By Dr. Kaley Burns EBS COLUMNIST
The low temperatures and fewer hours of daylight are putting our bodies to the test when it comes to generating energy. The good news is, there are a number of things we can do to naturally buffer ourselves against winter fatigue.
Rise and Shine the Optimal Way
Resist the urge to hit snooze
As tempting as it is to hit snooze and roll over, it won’t benefit you in the long run. When your alarm goes off in the morning you’re likely near the end of your last REM cycle. Going back to sleep can make you wake up in the middle of a cycle, causing grogginess that can last all day. Skipping snooze will keep you on track to get the day started right.
Light it up
Letting the sun’s rays filter in first thing in the morning is a great way to get your biological clock synced with the start of the day. Allowing your body to wake with natural light is a smoother way to transition from sleep. If you need to be up before the sunrise, try an alarm with soothing sounds. You can also try sitting by a sunny window as you enjoy your breakfast.
Incorporating protein to kick your metabolism into gear for the day will provide your body with steady energy. Avoid eating sugary processed items as these will only lead to a crash later on. Some ideas: Eggs cooked your way on avocado whole grain toast, a high-quality protein smoothie, or overnight chia pudding.
Take an exercise break
The middle of the day is a great time to fight off low energy with a quick exercise break. Take a 20-minute walk to perk up and reset your brain. Bonus points if you can get outside and soak up some vitamin D.
Exercise scientists at the University of Georgia, when studying a group of sleep-deprived adults, discovered that 10 minutes of stair walking in the morning had a greater energizing effect than 50mg of caffeine, the amount in a single shot espresso.
Eat regular meals
Consistent nutrition is necessary to maintain your energy, keep your blood sugar steady, and prevent a crash of feeling ‘hangry’. Proteins and complex carbs are the key to maintaining energy levels. Therefore, aim for protein-based choices such as grilled chicken lettuce wraps or a turkey and bean chili. Complete the meal with healthy fats such as avocado slices or a handful of almonds.
Avoid fast food for lunch: While fast food is tempting, the sugar and saturated fats won’t do the job of providing you with steady energy and can lead to mood swings later in the day.
Afternoon Slump Breakers
Hydration but skip the sugar
When the afternoon sleepies set in, a soda craving becomes hard to fight. Staying hydrated helps to stave off cravings and keeps you from feeling zapped. If you want something fizzy, go for a seltzer without added sugar.
Our personal favorite is LMNT electrolytes to add flavor, support energy and keep you away from a sugar crash.
Look for a snack with substance. Try making a trail mix with a variety of seeds and nuts mixed with dark chocolate bits and dried fruit. Other good options include hard boiled eggs with avocado or veggies and hummus. You’ll satisfy the craving for something sweet while delivering healthy fats and fiber to your body.
A good stretch can do wonders to your energy and release built up tension. It’s also a super easy practice to do right from your office chair in under five minutes. Toss in neck and shoulder rolls to increase your level of tension reduction.
Adding supplements to your daily habits could benefit your energy levels. High quality, nutritional supplements are great additions to incorporate into any wellness routine, though it is vital you do the necessary research and meet with your healthcare professional prior to starting new therapies.