Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Secret to Avoiding the Midday Slump

Most people do experience a slump in energy in the early afternoon. The body operates on a cycle called the circadian rhythm and early afternoon is a time the body tends to go into a resting phase. The problem this creates is that most of us can't just stop work or other obligations to go take a nap and let the body rest. A contributing factor to this slump is that it is usually right after lunch and what we eat can add to the drowsiness we experience. Grabbing a fast food lunch or foods with lots of carbohydrates and sugar only serves to add to the fatigue. Our age also plays a role as the older we are, the more fatigue is likely to set in. There are other factors that can attribute to the afternoon slump. Here are some and some natural energy boosters that can help.

Fatigue and the Pancreas
Your pancreas operates as part of the digestive and the endocrine systems. The pancreas produces digestive enzymes and secretions that contribute to the digestive process, once food enters the small intestine. As part of the endocrine system, it produces insulin that regulates how much sugar enters the blood. When we eat foods with lots of sugars and carbohydrates, our blood sugar levels increase and the pancreas has to produce more insulin. This causes a rise in tryptophan in the brain and the bloodstream. Tryptophan helps regulate serotonin and melatonin levels, which are neurotransmitters that affect mood by causing us to relax. Eating healthier alkalizing foods such as fruits and vegetables can reduce the workload on the pancreas and lower the amount of tryptophan being produced which can leave us more energy. Also, adding a high quality digestive enzyme supplement to your diet with meals can relieve the stress put on the pancreas, liver and spleen and help the body absorb the nutrients it needs from the foods you eat. If you find you are still dragging, take extra enzymes in between meals.

Natural Energy Boosters: CoQ10
Coenzyme Q10 has been extensively studied since being discovered in 1957 and found to have significant benefits for cardiovascular health. Peter D. Mitchell won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1978 for discovering how important CoQ10 is for energy production. CoQ10 is essential for life to exist, as it is an integral part of energy production within every cell. In fact CoQ10 is necessary for 95% of the energy our bodies need. Having a lack of this vital coenzyme affects the amount of energy our bodies are able to produce. It is found naturally throughout the body, but as we age our ability to manufacture it is reduced. A stressful lifestyle can also deplete our natural supplies of CoQ10. One way to be sure of getting enough CoQ10 is through supplementation. I like this supplement that has Ubiquinol, the active form of CoQ10 as well as reishi and oyster mushrooms, polyphenols from olives, and AFA bluegreen algae for extra superfood nutrition.

How To Boost Energy
Do you ever find yourself going for the coffee pot or a candy bar in the afternoon to keep alert and going? Caffeine has been found to interact with brain chemicals that create an energy boost, but caffeine and sugar can cause your blood sugar to plummet after an hour or two. Plus, caffeine can cause increased stress in your heart rate, respiration, muscle coordination, and thought processes if you drink too much. For some people, drinking coffee in the afternoon also interferes with being able to go to sleep at night. Here are a few other ways to deal with the midday slump period of the day.

Prioritize High Energy Tasks – It's too bad that our workplaces aren't more like kindergarten where an afternoon nap is mandatory, but since your boss probably isn't going to give you time off every day to grab a nap, you can plan your work according to which tasks need greater focus. Fred Turek, a biology professor and director of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, suggests saving tasks that need accuracy and creativity for times other than the midday slump period. Planning out your workday to give those types of tasks the highest priority in the day and saving more routine type tasks for the after lunch slump can help you stay productive all day and keep the boss happy.

Move It – Physically moving your body is another way to make it through the midday slump period. This doesn't mean you have to stand at your desk and do calisthenics. You can simply go to the copy room to make your copies, walk to the water cooler to get a drink or go to a co-workers office to consult with them or anything else that requires you get up and move to another location.

Power Nap – If you have the time at the end of your lunch break to close your eyes and rest for even a few minutes, this can help some people. My mother has always been able to lie down and close her eyes for exactly 10 minutes and get up refreshed and ready to go on to the next thing on her list. For some people the amount of time may be more, but a 20 to 30 minute nap or rest is enough to recoup their energy level. For others, taking any amount of nap interferes with being able to go to sleep at night. Give it a try and see which type you are and if this is a technique that helps you or not.

Eat Energy Boosting Foods – Sugary and processed carb foods don't create a stable energy level throughout the day. The body simply burns these up too quickly. So skip the donuts and concentrate on complex carbs with fiber from whole grains and good healthy proteins. These will keep your blood sugar levels stable and sustain your energy level longer.

Supplement for Active People – I like this supplement that is a nutrient-rich, whole-food source for physical energy and drive. With a combination of AFA bluegreen algae, wheatgrass juice, cordyceps mushrooms, bee pollen, turmeric, noni, and green tea, it was created for high-performance athletes and those with active lifestyles.

I hope this gives you some ideas what causes that midday slump we often experience and of how to boost energy to get yourself through it. Try some of these out and see what works for you in your situation. If you've got other suggestions of things that work for you, share them by leaving a comment below. 

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Image courtesy of David Castillo DominiciFreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sources:
http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/want-more-energy-heres-what-really-helps
https://office.newearth.com/ProductDetail.aspx?item=21621
http://www.wellnessresources.com/tips/articles/q10_boosts_energy_nerves_muscles_metabolism/
http://www.naturalnews.com/024833_CoQ10_energy_supplement.html
http://www.healthalkaline.com/healthy-foods-pancreas-disease-symptoms-pancreas-function/
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/20/business/worldbusiness/20iht-workcol21.4.7188541.html?_r=2&

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