Tired of feeling tired? Here’s how to recharge your batteries!
The key to feeling refreshed and awake, throughout the day, is good quality sleep. But modern life doesn’t always allow us 8 hours good kip every night. Working or playing can easily disrupt your cycle and stress can also keep you from falling asleep and wake you in the middle of the night.
So for those days when you just can’t seem to shake the tiredness, try these tips to give yourself a boost.
1. Sunlight, Caffeine & Cortisol
As soon as you awake, open your curtains and get sunlight into your day. Exposure to natural light first thing strengthens your circadian rhythm (your 24-hour body clock) and therefore helps you to get to sleep easier and wake up feeling refreshed. Always try to wake up at the same time 7 days a week as this further helps your body clock.
Early morning is also when we look for a cortisol boost. Cortisol is the hormone that is designed to make us feel more alert, and its release naturally peaks in the morning. It’s also released when we are stressed, often being referred to as the stress hormone.
Caffeine stimulates the release of cortisol in the body. So the tactical use of caffeine in the morning will definitely give you a sharp boost but don’t forget to stop after lunch, as it’s well known to keep us awake at night!
2. Go Out for a Run or Brisk Walk
If you have time, then go out for a run at lunchtime or at the very least get out in the fresh air and go for a decent walk. Running and exercise in general, helps your body release chemicals called endorphins. These feel good hormones can give you the natural euphoric boost you seek. Getting outside also means you get more sunlight and therefore more Vitamin D (sunlight creates Vitamin D in our body), which is also part of our natural wake up mechanism. Furthermore, exercise reduces stress and anxiety, boosts self-esteem, and is proven to improve sleep quality. So physical exercise around lunchtime will give you a boost and you’re less likely to hit the afternoon lull too.
3. Try Glucose Instead of Coffee & Biscuits in the Afternoon
After lunch, you usually get a crash where you might reach for the coffee and your favourite biscuits or chocolate bar. But it’s best to avoid all types of caffeine in the afternoon (this includes energy drinks and chocolate as well as coffee and conventional tea) and sugary foods and drink too. Apart from being unhealthy and potentially full of unwanted calories, they will also affect your ability to get off to sleep.
Try something like GLUCOTABS – handy 15-calorie tablets you can suck or chew for a great pick me up to beat the afternoon lull. Full of fast-acting glucose and totally free of artificial nastiness such as sodium and caffeine so you get a boost of what you need to get through the day, feeling alert, attentive and awake. The range is available in four fruity flavours and for only 89 pence – pick up yours from Boots.
4. Protein Bars Release Slow Energy
Protein bars are a good option, as they take longer to digest and therefore release energy slowly. Some protein bars are healthy yet sweet and tasty, so you can still have your sweet fix – there’s a wide variety of bars available but something as simple as an oat, nut and honey will do.
5. Power Naps
If there’s a quiet room at work or you are at home and you’re still struggling to get through the day, a power nap is a good option. A short nap of 20-30 minutes will improve mental alertness. Even better, a full 90-minute cycle nap will be restorative if you have that amount of time. Avoid naps between 30-60 minutes, as this will leave you feeling groggy, as you would be waking up from the deepest part of the sleep cycle. Typically, the best time to nap is around 2pm, the siesta period when our body would most naturally feel tired in the day.
Regular exercise helps you to achieve good quality sleep, something as simple as going for a walk can help. Check out the different ways of walking here in our Fitness & Endurance Ambassador’s blog.