It’s 3:00 in the afternoon, and you’re beginning to feel drowsy. Your mind is not as sharp as usual. Your head droops as you listen in on that conference call or read that report. So, you reach for a candy bar or cup of coffee to try to get you through the day. STOP!
If this scenario sounds familiar, you may be like the millions of people who are trapped on an energy roller coaster characterized by afternoon drowsiness, low productivity, weight gain, and overall lack of vitality. These people become dependent on sugar and caffeine to get them through the day, which leaves them tired and lethargic in the evening, but unable to sleep at night. In the morning, they are so tired and rushed, they skip breakfast and then start the whole cycle over again.
Here are 5 ways to break this cycle and get off the energy roller coaster:
- Eat Early and Often – You’ve heard it over and over, but a good breakfast is one of the most important things you can do to even out your energy. Rather than a high-sugar breakfast, choose complex carbohydrates along with some protein to help provide stable, consistent energy and fuel your body over the long term. Regular snacks throughout the day will also help you stay at peak performance. Again, avoid processed sugar and include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean protein in your choices. The key to success is planning ahead. Bring snacks from home so that you won’t be dependent on what is available on the road or at the office.
- Aerobic Exercise – Regular aerobic exercise (3-5 times a week) increases your body’s ability to process oxygen, which is vital for brain function and energy. It doesn’t necessarily matter when you exercise. Some prefer to do it early in the morning. But, if you’re not a morning person, do it in the evening. The important thing is that you get moving. You won’t feel like it at first, but as you get off the energy rollercoaster, it will become easier to do.
- Vitamins – Some health experts have questioned the health benefits of vitamin supplementation. Whether vitamins actually help to prevent disease or not is a topic of another article, but the oft-ignored benefit is that vitamin supplements, particularly B-complex vitamins, can make you feel more vigorous and energetic. Take a good multi-vitamin each morning.
- Get A Good Night’s Sleep – Adults need an average of 7-8 hours of sleep every night. If you have trouble sleeping at first, try this: avoid eating or drinking, watching TV, working on the computer, or exercising within 1 hour of bed time. Turn the lights down and do something quiet, such as reading a book or watching the sunset. Let your mind unwind so that your body can sleep.
- Avoid Caffeine – As much as it may seem to help at the moment, artificial stimulation actually does more harm than good in the long run. It leads to a cycle of peaks and valleys in your level of productivity and alertness. Excess caffeine can also contribute to poor diet, wide energy swings, insomnia and even serious diseases. You may feel tired for a few days as you get off the energy rollercoaster, but you will find that a life without caffeine is a life of energy, vitality, enthusiasm, and freedom.
Success Tip: Follow these ideas consistently for 3 weeks. If you do, your overall energy level will be much improved and more stable, your productivity will increase, you will have fewer problems with drowsiness, and you will be generally healthier and happier. In short, you’ll be off the energy roller coaster.