Feeling tired? Make sure you’re not doing this

Pingu feeling tired

Feeling tired? Let’s face it, many of us catch ourselves feeling tired at some point. But why?

And more importantly, what can you do about it? I’ve got some answers for you!

Mistake number 1: Eating late at night

Why is this a problem, apart from the obvious weight gain issue? Well, because when you eat late at night, your body doesn’t have time to digest the food before you go to sleep. This means that your body is having to work hard (digestion is one of the hardest jobs for the body) rather than relax and absorb the nutrients you’ve taken in during the day.

And that’s a problem – because you won’t have a nice deep sleep. This also explains why some people report odd dreams when they eat late, as well as feeling tired the following morning. So no, you can’t always blame the cheese…unless you’ve eaten it way past your dinnertime!

What to do instead

  • If you must have something late at night, have a piece of fruit. Fruit is one of the fastest foods for the body to digest, so there’s no need to go to bed hungry – just a bit lighter!

Mistake number 2: Not exercising

The last thing many of us want to do is jump onto an exercise bike or go out for a run when we’re feeling tired.

However, exercise does two things:

1) It releases endorphins (those ‘feel good’ chemicals. I’ve written more about endorphins here)

2) It gets your blood going, which means you’re getting more oxygen, which in turn gives you…more energy!

We need oxygen (among other things) to create energy. Who knew?

What to do instead

  • Find a form of exercise that you enjoy and start with a little bit each day (or even once a week if that’s more than you were doing before).
  • Walk up stairs rather than taking the elevator, walk or cycle to the corner store, join a yoga class, sign up for rollerblading lessons with another family member (that’s what’s happening in my house currently, though I’m not the one on the rollerblades).

You get the idea.

Mistake 3: Wrong combinations of food, or food that’s too heavy

Ever felt sleepy after lunch? You’re not alone. Many people do, mostly because they’ve eaten things that aren’t easily digested together. And so the body has to work extra hard, leaving you feeling wiped out!

What to do instead: Try this experiment

  • Instead of a sandwich or some kind of meat-and-starch, dairy-and-starch or dairy-and-veg kind of meal, treat yourself to some fresh vegetables and/or a salad in addition to your meat (if you’re having it) or starch.
  • Don’t eat meat with starch at the same time. Just humor me, OK? You can have meat with salad or meat with veg, or starch with either salad or veg, but NOT meat and starch together. (By ‘starch’ I mean bread, potatoes, pasta, rice etc.)

See how you feel after eating. Do you feel lighter? Hopefully yes!

Mistake 4: Too much caffeine (and too late in the day)

People have very different tolerances for caffeine. I can’t really have it or if I do, only a very small amount – hence my preference for my own veggie ‘brews’ rather than commercially brewed coffee. You’ll find one of my recipes for my favorite coffee substitute here.

However I do know some people who actually sleep better if they have a small cup of coffee before bedtime, which just boggles my mind, but they swear by it!

What to do instead

  • I’m not here to judge you on your caffeine intake. You know better than me what works best for you – I’m just asking you to take a look and see if you’re not getting too much of it. Find suitable substitutes and stick with those as much as you can, especially in the late afternoon and evening (unless you’re one of those people I mentioned above).

And by the way, caffeine isn’t just in coffee. It’s in cola drinks and chocolate too, as well as many ‘energy drinks’ out there. So read your labels, OK?

Mistake 5: Too little water

If you are happy to drink water on its own, great! Make sure you’re getting enough. The easiest way to tell is to…are you ready?…look in the toilet. If what you see is bright yellow or green, then you’re not getting enough water/hydration.

Too little water can cause headaches and all kinds of other problems. It can even inhibit brain function (this goes for children too).

What to do instead

  • One of the best things to do during any kind of course or event where you’re taking in lots of new information is to drink water throughout. The water actually helps you focus!

My students laugh at this but it’s true. The next time you’re in a seminar, a class or a meeting, and you start to get that ‘my brain is full’ feeling, take a big drink of water. You’ll soon see what I mean!

But what if I don’t like the taste of water?

Aha, I have a solution for you! High water content food! (Yes you knew this had to come back to food at some point, right?)

What is ‘high water content food’?

Well, any food that has…a lot of water!

  • Crunchy veggies: think cucumbers, zucchini, broccoli, spinach – to name a few.
  • Super juicy foods: think cucumbers, tomatoes, celery…
  • Fruits: watermelon, berries, apples, grapes, bananas (74% water! Go figure!)

And how do you make that high water content food taste delicious? Well you know the answer to that, as you’re here!

Grab yourself some free recipes, and eat up!

PS – If you do try any of these tips, let me know how you got on in the comments!

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