Want everlasting energy? Boost your health and happiness in a day
And stay awake! 'Relying on the snooze button will just make you more tired,' says sleep expert Dr Irshaad Ebrahim from the Harley Street London Sleep Centre (www .londonsleepcentre.com). 'The last hour or so before you wake up is when you should be in your longest period of REM sleep, linked to learning and memory. The on-off effect of dozing and waking causes shifts in brainwave patterns and shortens your quota of REM sleep, resulting in a hangover effect throughout the day. The best way to wake feeling fully rested is to set your alarm clock for a realistic time and stick to it.' he says.
Physiotherapists claim that just two minutes of stretching as soon as you wake up could prevent a vast number of back problems. 'In bed, lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat, gently pull your knees up to your chest so your back is rounded. Then rock your knees gently ten times. Your back is least flexible in the morning, making you more prone to injury, so this exercise limbers you up for the day ahead,' says charted physiotherapist Sammy Margo (www.sammymargo.com).
It really is the best way to start the day. The lemon gives you a shot of immune-boosting vitamin C while the honey, if it's manuka honey, is great for boosting your digestive health. 'Manuka honey has high levels of antibacterial properties, which have been shown to neutralise helicobacter pylori bacteria in the stomach, linked to bloating and digestive disorders,' says nutritionist Fiona Kirk (www.fionakirk.com). 'It's estimated that 50% of the UK population are infected with this bacteria so 1tsp of manuka honey in your morning cuppa (ideally 30 minutes before breakfast) is a great way to support good digestive health. Manuka honey may also help to protect against colds and bugs, and recent studies have shown that it may help to prevent gum disease.' Look for brands labelled as UMF10+ (which are guaranteed to have proven levels of manuka's unique active properties), such as Rowse Manuka Honey, £10.99, from supermarkets.
'Not only is it quicker than bathing (and better for the environment), but showering increases your heart rate and blood flow, improves circulation and stimulates your senses so you feel more alert,' says naturopath Dr Caroline Longmore from Galen Naturopathic Centre, (www.galennaturopathic.com). 'It helps detoxify, too, while sending oxygen and nutrients to your tissues to repair damage.' For an extra boost, add a few drops of essential oils such as orange, lemon, grapefruit or mandarin to a flannel and lay it on the floor of your shower. 'The hot water releases the scents from the oils, giving you an energising steam,' she says.
While most of us now know that G-strings can encourage bacteria to travel forwards, increasing the risk of cystitis, did you realise that the current trend for figure-shaping underwear can also be detrimental to your health? 'Over time, wearing constrictive underwear to give you an illusion of slimness will stop you using your stomach and bottom muscles, and they'll become weak and flabby,' says Sammy Margo. So pop on good old-fashioned cotton briefs, and while you're at it, wear some cosy socks, too. About 10% of the population catch a cold when their feet get chilled so keep your tootsies warm and dry, just in case.
'Before you go to bed, put 2 handfuls of raw oats, 1tbsp raisins and/or sultanas and 6 walnuts/almonds in a bowl, cover with fresh orange or pineapple juice and leave overnight in the fridge,' says Fiona Kirk. 'By the morning all the ingredients will have plumped up, making them more digestible. Add a generous dollop of natural live yogurt, top with slices of fresh pear and/or apple, and finish with 1tbsp ground mixed seeds. This breakfast contains a great balance of protein, healthy fats, carbohydrates, "good" bacteria, fibre, vitamins and minerals - the perfect breakfast booster.'
'Bad hair days' affect confidence more than any other aspect of your appearance, say scientists at Yale University, US. In a study, they found that people who were unhappy with their hair had lower self-esteem, more self-doubt and were less confident in social situations. Another Canadian study found that two thirds of women would shun social events and even doctor's appointments if they weren't happy with their looks! So feel sexy and confident all day by spending that extra ten minutes getting your hair in perfect condition.
Read a book when travelling, says Professor Ron Eccles from the Cardiff Cold Centre. 'Not only does it stimulate your brain, but I always anchor my hands on a good book when I take the bus because it stops me touching infected surfaces and picking up someone else's germs,' he says.
...and don't check them again until lunchtime, says internet psychologist Graham Jones (www.grahamjones.co.uk). 'Two million emails are sent every minute in the UK and we spend up to half our working day trawling through our inbox, which leaves us tired, frustrated and unproductive,' he says. Studies show that one third of office workers suffer from email stress, and that the constant interruption of messages causes your IQ to drop by ten points - more than double the four-point fall seen after smoking marijuana! 'Move the emails you need to deal with to an "Action" folder, delete the rest, and then set aside a time once a day to deal with the "Action" folder.'
Dried fruits such as apricots and prunes are a rich source of iron, a mineral vital for energy and concentration. A Government report has found that 91% of women don't get enough iron from their diets, which can lead to anaemia. Even slightly low levels can cause fatigue. Iron is also found in liver, red meat and green leafy veg. Alternatively, take a natural iron supplement, such as Spatone, £6.49 for a four-week supply.
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