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Health Information Easy as 1, 2, 3: Boost Your Energy

The energy slump — it's a common midday occurrence that can leave you drowsy at your desk or yawning during afternoon errands.

At those times, you might turn to coffee or an energy drink for a quick pick-me-up, but that's not what Shaila Pai-Verma, MD, an internist at Rush University Medical Center, recommends. Instead, she offers these suggestions to fight the slump and boost your energy.

Power up with protein. A high-protein snack can help restore energy by elevating your glucose level in a sustained manner, Pai-Verma says. She recommends yogurt or crackers with cheese. And avoid sugary snacks: Although they can give you an immediate energy surge, they also come with a slump when your blood sugar drops, typically an hour or so later.

Move your muscles. Sitting down after a big lunch can make people especially prone to drowsiness, Pai-Verma says. A large meal itself can induce drowsiness, but afternoon energy also falls when the body's circadian rhythm — or 24-hour cycle — is in a natural resting place. To help avoid a dip in energy, use part of your break to go for a brisk walk or take a trek up the stairs. Even just getting up and moving around can help. For example, try doing push-ups against a wall.

Doze, if doable. A big way to boost energy, Pai-Verma says, is a power nap — just 10 to 20 minutes: "It's basically a chance to recharge yourself." Research shows naps improve alertness. However, Pai-Verma warns against napping for longer than a half-hour, which can leave you feeling groggy.

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