- Ensure your sleep is consistent and you maximize sleep hygiene.
- Green tea is not only good for the body, but good for your brain too.
- Your brain is 60% fat, so keep it topped up with healthy omega-3.
Do you regularly feel fatigued or sleepy throughout the day? If so, try these simple changes to your daily routine that can help you feel more energetic and ensure you make the most out of your day.
Ways to Fight Fatigue
Keep a Consistent Sleep Schedule
One really simple change you can make to your daily routine is to maintain a consistent sleep schedule each day to maximize your sleep quality. Going to bed and waking at the same time allows you to follow your body’s natural circadian rhythm and wake up feeling refreshed, as you should do after a good night’s sleep.
Additionally, try to wake up without an alarm clock – that way you wake up gradually, helping you feel more alert as you open your eyes. However, if you must use an alarm, try using one of the various sleep cycle smartphone apps to wake at the optimum time, when you are not in a period of deep sleep, which will leave you feeling groggy.
Drink to Your Health
If you’re feeling a slump in your energy level, try drinking a cup of green tea. Green tea has a huge number of documented health benefits, from its antioxidant function (1) and anti-inflammatory properties (1) to its cardio-protective effects (2). Green tea contains less caffeine than black tea or coffee, which means no mid-afternoon slump. Not only that, but green tea will help keep you hydrated. Try throwing in a slice of lemon to your tea for a vitamin C boost, too. Vitamin C is important for immune function as well as the health of your bones and connective tissue.
Get Plenty of Omega-3s
Healthy fats are vital for healthy brain function. Your brain is made up of nearly 60% fat (3) and as such ‘good’ fats provide some of the most important macronutrients to keep your brain healthy. Omega-3s, in particular the essential fatty acid DHA, help keep your brain working well and can aid or improve mental performance. Take an omega-3 supplement in the morning with breakfast to help keep your brain firing on all cylinders throughout the day.
Try meditating once a day to help clear the mind and relieve stress. Meditation has been proven clinically to lower blood pressure (4), helps you feel more relaxed and improves your health. Evidence also suggests that meditation can even change the structure of your brain, in particular the regions in the brain associated with attention. Take 5-10 minutes out of your day to be alone with your thoughts, without any interruptions. Take slow, deep breaths, keep your eyes open and become aware of your surroundings. As you get more familiar with the process of meditation you can do it more than once a day and for longer periods of time.
Eat Some Berries
If you’re feeling hungry in between meals, try snacking on a handful of berries. They contain the lowest sugar content of any fruit but provide a convenient snack to help you beat the mid-afternoon energy slump. Berries are packed full of fiber and vitamin C and some, such as blueberries, also contain powerful antioxidants (5) which can reduce inflammation.
Treat Yourself To Dark Chocolate
Instead of berries, you can instead choose a small piece of dark chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa, which is relatively low in sugar and preferably organic. This will provide your body with flavanols, which may improve your general brain functioning including your memory. Dark chocolate also contains very small amounts of stimulants such as caffeine and theobromine, which can help you get the most from your day.
Chocolate also stimulates the release of feel-good chemicals known as endorphins (6) that can result in a positive feeling! Additionally the cardioprotective properties of dark chocolate have been recognized for some time and it may provide even more antioxidant benefits than tea or wine (7).
Get Your B Vitamins
B-Vitamins, which include vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and folic acid play a fundamental role in energy levels. They are water-soluble and directly involved in the mitochondrial function – the cellular power plants – of your body (8). If you are deficient in the B vitamins you may experience low energy levels or perhaps even low mood because they are also required for the production of important neurotransmitters such as serotonin (9), which play a key role in the regulation of mood.
Try A Standing Desk
The health dangers of sitting at a desk all day are becoming ever more recognized. Sitting for long periods through the day has catastrophic effects on your body and mind. Sitting for just four hours leads to a massive reduction in your body’s capacity to burn calories. Sitting also adversely affects your blood sugar and leads to changes in your muscle function. Standing not only counteracts these effects, but also keeps your blood flowing and your mind more alert. Put simply, it’s much harder to feel sleepy at your desk if you’re standing up! Standing at your desk regularly will improve your posture, help burn extra calories and improve your core strength. Stuck at a desk all day? We have some more tips to help you stay active at work.
Beet/ Beetroot juice
Try drinking a small amount of beet (beetroot) juice each day. Not only can it benefit exercise performance, but as it improves blood flow to keep your brain sharp. The high content of nitrates in beetroot juice results in the production of a gas called nitric oxide in your blood that acts to widen your blood vessels, improve blood flow and also helps to lower blood pressure (9). Beet juice is also packed full of healthy minerals, including magnesium, sodium and potassium.
On average, the human body is composed of somewhere between 55%-75% water, so it’s important for you to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Your brain also benefits as drinking water helps you to stay focused and more alert. Aim for at least 3 liters per day.
1. Bogdanski, Pawel, et al. “Green tea extract reduces blood pressure, inflammatory biomarkers, and oxidative stress and improves parameters associated with insulin resistance in obese, hypertensive patients.” Nutrition research 32.6 (2012): 421-427.
2. Li, Nana, Yue Zhao, and Yuerong Liang. “Cardioprotective effects of tea and its catechins.” (2013).
3. Chang, Chia-Yu, Der-Shin Ke, and Jen-Yin Chen. “Essential fatty acids and human brain.” Acta Neurol Taiwan 18.4 (2009): 231-41.
4. Anderson, James W., Chunxu Liu, and Richard J. Kryscio. “Blood pressure response to transcendental meditation: a meta-analysis.” American journal of hypertension 21.3 (2008): 310-316.
5. Wang, Hong, Guohua Cao, and Ronald L. Prior. “Oxygen radical absorbing capacity of anthocyanins.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 45.2 (1997): 304-309.
6. Kelishadi, Roya. “Cacao to cocoa to chocolate: healthy food?.” ARYA Atheroscler 1.1 (2010).
7. Lee, Ki Won, et al. “Cocoa has more phenolic phytochemicals and a higher antioxidant capacity than teas and red wine.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 51.25 (2003): 7292-7295.
8. Depeint, Flore, et al. “Mitochondrial function and toxicity: role of the B vitamin family on mitochondrial energy metabolism.” Chemico-biological interactions 163.1 (2006): 94-112.
9. Herbison, Carly E., et al. “Low intake of B-vitamins is associated with poor adolescent mental health and behaviour.” Preventive medicine 55.6 (2012): 634-638.
10. Siervo, Mario, et al. “Inorganic nitrate and beetroot juice supplementation reduces blood pressure in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” The Journal of nutrition 143.6 (2013): 818-826.