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Better Ways to Get More Energy

girl listening to headphones in city

Does it seem like you keep going and going? With classes, homework, activities, a social life, chores, and maybe an after-school job, you might feel like you need more energy to be able to tackle it all. If you do, make choices that give you a healthy boost rather than drain you.

Energy Bump: More Zzz's

For maximum get-up-and-go power, you need 8-10 hours of rest a night. But teens usually get just 7 hours of sleep, studies suggest.

So do a little math. Figure out what time you need to wake up, count backward at least 8 hours, and try to go to bed then. Have to get up at 6:30? That means you should hit the sack by 10:30 p.m. at the latest.

If you find it tough to fall asleep right away, start relaxing an hour before bedtime. Set up a routine to follow each night when you get ready for bed, and keep away from your computer, TV, and phone so your brain can chill and fall asleep easier.

Energy Drain: Candy

That sugar rush won't last long, and it comes with a lot of empty calories. So reach for a snack with a healthy mix of protein, healthy fat, and carbs instead.

You could try:

  • Half a cup of trail mix
  • A banana with a spoonful of peanut butter
  • A cup of whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk

Energy Bump: Moving!

Sometimes when you're tired, you may want to veg out with some TV or computer time. But that's not going to give you the spark you need to get things done.

For a quick boost, your best bet may be to get up and active. You’ll feel better and have more energy as soon as you start moving, researchers say. That's because exercise ramps up the amount of brain chemicals that make you feel good, called dopamine and serotonin.

You don't have to go for a run or do an intense weight-lifting session to feel better. Keep it simple -- crank out 15 jumping jacks, take the dog for a walk, or play a pick-up game of basketball. Or earn brownie points with your parents by mowing the yard without being asked.

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