Last updated: Jun 19, 2008

If your typical day is so draining that youre practically comatose by dinnertime, a great nights sleep may seem like the only remedy. Why not recharge while youre awake? Thatll help you power through your killer schedule, says Mary Ann Bauman, MD, author of Fight Fatigue: Simple Steps to Maximize Your Energy, and may even help you sleep better when you finally get the chance. Try this all-day-energy makeover.


8 a.m.
Do breakfast right

Skip the French toast sticks and hash browns—a quick rush of simple sugars that can leave you tired hours later—and reach for six ounces of Greek yogurt. Mix in a cup of fruit and a few tablespoons of granola for a light meal thats rich in protein and healthy fats.

10 a.m.
Fill your water bottle

Staying hydrated fends off sluggishness by moving nutrients through the body. Plus, water has no problem ingredients like sugar (extra calories) or caffeine (a diuretic that can leave you jittery), so make this the first of several fill-ups.

11 a.m.
Check in with a friend

Mentally changing focus at least once a day fights brain fatigue. Nows the time to take a break and call or email a friend. (Dont feel guilty about it.) Try to keep the conversation upbeat.

Noon
Select smart carbs

When youre slammed, its tempt­ing to sub an instant-energy candy bar for a real meal. Not so fast. “The carbs in sugary foods will give you only a short burst of energy,” Dr. Bauman says. Instead, try a dose of energizing complex carbs, perhaps some turkey and light-Swiss cheese on whole-wheat bread, plus a few apple slices.

2 p.m.
Let the sunshine in

Our bodies are synced to the circadian rhythm of daylight and darkness, so taking 10 minutes to soak up some rays offers a natural wake-up call. Even cloud-filtered light can stave off sleepiness. If weather permits, add a brief, brisk walk to get your blood circulating.

4 p.m.
Pat yourself on the back

About now, its easy to fixate on unfinished tasks. But beware of these “energy thieves,” Dr. Baumans term for thoughts that annoy or disappoint us. Make a quick list of todays accomplishments—even “I got to work on time!” counts.

6 p.m.
Dodge the couch

The energy-wise will get their 20 minutes (or more) of jogging, strength-training, or yoga now. Exercise can actually help you sleep well, which, Dr. Bauman says, is the key to starting the next day with power to spare.