By now you have probably seen those little bottles at the cash register promoting quick, 5-hour energy boosts — and recently you may have noticed the newest addition to the quick-fix energy boost market: Energy Strips.
If you have followed my columns in the past, you already know that I am a big fan of the placebo effect, and regularly talk about how when human changes take place it is the belief about the expected change that serves as the catalyst for the change, and not the protocol, pill, or recommended procedure. Placebo effects become very powerful when we believe something is going to happen, especially things we really hope to happen (like putting a film strip on your tongue and moments later being magically awakened!).
Similar to the bottled water boom of 10 years ago, where all of a sudden folks were duped into thinking that bottled water when compared to tap water A.) tasted better, and B.) was safer — many people are falling prey to the same paradigm today concerning quick energy (* for the record countless empirical studies have shown bottled water is no safer, nor does it have any better taste, than normal tap water). Energy strips are convenient, cool, and to the untrained eye a very fast way to make up for the lack of sleep you had last night — but be careful, folks, as great marketing does not make a product (even if it’s LeBron James pitching it).
The reality is that there is no safe, effective solution for making up for the fact that you didn’t get enough rest/sleep. Similar to how a cup of coffee might give you a quick (albeit limited) “jolt,” at best that’s what you will get from the little bottles and strips of energy sold at the gas station. If you are vulnerable (typically don’t get enough sleep), and hopeful (would like a quick fix to your sleep problems), then you are a perfect target for these marketing campaigns (even though you are really buying more of a placebo than any legitimate energy booster).
Rather than getting jacked up on drinks and strips, you would be far better served to simply make it a point to get an adequate amount of down-time and sleep into your daily schedule. And while your first reaction to that comment might be “I’m too busy for rest,” I would challenge you to reconsider that statement and instead look for ways to better manage your daily living. I don’t doubt you are busy — we are all busy — but my question has to do with how you manage and prioritize your day, and how you do things like delegate, multi-task, and communicate? In my experience we can all do a better job in those areas, thereby freeing up more time for rest, relaxation, and sleep. The end result? No need to spend $3-4 for little bottles of liquid lightning or film strips of energy!
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