Sometimes you need a little “pick me up,” but what do you reach for? The usual suspect is caffeine. But, did you know there are many different ways you can boost brain power and feel more alert? Here are what some experts recommend.

Take A Power Nap

One of the best ways you can increase your mood and improve mental clarity is to take a power nap. Yes, sleeping. It’s low-tech and it works almost every time. Most people don’t spend enough time sleeping, so they’re chronically sleep deprived. A 5 to 15 minute nap might be all you need.

You can usually sleep up to 45 minutes without your body shutting down completely and without disrupting your normal circadian rhythm. Of course, if you’re sleep deprived, it’s probably already messed up so you will probably be improving the way your body handles stress and recover, even if you take yourself out of your normal, abnormal, sleep cycle.

Sleeping puts you into a recovery mode, because it’s inherently restful. When you do sleep, your body is able to repair itself, and relax the brain, putting it into a different state. Different hormones, and even brain waves, are active when you sleep. If you had caffeine this morning, don’t sweat it. You can still get in a power nap.

In fact, it might help you if you have some caffeine in you. In effect, you will take advantage of the abnormal “tired and wired” phenomenon that happens when you have too much caffeine.

Most people see a benefit immediately upon waking. If you’re sleeping less than 7 hours a night, then consider taking a power nap before noon. It may just be the best Rx for energy.

Try L-Theanine

L-theanine is a compound found naturally in green tea. It’s one of the top 10 smart drugs in the world. The reason it’s so popular is because it has the rare ability to actually change the brain waves being emitted by your brain.

L-theanine boost alpha waves, which promotes a calm, yet alert, state. It’s great for people who have trouble concentrating or who have had too much caffeine. Most experts recommend dose levels of 200 mg, spread out throughout the day.

Get More Sun

This is another simple way to improve your energy levels without taking drugs or supplements. Get outside and bask in the warmth of the sun. It’s a great way to make vitamin D — a vitamin-turned-hormone that protects your body against a wide range of illnesses, including cancer.

UVB rays are known to cause sunburn, but they only do so when you overexpose your skin to them. Otherwise, UVB increases the amount of melanin in your skin, which is a natural “sunblock.” When this happens, your body also responds by converting cholesterol in the skin into vitamin D and sulphur.

In addition, UVA rays oxidize the melanin created by UVB rays, which gives you the “sun-kissed” look. Too much sun, obviously, will burn you. But, getting some sun not only feels good, it’s necessary for health.

Many people believe they can get vitamin D in supplement form. But, this is a different form of vitamin D than what you get from the sun. Vitamin D3-sulfate is more readily useable by the body, does not depend on LDL cholesterol for transport, and is made directly in the cells where it is needed.

Sean Goddard is working as a trainee pharmacist. Always keen to add to his medical knowledge Sean enjoys reading various medical journals and writes on health topics in his spare time.

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