You try and get eight hours sleep, eat breakfast and exercise regularly. So why are you so tired? New research has found that it’s not just crying babies or long work hours that rob us of energy – healthy habits can be just as damaging. You hear about the benefits of a new diet or exercise and can take it to extremes.
Here’s how to stay fit but have more bounce.
Catching up on ZZZs
When there’s nothing to drag you out of bed on the weekend, it’s tempting to keep snoozing – but this can leave you groggy. ‘Sleeping more over the weekend won’t make up for lost slumber during the week,’ says Kathleen McGrath, an insomniac expert.
‘It’ll just interfere with your pineal gland’s ability to produce the sleep hormone melatonin – which is why you’ll spend Sunday night counting sheep.’
Fight the fatigue: Stick to eight hours shut eye, even on the weekend. Still tired? Have a
30-minute nap in the afternoon. It’ll help you produce more melatonin for a better night’s rest.
Your morning shower
There’s nothing like a steaming shower to make you feel refreshed first thing. So why is it that somewhere between towelling off and getting dressed you’re ready to crawl back under the doona? ‘A hot shower raises your body’s temperature,’ explains Kathleen.
‘When it drops back to hormal, the brain produces melatonin and tells your body it’s time to sleep.’
Fight the fatigue: Work the effect a hot soak has on your body by having your scrub two hours before bedtime. That way, you’ll be out like a light as soon as your head hits the pillow. If you can’t live without your morning rinse, hit the cold tap in the shower for just a few seconds before you jump out as this kick-starts your nervous system and makes you feel full of zing.
A hearty breakfast
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. But if it’s too big, you may feel sapped of energy before lunchtime. A large meal loaded with sugar and refined carbs like white bread and sugary cereals drives blood sugar levels up but then you get an energy dip a few hours after eating.
Fight the fatigue: The trick here is to go for more protein at breakfast. It stabilises your blood sugar, which determines how peckish and energetic you feel. Have a slice of wholegrain toast with eggs or peanut butter. The proteins will give you 75% more energy.
Being a diet saint
While munching all day is not a good idea, not eating anything between meals isn’t either. Go for more than four hours without food and your blood sugar may drop and you’ll feel zonked. This can leave you cranky, lazy in the afternoon and ravenous by the time you get home.
Fight the fatigue. Eat five small meals to keep your energy levels on an even keel. Good choices include a handful of almonds or Ryvita with hummus.
Your gym membership
Exercising intensively daily can cause your body’s glutamine – the most abundant amino acid in out bodies – to crash, which can weaken your immune system. You’ll just feel wiped out.
Fight the fatigue: Listen to your body. If it says ‘ouch’, slow down. Have a few sessions doing something gentle, like swimming. This gives our muscles time to rest and recover from the physical strain you’ve put them through and keeps exercise fun.
I hope this helps
Live life to its fullest,
Rowell Bulan M.D.
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