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In today’s world, we want it all. We want perfect energy during the day to be ultra productive and tackle all one thousand things on our to-do list, and we also want complete and total calm at night in order to fall asleep easily and rest well.
But what many of us haven’t figured out yet is that having energy during the day and being calm and ready for rest at night is a delicate balance within our bodies, and going too far out of balance one way or another can cause us to have trouble staying within that cycle.
What you do during the day will set you up for either being calm and relaxed at night or anxious and high strung. What you do at night and how well you sleep will determine your energy levels for the following day. And too many people are robbing Peter to pay Paul, downing too much coffee, energy drinks and sugar during the day, only to have a hard time coming down off it all at night for good rest. They sleep poorly, and then they wake up groggy and lethargic the next morning. And the cycle continues.
To better get back into sync with the balance and rhythm your body naturally wants to follow, you can utilize certain foods and drinks to naturally energize during the day, and others to calm you at night to prepare your body for restful, restorative sleep. Here are some of our favorites:
CACAO | Cacao that has been minimally processed, like cacao nibs, cacao powder or high quality dark chocolate, has numerous health benefits and tops our list of our favorite energizing foods. Cacao is a mild stimulant and it also increases serotonin in our brains, which is one of our feel-good chemicals hence cacao’s mood-enhancing properties. Try a little cacao powder or a few nibs sprinkled on oatmeal, in smoothies or on your favorite yogurt, or try one of our favorite brands of high quality cacao treats. We love Living Raw truffles, Honey Mama’s Cacao Nectar bars and Hail Merry’s dark chocolate tarts.
CINNAMON | So easy to use because it tastes good on literally everything and can be sprinkled abundantly, cinnamon is known to help stabilize blood sugar levels, which not only helps to energize but can also help control hunger and cravings. Sprinkle it anywhere and everywhere – on oats, on roasted sweet potatoes and even in your tea.
GREEN TEA | Green tea contains just a small amount of caffeine, about a third of what’s in a cup of coffee, but the energy lift from green tea is much milder and gentler on the body than a cup of coffee which can sometimes leave us feeling jittery and downright irritable. If you need a tiny energy boost in the afternoon, ditch the cup of coffee which will likely keep you up at night, and choose a cup of green tea instead, with honey or stevia if you need it a little sweet. Bonus points for the fact that green tea is loaded with antioxidants that are beneficial for reducing inflammation in the body, and also benefit skin health and immunity.
PEPPERMINT | The scent alone of peppermint is known to increase alertness and to decrease fatigue. A cup of peppermint tea is our mid-morning go-to for a little energy boost before lunchtime. We also love to keep a bottle of peppermint essential oil close by which we use to basically douse our entire body when we need a little boost. Dr. Bronner’s makes a fantastic peppermint soap that is hands down the best for waking us up in the mornings. Stock it in your shower, asap (trust us).
To Calm + Relax:
COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES | Complex carbohydrates stimulate the release of that feel-good brain chemical serotonin, putting you into a relaxed, comforted state of being before you wind down for bed. Our go-to’s are baked potato, baked sweet potato or brown rice at dinner.
LEAFY GREENS | Leafy greens are high in magnesium, which is a mineral that relaxes and helps to calm the nervous system. We tend to need more magnesium when we experience higher stress levels, and with our busy, always on-the-go lifestyles, so many of us are constantly under daily stress and might be depleted in magnesium without even knowing it. Mix leafy greens into your dinner menu to give your body a magnesium boost.
HERBAL TEA | Any herbal tea is great (herbal means caffeine-free), but those made with herbs like lavender or chamomile are especially relaxing, calming and rest-promoting. The ritual of holding and drinking a warm beverage at night is calming in and of itself, and also helps to quiet sugar cravings. We love any of the herbals from Yogi Tea.