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Did you know that in the week before Christmas we can lose up to 30 hours’ sleep? Enter our festive energy-boosting hacks…
We all know caffeine can give us a lift, but how about this surprising little bonus: it may also help improve mood, memory and cognition! However, the attention-boosting effects may not kick in for up to 45 minutes after drinking, so slurping a grande cappuccino as you make a last dash around the shops on Christmas Eve probably won’t help. And do bear in mind a safe daily caffeine intake* is up to 400mg (around four brewed cups), so don’t overdo it!
Being a bit dehydrated doesn’t just make you thirsty, you know – it can also cause tiredness and headaches. Struggling to drink enough water? Sneak in some of your daily quota a tastier way: fat-free milk, strawberries, lettuce, melon and celery all have 90-99% water content, while natural, low-fat yoghurt, grapes, apples, oranges, and pears have 80-89%; avocado 73%; even smoked salmon and chicken have 60-69%! The perfect reason to tuck into a Boots Nutritious Pineapple, Mango & Melon With Passion Fruit Pot Boots Exclusive £2/200 points (185g). Yum!
When you’ve just woken up, it’s tempting to hide under the duvet and enjoy the darkness for a bit longer. But research shows being exposed to a bright light immediately on waking can actually help suppress sleepiness. So say hello to your new friend: the Lumie Desklamp SAD & Energy Light, £144/14,400 points. It’s the next best thing to exposure to sunlight (which we struggle to get enough of in summer – let alone at this time of year!).
Carbs = Not. The. Enemy. They are the body’s preferred fuel, so there’s a reason we crave them when we’re tired. In fact, fat and protein are actually harder for the body to turn into energy. So reach for slow-release foods, like wholegrain seeded bread, wholewheat pasta, brown rice, sweet or new potatoes and unsweetened wholegrain cereal, for sustained oomph when you need it most. Aim for a fistful-sized helping per meal.
You’re at work and have to finish a big report by 6pm. It might be tempting to stick on your favourite motivational tune – but hold fire! Research shows we’re most distracted by tunes we either really enjoy or really dislike – so the best thing to do when you’re flagging is work in silence (sorry) or pick some elevator music…
Meet the push press – it’s an energising upper and lower body exercise that can help rescue your tired brain (and body). Here’s the science bit. It involves compound movements (meaning more than one set of joints), which use more muscle fibres than smaller movements – and this results in larger metabolic demands on your body. Which means? ‘Post-workout, your metabolic rate will be increased, leaving you feeling wide awake and refuelled,’ says personal trainer Leo Savage from London’s Third Space gym.
Here’s how to DIY**: ‘Stand, holding a dumbbell at chest height (make sure it’s not too heavy, to avoid unnecessary strain). Lower into a squat and, as you straighten your legs, push the weight above your head,’ explains Leo. ‘Lower the weight back down to your chest and repeat. Four sets of 10 reps will leave you feeling pumped.’ We like the Reebok Dumbbell Set With Case Boots.com only £44.99/4,499 points (1-3kg).
*If you’re not pregnant, sensitive or avoiding caffeine for medical reasons.
**If you have a medical condition, consult your GP before undertaking a new exercise regime, and stop exercising if you feel uncomfortable.
Words Sophie Goddard