If you’ve ever had ‘that’ morning feeling, or an afternoon slump, this blog is for you. Super boost your energy in a morning and make sure you keep going to bedtime, then sleep like a baby.
As the summer draws to a close and the Autumn draws nearer, we start to feel a shift in our bodies, and our energy levels. This week I’ll take a short dip into the science behind that shift, give you a couple of energy routines and some key pointers for keeping your energy boosted.
Melatonin production is linked to light and dark, so less sunlight means more melatonin, and along with it comes that tired feeling.
Dr. Michael Howell, a sleep specialist with the University of Minnesota, warns that once those shorter days kick in and sunlight hours get less, this has a significant impact our body’s natural rhythm. Interestingly, he also states that morning sunlight is the most important daylight for signalling our brains to stay awake longer into the day. So you’re going to want to get some of that into your daily routine.
There’s a whole host of other reasons linked to feeling sleepy, low in Iron, B vitamins or flavonols, hormone imbalance, continued stress, seasonable adjustment disorder and so on. Nonetheless, for an otherwise healthy human being there are things you can do to keep your energy levels (and minds) super boosted.
Daily Energy Routine – 5 Minutes:
By Donna Eden
This is a simple energy routine that anyone can do every day in five to seven minutes to establish positive “energy habits” in their bodies.
QiGong Routine – 10 Minutes:
By QiGong expert Lee Holden
Chi or Qi is the life force energy animating through your body and in nature, and gong means “to work with”…so qigong means “to work with our life force energy”
Eat the Rainbow:
There’s a difference between eating for calories and eating for energy. First and foremost, know your own body and be mindful of how you feel throughout the day, after the food you eat, this is your biggest indicator of whether you’re doing the right thing for you. There’s no magic wand here but it is (relatively) straight forward.
Different colour fruit and vegetables indicate different nutrients, by eating colourfully you’re more likely to be getting a good range of what you need to keep your body health and your energy levels up. Whilst it’s true that eating lots of protein is necessary for staving off fatigue, especially early on in the day when your cortisol levels are high, eating large portions of red meats that are hard for our guts to digest (aka steak) is going to drain you, not boost you. Choose a protein that’s easier on your digestive system, for example eggs for breakfast are a good option, perhaps throw in a slice of ham under your poached egg or chopped up into an omelette for an extra boost. If that doesn’t float your boat or you want a change try something like a natural yogurt with a chopped banana and a spoon of protein powder added, you could do similar to your overnight oats or porridge.
Eating only carbohydrates will see your energy levels crash (and your mood); not eating regularly can do the same. So if you’re prone to slumping, keep your blood sugars up in between meals with healthy snacks such as fruit, seeds, and nuts. Bananas are a great energy booster if you’ve hit a slump. If you’re on an intermittent fasting day, keep sipping the water and fruit smoothies (with a boost of protein powder).
Dehydration causes us both physical and mental issues, and quicker than you might think. If your body isn’t properly hydrated, your blood volume drops. The result is your body working harder than normal to supply your cells with oxygen, and in walks tiredness. You don’t have to slavishly drink large volumes of water, just mindfully have water with you and sip it throughout the day. Choose water over some of your daily tea and coffee, especially in the evening.
Exercise & getting outdoors:
Tempting though it is to curl up on the sofa at night or huddle inside through the day, this will only reduce your overall energy and vitamin D levels. A boost of serotonin is what you want to be aiming for. Think about weaving exercise into a morning routine (remember Dr Howell’s advice further up); you might want to get off the bus or train a stop early, or park your car further away so you have more of a walk. If that doesn’t work for you, try getting out for a walk at lunch time.
If you’re home before the sunset, get outdoors on your bike or go for a run. If you can’t get outdoors on a night, consider an exercise class indoors.
There is evidence to suggest that our monophasic sleep pattern (i.e. sleep and awake in 2 chunks within 24 hours), may not be true to our human nature. The Sleep Foundation state that a short nap of around 20-30 minutes provides great benefit for improved alertness and performance, without leaving you feeling groggy, or interfering with your bedtime routine. I’m a HUGE fan of napping.
Time for relaxation:
This kind of goes hand in hand with sleep too. Having a regular unwind time and time to relax your mind and body from a busy day will pay you back in energy and happiness. Don’t make excuses, set your time, work it into your schedule and honour yourself with that downtime.
Relaxation may come in the form of a meditation, a mini spa, drawing, reading (for fun), knitting, a long bath or whatever relaxes you.
It’s all about balance. Too much sleep can leave you feeling sluggish during the day, not enough will, well, leave you feeling sluggish during the day. The benchmark figure is around eight hours of sleep a night, and having a regular goodnight and wake up time each day, will help your body regulate your sleep much better. Additionally, the NHS advise not to drink too many stimulants, found in tea, coffee, fizzy pops and energy drinks, during the day as this can disturb your natural sleep patterns.
The Sleep Foundation also recommend that your sleep environment is restful and conducive to helping you fall asleep.
Get to the root cause of stress:
Stress often leaves you feeling drained, so if something is regularly stressing you out or you’re getting stressed easily, you’re going to want to get to the root cause of it, and put some strategies in place. Have a peek at my blog ‘Stress: the facts & fixes’
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Share your experience
Please leave a comment, I would love to hear from anyone who tries these techniques, what was it like? How did it work (or not)?
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