KP Nuts has recently done a study that shows we go into a slump at precisely 3.06pm on a Monday afternoon! They’ve teamed up with Personal Trainer and Former Professional Rugby Player to come up with some fantastic tips on you can make some changes to your lifestyle, routine and diet.
1. Breakfast: Start the day with a high protein breakfast, such as eggs and salmon to stay fuller for longer, and prevent over eating later in the day. Eating too much can cause your blood sugar levels to fluctuate, which can ultimately contribute to an afternoon slump. If you’re feeling peckish, a handful of peanuts will keep you going until lunchtime.
2. Water: Ensure you’re drinking a minimum of 1.5 litres each day, and more if you are working out. Dehydration can lead to constipation, dizziness and hunger and can affect energy levels throughout the day.
3. Low GI lunch: Choosing a refined-carb heavy lunch such as white bread or pasta can lead to a spike in blood sugar levels, which again can result in an afternoon slump. Base your lunch around protein, vegetables and wholegrains such as wholegrain bread, brown rice, beans and pulses as this will help slow digestion. Wholegrains are low GI foods that slowly release glucose into the bloodstream which can be used as energy.
4. Nuts: Peanuts are a wonder food. They contain healthy fats such as monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and offer multiple nutrients and minerals such as fibre and vitamins B3, B6 and B7. A good source of protein, peanuts can have a positive effect on appetite – a couple of handfuls of peanuts can offer up to 7 grams of protein, helping to curb hunger pangs until dinnertime.
5. Workout: Exercising before work or a quick HIIT session at lunchtime will help boost productivity and help improve blood circulation. If you can’t get to a gym don’t worry, walking at a moderate pace away from your workplace is just as effective.
6. Alcohol: Drinking the night before or even worse on a boozy lunch break will play havoc on your energy levels and can lead to mental fatigue. Drinking can affect the brain’s neurotransmitters that relay information, resulting in drowsiness.
7. Coffee: Keep it black. A black coffee minus the heavy cream or milk will put the brakes on the compound (adenosine) in the brain that makes you sleepy. Caffeine will block these receptors, making you think you’re no longer sleepy. Avoid caffeine after 2pm as the effects can last up to 8 hours, which could interrupt your night’s sleep.
8. Sugar: A diet high in processed sugary foods and highly refined carbohydrates can lead to imbalanced blood sugar levels and energy slumps. Balance each meal with a protein source (peanuts are a great source of protein!) to help regulate blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates such as sweet potato, oats or wholegrain pasta can help sustain energy levels and thereby prevent an afternoon slump.
9. Sleep like a baby: A single night of sleep deprivation can increase levels of the ghrelin chemical in the brain, which is responsible for telling you when you need to eat. A poor night’s sleep can lead to too much ghrelin being produced, fooling the body into thinking we need more food when actually the body is already nourished. Aim for 8 hours of unbroken sleep each night, switching off all tech two hours before bedtime to help improve sleep quality.
10. Vitamin D: A deficiency in Vitamin D can lead to fatigue. It’s produced in the body from natural sunlight so if you can’t go outside for a walk in the sun every day (and who can, with this British weather?) then supplementing with tablets is sensible. Aim for 10mcg per day.