Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Does your afternoon need perking up?

Do you suffer from a post-lunch energy dip?  This some edited highlights from an article that appeared in The Independent with some useful tips on how to keep your batteries charged all day.

Research shows that the most common time for energy slumps is 2.16pm. This is when many people hit a brick wall – and wish they could hit a pillow. Low blood sugar and the body's circadian rhythm hitting a natural low are the culprits. But you can take action.

Don't fight it - Sleeping on the job was once grounds for dismissal but employers are coming round to power naps. After Cornell University found they increase productivity in the workplace, some US companies, including Nike and Deloitte Consulting, started encouraging employees to add an afternoon snooze to their to-do list, and some firms have installed beds or sleep pods.

Have an energy snack - Opt for a snack with low GI, such as oat cakes or hummus and carrot sticks, to raise your blood sugar levels steadily and keep them up. And ideally, eat your snack half an hour before you know you're likely to slump because it takes the body that long to convert what you eat to energy, says Wilkinson.

Revamp your lunch - Afternoon crashes are often the delayed result of too many simple sugars at a midday meal. Replace white bread, pastas and dessert with protein (chicken, tuna, hard-boiled eggs) and a slow-digesting carb (brown rice, lentils, sweet potato).

Drink some water - Dehydration causes fatigue. It diminishes the capacity of most of our organs, especially the brain, kidneys and skin. Keep a filled bottle on your desk so you're more likely to drink regularly and can monitor if you're getting enough.

Have some early nights - If you go to bed late, your sleep cycles get messed up and you may pay for it with a post-lunch sluggish feeling.

Take a break - As soon as you feel slothful, walk for 10 minutes, preferably outside. Rest and recovery in the day is one of the most effective ways to avoid a dip.

Change your work focus - Nothing can sap your energy like filling out an expenses report or listening in on a conference call. So save stimulating jobs for early afternoon. If you’re having a one-to-one meeting, why not go for walk? Walking and talking engages your mind and body.

Never skip breakfast - Low afternoon energy is down to what we eat from the moment we get up and this meal does what it says: refuels the body by breaking a fast. You'll need a healthy, sizable breakfast with complex (slow-digesting) carbohydrates and a little protein. Good choices include an egg on wholemeal toast, oats or sugar-free muesli with berries and natural yoghurt, or porridge with semi-skimmed milk and a banana.

What works for you?

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