We all experience energy slumps during our working day, but new research has pin-pointed 2.16pm as the time most of us start to lose energy.
This is when we officially have the least amount of energy or enthusiasm for anything, according to the study commissioned by Typhoo tea.
So, whether your get-up-and-go has got-up-and-gone by 2.16 or anytime, for that matter, here are 15 easy ways to prevent yawning fever…
Leave your curtains open…
OR choose sheer, voile drapes rather than opaque ones to let in as much natural light as possible.
Chronobiologists, who study our internal body clocks, say the best time to rise and shine is when it starts to get light naturally. This stimulates energising hormones such as serotonin, cortisol and adrenaline and inhibits the sleep-inducing melatonin.
Wake up naturally
IF your alarm wakes you in a deep-sleep cycle, you’ll feel sluggish for hours, according to research in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The Lifemax Rise and Shine Dawn Simulator alarm clock (£21.95 including delivery from www.livingiseasy.co.uk) gently increases light for a natural awakening.
Take cold showers
ALTERNATING your shower temperature between hot and cold speeds up your metabolism and boosts circulation, eliminating sluggishness. Tests at the Thrombosis Research Institute in London found that regular cold baths and showers increase the oxygen flow to the body, rejuvenating tissues and making you more alert.
Suck a mint
US RESEARCHERS found that athletes who sniffed peppermint ran faster and for longer – with less effort – than those exposed to no scent at all. Dr Bryan Raudenbush, who led the study, concluded that mint probably enhanced breathing by clearing the airways.
BREATHING deeply sharpens your general awareness by supplying the brain with fresh oxygen. It also relieves tension, calms the nerves and lowers the heart rate. So, stop what you’re doing and just take five deep breaths.
Breathe in through the nose for a count of three and exhale for six for an energy lift.
Rub your wrists and neck
RUBBING the Botanics Time to Revive Roll-On (Boots, £4.75 for 10ml) across your pulse points will revive flagging energy in a matter of seconds.
It contains a blend of cedarwood, peppermint and lemongrass essentials oils – known for their energising properties.
Alternatively, simply massaging the muscles at the back of your neck for 60 seconds can stave off an energy slump by improving blood flow to the brain, says health guru Dr Mosaraf Ali.
Pick up the papers
A 10-minute walk to the newsagent for your Daily Mirror instantly boosts your mood and increases energy levels for up to two hours, say scientists at California State University.
Professor Robert Thayer, who carried out the study, says: "Moderate exercise, even for short periods, boosts energy levels faster and for longer than the sweets and snacks we often turn to when we’re feeling lethargic."
Put a plant on your desk
RESEARCH at Washington State University showed that workers with plants on their desks felt 10 per cent more attentive in just one day.
"Electrical equipment can give off volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that lead to symptoms like fatigue and lack of concentration," says Helen Foster, author of Detox Solutions (Hamlyn, £5.99). But you can detox your work station by adding greenery. Plants, especially spider plants, aloe vera and peace lilies, are good at absorbing and recycling stale air.
WE all know how important it is to drink water, but studies show that even a two per cent drop in hydration can reduce energy levels by 20 per cent.
This is because insufficient water in your body causes a reduction in blood volume, which means that less oxygen reaches your muscles and you’ll tire more quickly. Keep a bottle on your desk.
"AN orgasm releases oxytocin, a hormone that increases mental clarity and energy – for up to 12 hours," says Jacob Teitelbaum, author of From Fatigued To Fantastic (Avery publishing, £7.59). And in a 10-year study of 900 British men, those who had sex most often had the best physical health and overall energy reserves.
LOUD music is very effective for relieving stress and fighting fatigue, according to Athletic Insight, the American online journal of sport psychology. Researchers also suggest that singing can help you feel sparkier as it makes you breathe more deeply.
Have a boiled egg for breakfast
IT’S the best source of energy-boosting protein, according to the American Heart Association. An egg in the morning will satisfy your appetite and release energy slowly – seeing you through that mid-morning slump until lunchtime.
Don’t fancy an egg? Then have a bowl of porridge. Researchers at Loughborough University found this low-GI food provided a long-lasting energy boost – with porridge-eating athletes performing better than others.
Don’t forget your morning cuppa
SKIPPING your usual morning fix of caffeine leaves regular drinkers less alert and clear-headed, according to research carried out by Professor Peter Rogers at Bristol University. And scientists at John Hopkins University in the US found 50 per cent of people experience fatigue if they miss their first cup of the day – with 13 per cent unable to function as well.
Don’t rely on energy drinks
WHILE sugary energy drinks boost energy in the short-term, scientists at the Sleep Research Centre in Loughborough found that, an hour later, testers had slower reactions and lapses in concentration.
Clean your windows
ACCORDING to research at the University of Arizona, 88 per cent of homes have mould around the windows – and an allergy to mould is a frequent cause of fatigue. Check your shower curtain while you’re at it, too!