Perhaps we’re just hanging out with the wrong people but, as a rule, ask someone how they are and you’ll get a shrug and a ‘you know, bit tired’.
It seems even worse than ever over the summer too – everyone is either broken from entertaining the children over the school holidays or broken from covering at the office for everyone entertaining the children over the school holidays.
But there are ways to beat this general malaise: you could find new, more energetic friends, hold out for the new school term, or you could just follow these simple tiredness-busting tricks…
It’s the last thing you want to do when you’re tired, we grant, but forcing yourself to do something active - be it half a sweaty hour at the gym or a gentler 10-minute stroll to the supermarket - will instantly make you feel more alive. You get the blood pumping, you get those ‘feelgood/yes I can face life’ endorphins and you also get a change of scenery, which in itself instantly reawakens a flagging brain.
Continuing the ‘what you really don’t want to do when you’re tired’ theme; avoid all caffeine. We know you think that cup of tea/coffee is the only thing that gets you through the inevitable 3/4/5pm lull but it’s not - the caffeine initially blocks chemical signals in your brain, stopping you feeling sleepy, but once that effect wears off, you’ll instantly slump – and crave more. If you want something hot, go green. “Green tea offers a mild pick-me-up through its present but low caffeine content compared to coffee,” says personal trainer Scott Laidler. (www.scottlaidler.com).
Just as you might not want to exercise or give up caffeine when you’re sleepy, you also might not want to stop reaching out for something sweet: but you must. The surge in sugar may jolt you awake, but remember that what goes up must come down. An hour after your sugar rush and your blood sugar will crash, leaving you more exhausted than ever.
If you really, really can’t fight your sweet tooth, at least go for the right sugar. “Dark chocolate, like a really good high quality Peruvian cocoa; aim for 70-80%, can beat tiredness,” says Laidler. “Cocoa’s a proven mood enhancer so offers a great choice when you need a pick-me-up. The fatty acid profile of dark chocolate is almost perfect, as it contains a very small amount of polyunsaturates.”
Eat some As, Bs and Carrots
Eat a carrot, which is full of vitamin A: “a great overall body cleanser,” says Laidler. “It’s also a low-calorie alternative to snack foods that won’t negatively effect your blood sugar, meaning your blood sugar levels will remain stable, which will stabilise your energy levels and prevent tiredness.” Another important energy-busting letter is B, more precisely B vitamins - found in green vegetables, brown rice and eggs – which help convert and transport glucose round the body ready to be converted into energy.
A simple but overlooked factor in everyday tiredness is good old H2O. “Even a tiny amount of dehydration can leave you feeling lethargic, clouding your mind and staying with you all day unless the problem is addressed,” explains Laidler. “Aim for 6-8 glasses of water throughout the day, even more if you exercise.”
Stand under a light bulb
Or go outside, or even just stick your head out of the window; whatever you do, just get some light. For all our mod cons, our bodies are still very simple, and when it’s dark, we want to sleep, thanks to melatonin – the sleep-inducing hormone being released when light fades. Conversely, and obviously, when light increases, the body produces less melatonin, and your urge to snooze will vanish (or at least ease).