In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, many of us experience the notorious afternoon energy slump. It's that sluggish feeling that sets in after lunch, leaving you reaching for another cup of coffee or a sugary snack to power through the rest of your day. This poses a challenge for many, and can make you feel anxious, irritable, depressed and ready for a nap. The root cause often lies in the elevation and subsequent crash of blood glucose levels and stress hormones (cortisol) . If left unaddressed, this cycle can contribute to more severe health issues including chronic inflammation, Type 2 diabetes, mood disorders, and heart disease.
The good news is that strategic diet and lifestyle choices can be powerful tools in overcoming this issue. Here are a few steps that you can take to help transform your energy:
1. Stay Hydrated
Sip water or herbal teas throughout the day while also avoiding excessive consumption of caffeinated beverages, as they can lead to dehydration, release of stress hormones, blood sugar imbalance AND disrupt sleep patterns.
2. Embrace the Morning Sun
Get outdoors and soak up 5-10 minutes of natural sunlight within 1 hour of waking. This helps regulate your body's internal clock, supports healthy cortisol levels and promotes enduring energy as well as melatonin production for restful sleep at bedtime. You can do this by enjoying a brisk walk or sipping your morning tea on the patio.
3. Break Your Fast in the AM
In the morning your body experiences a natural surge in cortisol levels, and skipping breakfast can disrupt this rhythm. For those embracing intermittent fasting, consider adjusting your fasting window to align with the body's circadian rhythm by beginning your fast when the sun goes down and ending it by enjoying a meal within one hour of waking the next day.
4. Prioritize Protein
The gradual digestion of protein helps ward off sudden blood sugar spikes and crashes. Aim to incorporate at least 30 grams of protein per meal to help keep you satiated and energized throughout the day.
5. Focus on Fiber
Include fiber-rich foods like vegetables, fruit and legumes in your breakfast and lunch in order to help slow down the absorption of glucose, preventing rapid fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Avoid processed foods, refined grains & sugars as well as juice or other sweetened beverages as these have been processed to remove most of the fiber and therefore spike blood sugar.
6. Get Out of Your Chair to Move & Stretch
Incorporate short bursts of physical activity into your afternoon routine. Whether it's a brisk walk, a few stretches at your desk, or a quick yoga session, movement stimulates blood flow and oxygenates the body, helping to combat fatigue.
We encourage you to listen to your body, make mindful choices, and embrace these practices to help to address the root causes to your energy slumps. If you're ready to deep dive into optimizing your health using an integrative approach, click the button below to learn more about working with us: