Diet plays a huge part in both the quality of your sleep and your energy when awake. With three quarters of the work force in Canada saying that they are tired while at work, it’s time to do something different.
Like a roller coaster ride, blood sugar highs and lows plague the majority of our work force. Is it because of a bad night’s sleep or because of the food that’s eaten during the day?
All-day-long balanced energy happens when you eat whole foods (the least processed possible) that contain fibre, vitamins and minerals (also not found in processed foods), and a balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat.
Grabbing a coffee, a quick bowl of cereal and toast or a bagel for breakfast starts the roller coaster of energy highs and lows. One minute you’re ready to conquer your to-do list, race off to meetings and follow through on your ideas. After about half an hour, you’re ready to crawl under your desk for a power nap. That’s no way to get through your days!
Sleep and energy are a 24-hour cycle, and while you can eat in a certain way to get a boost when you’re low, it’s easier on all parts of your body when you’ve got a balanced rhythm going.
Let’s start with sleep.
Foods that help you sleep
Bananas contain the natural muscle-relaxants magnesium and potassium.
If you tend to wake in the middle of the night, eat complex carbs like oatmeal a couple of hours before bed, or have sweet potato with dinner instead of rice, bread or anything white.
Taking magnesium before bed can also help immensely with sleep.
Foods that don’t help you sleep
Fat. Burgers, steak, fries, cheese, and anything deep fried stimulates the production of acid in the stomach, which can spill up into your esophagus, causing heartburn.
Alcohol. While you may feel you need that wine or scotch after a hard day at the office, drinking alcohol can decrease your nightly sleep time by 19 minutes as well as keep you restless and diminish your quality of sleep.
Caffeine in coffee, soft drinks, black tea and chocolate. A Hershey’s special-dark bar has 20 milligrams of caffeine, about the same as half an ounce of espresso. Chocolate also contains theobromine, another stimulant that can increase heart rate and sleeplessness.
Foods for a spring in your step
More energy throughout the day starts with what you eat at breakfast. Even if you’re following intermittent fasting or a Keto diet, it’s what goes in first that sets the stage of your day. If you don’t have a protein-rich food like eggs, cottage cheese, meat, cheese or protein powder in a smoothie, you’re almost guaranteed to crash.
Want a more balanced day?
- WATER – drink a massive glass on waking and 3 litres throughout the day.
- Eat a substantial breakfast rather than a massive dinner. Have a three course breakfast of a smoothie (berries, milk and protein powder), eggs, and high-protein, high-fibre toast.
- Snack on almonds, pistachios, or walnuts with an apple instead of a scone, brownie or anything containing sugar.
- When did you crash yesterday? If it was at 3:00pm, have a snack half an hour before.
- Do you feel tired after lunch? Avoid bread, bagels, donuts, pastries and heavy, starchy carbs at lunch and make sure your lunch is no more than 2 hours after your last snack.
For further tips on having more balanced energy at work and throughout the day, listen to my segment with Jerry Agar on NewsTalk1010 radio: