Good Sleep Tips To Keep You Happy

Did you drink your eight 8-ounce glasses of water today? Sure, it’s a lot to swallow, but you need those 64 ounces of [H.sub.2]O to fight fatigue and boost your energy, says Dr. Clark. Consider this: Even mild dehydration–losing as little as 1/2 cup of body water–affects your physical and mental performance. That’s because your body uses water in every metabolic reaction, especially in breaking down the energy nutrients. It allows carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to be metabolized in the cells, where they create energy and take care of other body functions.

Sleeping better is within your grasp!

Sleeping better is within your grasp!

“If you notice that certain days you get fatigued and get headaches, ask yourself, `Am I drinking the right amount of water? Or am I drinking too much of the wrong stuff, such as caffeinated products?'” says Dr. Clark. (Beverages with caffeine don’t hydrate your body as effectively as those without caffeine.) If you’re not drinking enough you could develop low-grade but chronic fatigue.

Dr. Clark’s recommendation: Drink 8 to 10 glasses (8 ounces each) of water a day; 4 to 6 glasses more when you exercise.

Put One Foot in Front of the Other

The day is long, your lids are heavy, and the last thing you want to do is exercise. But if you want more energy, you’d better get moving.

Actually, exercise doesn’t produce energy; it uses it, explains Wayne L. Westcott, PhD, author of Strength Training Past 50 (Human Kinetics, 1998) and fitness research director at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, MA. So why do you feel more alert and energetic after a brisk 30-minute walk around the neighborhood? It’s all in your head–literally.

Physical activity stimulates the release of hormones that affect your brain and make you feel energized almost instantly. An added bonus: Exercising today can help you feel energized tomorrow because it fatigues your muscles and promotes sound sleep, so you’ll awake energized and refreshed. Keep up this exercise habit, and over time you’ll make your body more energy efficient. Result: “You’ll be able to maximize the energy you do have every day,” says Dr. Westcott.

If you’re tired of the same-old, same-old, put a new spin on your exercise routine. Don’t just walk: Form a book-discussion group with your literary friends and discuss the classics–or the latest John Grisham page-turner–as you stroll.

Or try something new, such as tai chi. This ancient Chinese martial art has been gaining followers as a gentle form of exercise that improves balance, builds strength, and encourages relaxation and meditation. An added benefit is that tai chi, or any other exercise that requires intense concentration on body movements, distracts you from the routine of stress or work. “That distraction alone will increase your mental energy,” says Ralph LaForge, managing director of the lipid clinic preceptorship program at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC.

Many fitness centers, hospitals, and YMCAs offer tai chi classes. If you can’t locate a class in your area, try an instructional video or book, such as Complete Tai-Chi: The Definitive Guide to Physical & Emotional Self-Improvement, by Alfred Huang (Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1993), or enroll in a “virtual class”.

Stop and Smell the Rosemary

If only we could store energy in a bottle, then let it out from time to time for a quick burst. With aromatherapy, you can do just that. Certain essential oils–which are distilled from roots, leaves, flowers, and other plant material–have an energizing effect on the nervous system, according to Christoph Streicher, PhD, an aromatherapist and owner of Amrita Aromatherapy in Fairfield, IA.

To surround yourself with an invigorating aroma, place a few drops of an energizing essential oil on a compress or hankie, or use a special aromatherapy diffuser. Essential oils to try: rosemary, basil, pine oil, spruce, eucalyptus, or pink grapefruit.

For an energizing massage, dilute an essential oil in an unscented body lotion or a nonaromatic vegetable oil such as grapeseed, avocado, or sweet almond oil. Use about 9 drops of essential oil to 1 ounce of lotion or vegetable oil. Energizing essential oils that are milder and more appropriate for use on your skin include lime, sweet orange, peppermint, and spearmint. For an added twist, try combining a citrus with a mint. Note: Anyone with sensitive skin should try the prepared massage lotion on a small area first.

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