The shorter days and longer nights that characterize late fall and winter may have you reaching for an extra cup of coffee or yawning more often than you’d like. The U.K.’s National Health Service says this is because the difference in daylight causes disruption to our normal sleeping patterns. Our brains produce more melatonin because there is less sunlight, and we fall victim to feeling fatigued.
But before your reach for that third cup of coffee to combat your energy slump, consider this: Could changing your eating habits provide you with some of that desperately needed vitality? Caffeine can be a great energy source, but a cup of coffee will have effects lasting about two hours — great for immediate help, less so for a sustainable productivity spark. Mary Ellen Camire says ”you get a little bit of a slump” after the coffee wears off.
When consumed in the late afternoon, coffee may also keep people awake, contributing to less sleep and more fatigue. It is unlikely that coffee will be replaced in the daily routine of Americans, more than half of whom report they drink a cup each day. However, if you’re looking for another way to energize, here are five foods to keep your energy elevated all winter long.