This is a huge area I discuss with my clients and often one that is causing a lot of grief. It’s hard to finish that proposal/chase that toddler/smash that PR in the gym if you feel like a zombie most of the time.
If this resonates with you, have a read through the initial areas I investigate and try adding some of these strategies to your week. 3 pm you will thank you.
Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables
I know I sound like a broken record but this is going to have a huge effect on your energy levels throughout the day for a number of reasons. It’s not only going to help stabilise your blood sugar levels throughout the day (more on this below), but also provide you with all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to effectively run all the little chemical processes that makeup energy metabolism. If your body doesn’t have enough of this stuff, it’s going to be sluggish. Make half of your plate at lunch and dinner full of vegetables, and have a piece of fruit with your breakfast and a snack throughout the day and you’re done. Easy!
Don’t Starve All Day and Feast All Night
Do you finish a perfectly normal dinner then eat everything in your pantry an hour later? Chances are you’re not fuelling yourself properly throughout the day. In an effort to reduce calories, people often drastically undercut their calorie requirements during the day (skipping snacks, chicken and salad for lunch) only to overcompensate at night. Not only does this lead to excess calorie consumption, but it also means we’re running on empty for most of the day. Not good. Throw some exercise into the mix and it gets even worse. Long story short, make sure you’re having sensible meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and maybe include a snack or two rather than living on nothing but willpower during the daylight hours.
Have Well Balanced Meals
Speaking of sensible meals, another important factor is the composition of our main meals. Aiming to have a good mix of lean protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats at each meal ensures you’re going to get smooth, sustained energy rather than the peaks and troughs in blood sugar that will have you reaching for that Kit Kat at 3 pm.
Get Enough Sleep
This may seem like a no brainer, but it’s a huge factor that many of us overlook. 5-6 hours of sleep a night does not cut it. Don’t argue with me. You’re wrong. Amazing things happen when we focus on getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Our risk of Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cognitive decline and certain types of cancer is decreased, while our ability to lose fat and gain muscle is increased. It can also reduce our desire to overeat while allowing us to push harder and recover better from our gym sessions. Convinced yet?!
I don’t have room to go into too much detail here, but if you Google “sleep hygiene” you’ll see some excellent examples of things to focus on pre-bed. Reducing screen time, reducing visible light, watching caffeine consumption and timing your dinner and shower properly are just some of the things you can do to help improve your ability to get to sleep!