Whether you have had a long work day or week, have been busy driving the kids around, or pushed yourself hard with extracurricular activities it is bound to happen at some point. It not only makes everything seem more difficult and reduces your productivity, but also negatively impacts your safety.
Twice as many accidents occur in the second half of the shift compared to the first half, and major industrial accidents such as Chernobyl and Three Mile Island have largely been attributed to operator fatigue. Disturbed circadian rhythms due to shiftwork, long work days or travel are some of the biggest contributors to fatigue and can’t be overlooked. The annual cost of sleep related accidents due to disturbed circadian rhythms has been estimated to be in the billions of dollars for both companies and workers.
Preventing fatigue is important through proactive measures, but the real trick to optimizing your energy is to do the right things once fatigue sets in to quickly get back on track. Often times, when people get tired they fall back into their old poor habits. Eating more of their favorite junk food, not getting enough healthy exercise or increasing their alcohol consumption are just a few examples. These only contribute further to fatigue however and so it is more important than ever at these times to stay on track with your healthy living goals. Here are some specific examples of what you can do to help keep your energy amped up:
- If you aren’t sleeping well than it is difficult for the body to recuperate and for you to feel energized.
- Try eating some complex carbs before bed. A piece of fruit, yogurt, a definitions bar, or even a glass of milk. These are all great options to satisfy our natural carb/sugar cravings
before bed. By eating this before bed your body doesn’t feel the need to stay up and find food, so it will relax easier.
- Try working out before work, not after. Stress hormones are lowest before bed which allow you to fall asleep. Working out late at night releases these hormones and keeps you alert. If you exercise prior to work then you will have a more regular hormone profile for the day and benefit from the energy rush exercise gives you.
- Be sure to cut down on alcoholic drinks before bed (especially sugary alcoholic drinks). Many people believe that alcohol helps them get to sleep, but it also elevates
stress hormone levels and reduces the recuperative quality of sleep.
- Make sure you use your bed only for sleep (and maybe one other thing). The bedroom
in general should be conducive to relaxation so limit clutter and control for light and noise.
TV’s are a no no.
WAYS TO INCREASE ENERGY THROUGHOUT THE DAY
- Drink water all-day and only consume caffeine in the morning. Avoid juice and pop; instead eat real food. People don’t realize that these drinks have sugar which causes peaks and valleys of energy. Drink a glass of water immediately upon waking up.
- Have an adequate breakfast but manage carbohydrates (1 serving only). Make sure you have a serving of protein and take your omega 3’s and vitamin D (1000-2000 ius a day during winter) with breakfast.
- Have 2 energy breaks at work a day for 5-10 minutes each (brisk walk, walk stairs, stretching, deep breathing or a quick body weight workout) best times are mid morning and mid afternoon. Very important for stimulating circulation and keeping nutrients flowing through the body for energy.
- Drink green tea in the afternoon to revitalize the mind and increase metabolism and energy stores
- Have a supper with some protein, vegetables and a small serving of whole grain starches.
- Have a to-do list or other organization system so you are not wasting energy running through things in your head. Focus on the short-term. Thinking too much about things in the future contributes to burnout and diverts your energy from what you can do and control today.
SUPPLEMENTS TO ENHANCE SLEEP AND INCREASE ENERGY
- There are many supplements available to help give you better sleep and increased energy. Depending on your specific issues, particular vitamins, minerals, herbal adaptogens and more can help ensure your body is operating efficiently and producing energy easily. They can help reverse nutrient depletion and make you more resilient to physical and mental
stressors that can lead to fatigue.
- There are many things to consider when trying to decide what the best supplement would be for you. It is therefore important to talk with a fitness professional who can help find the best option for you.
If you do some or all of these tactics you will improve your energy, health and body composition significantly and get quality deep sleep. Sweet dreams…