It’s Christmas and pretty difficult to refuse the constant offers of mince pies, cake and chocolates. Thing is, whilst all foods provide energy, some – particularly sugary and processed ones – break down quicker sending your blood sugar levels soaring then crashing leaving you feeling drained. Rob Hobson, Healthspan Head of Nutrition said: “The key is ensuring you maintain blood sugar levels by eating regularly throughout the day and including plenty of complex carbohydrate foods (brown rice/pasta, quinoa, pulses) to ensure you have an adequate energy supply.“Add protein, including eggs, meat, fish, pulses and cheese to those complex carbs and you get slow release energy which keeps you going for hours.“Other excellent edible energisers are apple or banana with nut butter or a handful of mixed nuts or Vitamin C and B-rich chestnuts.”
It’s winter, the days in the run up to Christmas are short and we get less daylight and sunlight which could mean your vitamin D levels are low – your body converts sunlight into Vitamin D. Symptoms of deficiency can be vague but generally include general aches and pains and an overall feeling of tiredness. Good food sources are salmon, sardines, mackerel, red meat and eggs but Public Health England released recommendations earlier this year that all adults in the UK could benefit from a 10mcg supplement between October and March. Try Healthspan Super Strength Vitamin D3.
Dr Megan Arroll, psychologist, said: “During the holidays we tend to push ourselves and run ourselves ragged. But don’t wait until you’re burnt out, instead pace yourself with regular rest and relaxation breaks even if it is just five minutes. Go for a walk, find a quiet place for a spot of mindfulness to help re-energise.“If you can’t manage to get outdoors put a few drops of bergamot essential oil on a tissue and inhale deeply – a 2015 study – by the Department of Immunology at Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Japan, found bergamot helped banish feelings of tiredness. If you’re suffering with brain fog and having trouble concentrating try peppermint essential oil.”
It’s obvious, but people will be tired if they haven’t had enough sleep. Problem is, at Christmas the endless round of parties and catch ups tend to get in the way of your regular sleep routine.You know how many hours you need to function efficiently – experts recommend around 6 to 9 hours – and if you do have a few late nights try to get back into your usual bedtime.There is also mounting evidence that daily power naps can work wonders on your energy levels – some offices are even introducing nap pods to allow staff to have a little lunchtime sleep. Optimum nap time is 10-20 minutes – which keeps people in the lighter stages of the sleep cycle so it’s easier for you to get going again. The aim is to feel pleasantly recharged rather than groggy.
The Natural Hydration Council said one in 10 cases of tiredness are attributed to dehydration – so sip plenty of water or herbal teas – especially if you have been drinking alcohol the night before.Watery foods like fruit and vegetables will also help rehydrate you.While most of us turn to a coffee or tea for an instant caffeine buzz bear in mind there is a payback come down so best stick to a cup or two a day – and ideally go for a green tea which has less caffeine and more antioxidants.Also avoid any caffeinated drinks after 3pm as the effects can last up to 12 hours and interfere with sleep.
The more people move, the better equipped they are to produce more energy. Researchers at the University of Georgia found those who complained of tiredness increased their energy levels by 20 per cent with regular low intensity exercise like walking.Whatever exercise you choose encourages oxygen-rich blood to pump through your body to the heart, muscles and brain, making you feel more alert.At least try to squeeze a walk into your day and move around whenever you can – pace up and down on the phone, deliver a message to a colleague in person rather than emailing it.If you sit for too long blood vessels have a tendency to constrict, which reduce energy levels.
All the racing around and late nights in the build up to Christmas can rob the body of essential nutrients and leave people flagging.People need to aim for as balanced a diet as you can but certain substances can give you an extra little energising push like Co-enzymeQ10, a naturally occurring enzyme found in every cell of the body and dubbed the ‘biochemical spark plug’ due to its essential role in energy production.It also helps the liver to break down toxins and is a potent antioxidant – which can help build immunity.Co-enzymeQ10 is produced naturally in the body – although levels decline with age – and food sources include seafood, meats and peanuts. You might benefit from a top up in supplement form like Healthspan’s Co-enzyme Q10 or Ubiquinol ‘body ready’ Q10.