Pick-me-ups and Put-me-downs

There is this two sided coin – can’t fall asleep can’t stay awake… We hear a lot of it, don’t we!
So here it is, few tips to help you along in both counts.

But remember, these suggestions here are just a quick fix, a Band-Aid. It is very important that you find out the true root cause for your sleeplessness or regular mid-day tiredness.

Pick-me-ups

The reason you might regularly have the mid-day slump is lack of proper sleep during night time or perhaps you had a heavy meal for lunch. What can be considered ‘heavy meal’ is different to everybody and their individual constitution. So perhaps pay attention to what you eat and how do you feel afterwards.

Cooked and warm foods are less energy consuming to digest than raw and cold foods such as fresh salads and yogurts. Maybe have more fish introduced to your diet rather than red meats. And maybe try to leave out bread or aim for gluten free bread even if you know you don’t suffer from gluten intolerance.

Now that the spring is in full force, the weather is more favorable to go out for a short stroll just to get the circulation going and to clear your head. But if deadlines don’t allow you these little luxuries in Regent Park, there are few things that you can try to boost your energy.

First thing I suggest is Ginger. Cut 2 – 3 medallions of fresh ginger root and pour on hot water. Cup of that brew will get you hopping in no time. Ginger tea contains a host of antioxidants and nutrients to give you that needed afternoon boost.

Bananas, rich in potassium and energizing B vitamins, bananas also help keep your blood sugar levels stable.

Pineapple is a good fruit to keep you going. It’s high in the amino acid tryptophan, which boosts levels of the ‘happy hormone’ serotonin in your brain; plus manganese, essential for energy production, and antioxidants such as beta-carotene, and vitamin C.

Dark chocolate which has at least 70% cocoa will be rich in iron and magnesium which are highly-effective energizers.

Slow energy release foods such as raw nuts and seeds are good source of healthy fats and protein to balance blood sugar levels.

And where would we be if we didn’t mention Coffee. Assuming that by that afternoon low this will not be your third cup, coffee is a great stimulant. It’s known to improve memory, energy levels, mood, reaction times and general cognitive function.

Always keep hydrated! Water is your body’s most essential fuel. It keeps all of your body’s cells working at optimum levels. To avoid mid-morning fatigue, start your morning with a glass of water. Or better yet – juice from half of fresh lemon in the glass of water and half of teaspoon of soda. Let it fizz and drink first thing on empty stomach in the morning. This will leave you feeling fresh and ready to roll. And throughout the day, aim for about 2 liters of water per day.

Put-me-downs

It goes without saying that there should be no eating at least an hour before your bedtime. And no TV or last minute work on your laptop. If your body is still struggling to digest or if your mind is still racing over the drama in your favourite soap or that odd shortfall of your company’s quarterly income, then no matter how many sheep you’ll try to count, sleep will be hard to come.

But if despite all the precautions taken you still can’t sleep, then I recommend some of the tried and tested methods below:

Lavender is well known calming remedy. Few drops of Lavender essence on your pillow might be just the thing you need.

Camomile tea – mild and calming herb, known from far back in history as a solution for insomnia. With its anti-inflammatory properties it promotes healthy skin and is soothing for upset stomachs as well.

Valerian tea – is most effective natural herb for counteracting insomnia and anxiety. Stronger and faster in action than Camomile, it can cause drowsiness in more sensitive individuals.

Hops – as a tea or a tincture before bedtime has a sedative effect. It’s beneficial in relieving anxiety and inducing sleep and relaxation.

Acupressure – massaging your third eye with small circular movements can help your mind drift off the mundane and is known to work fast wonders with fussy babies.

You would also benefit from finding out if perhaps you are Magnesium deficient. It is known to be the ‘relaxation mineral’ and antidote to stress. Foods rich in magnesium are Pumpkin and Sesame seeds, Spinach, Quinoa, Soya and Black beans and Sea vegetables such as Kelp and Alaria.

And if you have time, just before bedtime, have a hot shower or a bath with Epsom salts. Water treatments are very calming as you surely remember from your last beach holiday.

And last, but not least, try guided meditation if you have trouble with busy mind. There are hundreds of versions to choose from on Youtube. Find the one you like, put on headphones, follow the guidance to concentrate your mind on one direction and let yourself drift off. Works on me like a charm!

When it comes to bad habits and addictions, such as chocolate, pastry, coffee or crisps and other processed, sugary or greasy foods, I believe, and I also speak from personal experience, changing them or giving them up is only difficult during the first week. Withdrawal symptoms can be annoying but if you keep your eye on the prize, and let your body detox, you will feel like a fresh new person soon enough.

Sleep-and-Work-Life-Balance

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