Why does it always feel like 2am when it’s 2pm? For my third post as a Thought Leader for
I don’t think there’s anyone who hasn’t felt this; it’s just after lunch and your head is telling you it’s time for bed. You read the same line of the urgent document you are reviewing eight times and it still doesn’t make any sense. You’re yawning, your eyelids weigh a ton and your posture has slumped you into a kind of boomeranged blancmange. And yet, you have deadlines looming, an important meeting and at least three more hours before you can clock off.
So here are my top tips to making 2pm feel like 9am not 2am;
1. Head to the watering hole
So many people I know don’t drink nearly enough. The NH& MRC advise women to drink 2.1 litres of fluid a day and men 2.6 litres. More if it’s hot or you’re exercising. We know that being dehydrated by as little as 2% can drastically affect your brain’s performance leaving you feeling sluggish and your performance subpar. If you are feeling exhausted, try getting a few extra glasses of water (or cups of coffee!) into you! And if you can predict an afternoon slump ahead, try drinking more in the morning to head this problem off at the pass!
2. Bin your sugar
For many people, a quick sugar hit can be followed within an hour or so by a post sugar slump. In medical speak, this is reactive hypoglycaemia. At its worst, reactive hypoglycaemia comes packaged up with sweats, trembling, light headedness and weakness, even feinting. Given the amount of sugar in an energy drink, it is just as problematic as a Mars bar. Any benefits of the caffeine may be short lived indeed if the post sugar slump trumps them. To avoid an energy slump, stick to healthy food and water, coffee or tea during the day.
3. Walk it off
We have known for a while that boosting your daily exercise, even a little boosts your energy levels along with it. Researchers at the University of Georgia found that committed couch potatoes who took up just 20 minutes of low intensity exercise, three days a week for six weeks, felt less fatigued and more energized.
But the results of moving your legs and boosting your heart rate and blood flow can be instant, too. In an old but classic study out of California State University, sugar hits were pitted against short walks as instant energy boosters. A brisk 10 minute walk gave the people in the study a good two hours of extra energy while sugar gave a brief energy burst followed by a post sugar slump.
4. Stop skipping meals
Are you a breakfast skipper? Now fess up; do you get so busy you push off lunch as well? Your brain needs fuel and regular meals are essential for feeling energetic. Skip meals at your peril. Make sure you have breakfast, lunch and preferably a mid morning snack as well. Might mean waking up five minutes earlier to make breakfast and pack your food for the day.
5. The right stuff at lunch.
Have protein at lunch time. In a neat little study out of University of Leiden in the Netherlands, people who were given a meal containing the amino acid tyrosine (in protein foods like chicken, nuts, eggs, soy and cheese) performed better in a series of brain tests immediately after lunch than people who had no tyrosine. Tyrosine is a precursor to many of the neurotransmitter chemicals essential to brain function.
Bet you’re feeling energized already!