeine leaves you more dehydrated.
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