I’m a nationally published sleep expert, journalist, and the mom of three young kids. I’ve been helping tired families sleep since 2007 (more about me here). Subscribe to The Well Rested Family for fresh news and tips on keeping your bunch happy and healthy. Thanks for stopping by!


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Quick Energy Fixes For When Sleep is Scarce

No matter how hard we try to stay well-rested, it’s not always doable. We all have times in life when sleep is scarce. When I’m missing sleep because the kids are sick, I’m finishing a big project, or I’m in the middle of a page-turner, I definitely feel it the next day.

Short of downing a mega-mug of coffee, is there anything you can do to feel brighter and more energetic when you’re not getting enough zzzzs? Yep, and thankfully, these fixes are quick and easy (and unlike extra-strength java, they won't leave you sweaty and jittery).

Do the Chew

According to a study from University of Northumbria, the act of chewing gum perks up the brain and increases memory recall. For double dose of energy, make it peppermint gum: In a study funded by NASA, researchers found that minty scents increased alertness by 30 percent.

Under Pressure

According to proponents of acupressure, stimulating pressure points can help beat fatigue. For an ancient energy-booster, hold the pressure point between your thumb and forefinger for a moment or two.

Move It

When you’re dragging, exercising may be the last thing you want to do, but a 10-15 minute workout can be the best anecdote to fatigue. To really give fatigue the boot, maintain a regular routine of moderate exercise: in this study from University of Georgia, people who exercised for 20 minutes, three times a week saw a 20 percent boost in energy levels and decreased their fatigue by 65 percent. 

Brighten Up

If you’re hanging out in a cozy cave of a room, you’ll probably feel sluggish. Dark environments tell your brain that sleepytime is near and cue the production of nighty-night neurochemicals melatonin and serotonin. In contrast, bright light wakes up the brain and helps banish the blahs. So pull back those curtains and let the sun shine in.

Top Up With Tunes

Music lights up your brain’s pleasure centers and can help jolt you out of an energy rut. Bonus: if your kids are around, put on some jams and jump around together! The musical mini-workout will do the whole family good.

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Reader Comments (1)

I needed this today! My husband woke up last night, said "Do you smell something burning?" then promptly went back to sleep, while I lay awake worrying all night! I've tried everything but the gum and the pressure points.

April 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAbby

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