After weeks of sunny days having fun outdoors and relaxing with friends and family, the summer holidays are finally coming to a close and you are getting back to your old routine. Even though you may feel sufficiently rejuvenated after the summer holidays, today’s fast-paced, busy lifestyles make fatigue and low energy levels a common complaint when work life starts to ramp up in the fall. Many factors can contribute to low daytime energy levels including a poor diet, lack of exercise, inadequate sleep, and stress. Disruptions to the body’s natural internal clock (circadian rhythm), such as those caused by irregular shift-work, changing sleeping schedules, and frequent travel, can also interfere with long-term sleep quality and prompt fatigue.
Fatigue makes everyday activities more difficult, reduces productivity and concentration, and negatively impacts your health. When your daytime energy levels are chronically low, you are less likely to exercise regularly, prepare healthy meals or engage in other health-promoting activities. In fact, when people are tired, they typically fall into poorer and poorer health habits that continue make fatigue worse, leading to a cycle that is tough to break. For example, when you are tired you may eat more junk food, sit on the couch instead of exercising, and/or increase alcohol consumption which contribute to and exacerbate low energy levels.
Here are 6 tips to stay on track and fight fatigue at work:
1. DRINK MORE WATER THROUGHOUT THE DAY TO KEEP WELL HYDRATED.
Even mild dehydration can lead to tiredness and poor concentration. A 1% drop in hydration can lead to as much as a 12% drop in productivity. Sip on a water bottle throughout the day and start each meal and snack with a glass of water. Avoid juice, pop, and other sugary drinks – these have extremely high levels of simple sugars, which can cause drastic dips in energy. Need a boost? Click here to join the 9 Day Hydration challenge and enjoy the many positive health benefits of improved hydration.
2. CAFFEINATE CAUTIOUSLY.
While caffeine is effective at improving alertness and wakefulness, it can also interfere with your ability to fall and stay asleep at night, especially if consumed later in the day. Try to only consume caffeine in the morning and then switch to water or decaffeinated herbal teas (such as mint tea) later in the day. If you need a caffeine fix in the afternoon, try to have your last cup at least 6 hours before going to bed.
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3. EAT AT REGULAR INTERVALS THROUGHOUT THE DAY TO KEEP YOUR BLOOD SUGAR AND ENERGY LEVELS STABLE.
Start with a healthy, protein and fibre rich, low-sugar breakfast soon after waking, and then eat at least every 4-5 hours. At each meal, include a combination of complex carbohydrates, colourful vegetables, and lean protein. If your meals are spaced far apart, include a few healthy snacks to keep hunger and fatigue at bay.
4. OPT FOR COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES INSTEAD OF SIMPLE SUGARS.
Complex carbs take longer to digest, thereby providing a more sustained and long-lasting energy source. When choosing a carbohydrate source, look for whole grains, legumes and vegetables. If you are looking for something sweet choose whole fruit instead of candy bars or other baked goods. Want to kick your sugar habit? Click here to try our free 30-day no sugar challenge.
5. ENJOY TWO ENERGY BREAKS AT WORK EACH DAY FOR 5-10 MINUTES EACH
Take a brisk walk, stretch, engage in deep breathing, run up the office stairs, or opt for a quick whole-body workout. Squeeze in one mid-morning and one mid-afternoon energy break to refuel and revitalize your mind. Breaking up your day with activity will stimulate circulation and keep energizing nutrients flowing through your body.
6. MAKE SLEEP A PRIORITY.
Canada is among the most sleep deprived countries in the world with about 1 in 3 of us being chronically sleep deprived. There are a wide variety of resources, tools, and strategies out there for individuals who have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
Here are a few tips:
- Try eating a small snack before going bed containing complex carbohydrates and a small amount of protein. Examples include Greek yogurt, cottage cheese and fruit, or whole grain toast with peanut butter.
- Consider exercising before work instead of after work. Exercising too close to bedtime can cause an increase in hormones that can interfere with your ability to fall asleep. Squeezing in a workout before heading to work will help boost a more natural, energizing daily hormone profile. Plus, you can take advantage of this post-workout energy rush to get your day started off on the right foot!
- Limit alcohol consumption, especially close to bedtime – click here for more info. You may find that alcohol helps you to fall asleep initially, but alcohol actually can interfere with the recuperative quality of sleep, leading to difficulty staying asleep and poorer quality sleep overall.
- Your bedroom should be a place of relaxation. Try to limit clutter in the bedroom and control for light and noise. Avoid watching TV and using your Smartphone close to bedtime, answering work emails in bed, or staring at other screens (computers, tablets etc.), as the blue light emitted from such screens can interfere with your sleep cycle. If you need to look at a screen soon before bed, try using it at the dimmest setting possible or wear blue-light filtering glasses.
Everybody goes though occasional episodes of fatigue, but when fatigue comes with other symptoms like dizziness, or lasts longer than a week or two, you may consider talking to a doctor. Connect instantly with a healthcare professional from the comfort of your home with Medisys On-Demand.