A healthy, unprocessed diet that contains foods like raw fruits and vegetables, nuts, and fish coupled with a great exercise program is a recipe for an energized day. But there are many other factors that can make you feel sleepy — a bad night’s sleep, stressful work situations, hormonal imbalances, just to name a few. These factors can influence how you feel at different times of the day. However, the most likely culprit of your after-lunch sleepiness is your digestive system.
When you eat, your blood rushes to your digestive system to pick up nutrients and aid in digestion. This natural process limits the amount of fresh blood and oxygen previously used to keep you alert, resulting in a sleepy feeling. Your body is too busy digesting food to give you energy.
Here are my top five ways to get combat your after-lunch slump:
1. Watch what you eat — Fresh raw vegetables and easily digestible protein (fish, beans, nuts and seeds) are your best choices. Make sure you snack throughout the day on fruit and nuts to ensure that you energy stays high. Avoid sugary foods like cakes and pastries — it will boost you up quickly and then crash you down in about 20 minutes.
2. Go for a walk — Light exercise will help you feel more alert due to increased full body circulation and oxygen uptake.
3. Find the sun — Sunshine signals your body to produce serotonin, the natural “feel-good” hormone, which will boost your energy.
4. Stay hydrated — Mild dehydration is a common culprit of drowsiness. Drink at least eight glasses of water throughout the day. Avoid caffeinated and carbonated beverages.
5. Meditate — Rejuvenate your body with meditation. Close your eyes, bow your head and inhale in for 4-8 counts and exhale the same. Controlled breathing delivers oxygenated blood into your system while your body is relaxed. If possible, listen to some music and just take five minutes for yourself.
Sarah Brown is a very healthy woman. She is not only a fitness instructor at Goodlife where she teaches Body Pump, Body Flow, boot camp and yoga but she is also a registered holistic nutritionist.