by Karen Cicero

The snooze button

Five most common energy drainers

Hit the snooze button
Five most common energy drainers

Who hasn’t hit a slump in the middle of the afternoon? Or kept slamming the snooze button when the alarm went off for work?

“Most people have at least a few bad habits that make them feel tired and run-down,” says Robert Thayer, author of Calm Energy: How People Regulate Mood With Food and Exercise. “The problem is they usually don’t recognise what they’re doing wrong.”

Five most common energy drainers:

Checking e-mail obsessively


Set two or three times each day when you’re going to empty out your inbox and then be done. Don’t even have your e-mail program on your screen for the rest of the day so you won’t be tempted. 



Sugary treats


Doughnuts and chocolates, yep, they’ll give you a sugar rush. But about 45 minutes later, you’re in for a crash landing. If that mid-afternoon energy drain is all too familiar, take a 5 to 10 minute walk. A study analysed how eating a candy bar affects mood in comparison to taking a brisk 10 minute walk. Two hours later, participants who took a walk were still more energetic. The candy bar eaters, however, felt worse than they did before they had the snack.

 

Staying up late


Some people consider eight hours of sleep, as they would a two month cruise – merely wishful thinking. Getting less than seven to eight hours of 'shut-eye' is a surefire way to run yourself down. Your brain retains more information from the previous day if you’ve had a good night’s sleep. Sleep also improves your concentration so you can get your tasks done faster. If you’re there in bed counting sheep, try putting on some relaxing music. In one study, participants improved their sleep quality by 35% by listening to soothing music at bedtime. And once you get into a routine, stick with it. It helps reinforce your body’s sleep-wake schedule, so you’ll doze off faster.



Negative people


You know those people who are constantly complaining or who never have a nice word to say? They can drain the energy out of you without you knowing it. You might not be able to rid your life of these people entirely (maybe they’re relatives). But you can cut back on your interactions with them.



Drinking coffee 24-7


Experts say it’s OK to have a cup or two of coffee in the morning. In fact, the caffeine boosts your energy and helps you get going. But grabbing another cup in the afternoon will definitely interfere with sleep. In fact, half of the caffeine from a 3 pm brew is still in your body at 9. Make sure your meals have staying power, and you’ll be less inclined to reach for caffeine-induced energy. Imagine dividing your lunch and dinner plates into four equal parts. Create your power meal by filling one part of the plate with whole grains (like brown rice or whole-wheat bread), one part with lean protein (chicken breast, hard-boiled egg, or turkey), and the other two with fruits and veggies. You should avoid those energy slumps for the rest of the day.

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