Does getting out from under the duvet seem like the hardest thing you’ll do all day? If so, here are our top tips to help you feel less tired – starting from tomorrow.
Have a good yawn and stretch – the action forces blood toward your face and brain, which increases alertness.
Dab some peppermint oil. A single drop, diluted in carrier oil on the inside of both of your wrists, can help increase alertness. As you move your hands, the aroma will be released for you to inhale.
Mist your face. Use a fine spray of cold water as an instant reviver. An inexpensive (clean) sprayer bottle from the chemist is perfect!
If you have a spare half hour
Catch some daylight. Getting as much natural light – especially in winter – can help boost mood and make you feel more energised.
Fit in a brisk walk or run. It may seem counterintuitive to exercise when you feel exhausted, but regular physical activity is one of the best ways to raise energy levels and fight tiredness longer term.
Keep on top of clutter. According to ancient Chinese wisdom, clutter represents energy which is stuck. The best way to stop it taking over your life is to have a regular half hour slot when clear your desk, tidy a room, or get the dishwasher loaded.
Eat a high protein lunch. Choose from tuna, egg, cottage cheese, chicken, or one of the plant proteins like tofu or Quorn. Protein promotes production of a brain chemical called dopamine which sharpens alertness and helps overcome afternoon sleepiness.
Eat higher quality carbs. Predominantly choosing slow-releasing (low GI) carbohydrates will help balance your energy levels. These are the foods that raise blood sugar less rapidly but for longer. Star low GI foods are Granary bread (or other bread with whole grains inside) porridge, yoghurt, pulses such as chickpeas, kidney beans and baked beans, and pasta.
Reduce your sugar intake. Sugar is also a type of carbohydrate, but it only offers a short term energy fix, which fizzles out fast. Eating one sugary food can lead to you craving another in short order. To enjoy the taste of sweetness without these energy-sapping downsides (and with fewer calories) try swapping sugar for Canderel in drinks, in baking, or sprinkled over fruit or yogurt.
Boost your iron intake. Make sure you get enough iron every day – the mineral carries vital oxygen around the body, and a deficiency can lead to poor concentration and debilitating tiredness. Lean red meat is the best source of iron, but pulses, nuts, green vegetables and fortified breakfast cereals also provide the mineral.
Get plenty of magnesium. This mineral plays an important role in cellular energy release, but many of us fall short. Some of the best sources include Brazil nuts and almonds, kale, spinach, very dark chocolate, pulses like baked beans, and high fibre grains like All Bran and whole wheat pasta.
Drink plenty of water every day – being even mildly dehydrated can lead to reduced energy. Experts recommend that we aim to drink at least 1.5 litres of water a day, equivalent to 6-8 cups or glasses. You’ll need more if you are in a warm, dry environment.
Note: Fatigue can sometimes be a symptom of an underlying condition – if it persists, always seek medical advice.