Plan ahead
Did you know that sleeping six hours a night can, after a few weeks, make your brain as foggy as that of someone who has stayed awake for 36 hours nonstop? Late nights plugging away at your to-do list or entertaining guests could be to blame, but part of the problem may be artificial light, which suppresses the body's release of melatonin, the hormone that promotes a feeling of sleepiness. Dim the lights a few hours before your desired bedtime to help your body feel ready to go to sleep. A melatonin supplement (1-3 mg taken a few hours before bed) may also help prep your body for rest. Or try valerian ( Valeriana officinalis) to ease the transition to sleep; take 400 mg one hour before bedtime.

Too late?
Although nothing but actual sleep will repay your sleep debt, contrast hydrotherapy offers a quick pick-me-up if you simply don't have time to snooze. It might sound a bit barbaric, but it's invigorating—really. First, enjoy three minutes of a hot shower, as hot as you can stand it. Then dial it down to cold water for 30 seconds. Alternate between three minutes of hot and 30 seconds of cold for three sets, ending with cold. This simple technique stimulates circulation and promotes overall energy.

Green foods, such as the microalgae spirulina, chlorella, and Klamath Lake blue-green algae, as well as cereal grasses, such as barley grass and wheatgrass, provide concentrated nutrition to boost lagging energy. Mix 1-3 teaspoons of green foods (powder or flakes) with water or juice, but be prepared for a "grassy" taste; if you can't get used to it, try taking it in tablets or capsules.
How do you survive the holidays? Share your tips on how to stay healthy and happy this season by e-mailing us at or writing to Letters, Delicious Living, 1401 Pearl St., Boulder, CO 80302.