1. Don't skip breakfast...or any other meal!
People who eat a daily breakfast generally have more energy throughout the day. Research has also found that missing ANY meal during the day leads to a greater feeling of tiredness at the end of the day.
2. More water...less alcohol
Try to include water, skimmed milk and fruit juices in all meals instead of high-sugar or carbonated drinks. Cutting down alcohol will also help. Although it initially makes you sleep, it interferes with deep sleep so you're actually not getting the rest you think you are.
3. More whole grains...less sugar
When you're eating sweet food you get a spike in blood sugar which gives you an initial burst of energy. However, it's normally followed by a massive drop that can make you feel lethargic and desperate for more sugar. Hence, the vicious cycle of snacking! Whole grains provide a slow and steady release of fuel to help balance your energy levels.
4. Have a power snack
Eating a snack that combines protein, a little bit of fat and some fibre, like peanut butter on a whole-wheat cracker or rice cake, is best. Other good options are yoghurt with a handful of nuts, blueberries, bananas or cherries.
5. Wake up at the same time every day
To maintain energy levels it is important to 'set' your natural body clock and build up a routine that your body understands. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including the weekend. Long lie-ins on a Saturday can actually make you feel more lethargic and it makes waking up at 7am on a Monday even more exhausting.
6. Eat low glycemic (low or complex) carb foods.
Swap bad, simple carbs like processed sugar for complex carbohydrates with a low glycemic index. Carbs with a high glycemic index contain sugar which is more easily digested by the body, resulting in a quick dip in energy levels as your body gets to work. Avoid white bread, potatoes, fizzy drinks and stick to fruits, vegetables, brown rice and grains.
If you've tried all of these and you still feel sluggish ask your GP to check your iron levels. Iron is crucial for your body to make red blood cells which carry oxygen through the blood. A lack of iron can make you feel weak, tired, grumpy and can cause problems with concentration. Check with your doctor if you're worried.
What do you think?