In this entry I will discuss the many factors that affect our energy and sleep levels. I don't have a million and one studies to reference, I'll just give you what I know.
Caffeine - Do you think that you're not caffeine-sensitive? Think again. Every time you use caffeine, it binds to your brain's nerve receptors , speeding them up. The increased neuron activity shoots an emergency signal to the pituitary gland which then gives a shot of adrenaline; hence the buzz. The half-life of caffeine is about six hours, so even if your last energy drink or coffee was at 4pm, you can still have this drug flowing through your system at 10pm, messing up your sleep
Evening - Are you going to bed past 10pm and give people the excuse " I just can't get to sleep before ten " . Check the activities you're doing the last four hours of your night. Are you watching TV or playing on your laptop? Exposing yourself to the glow of a screen before bed will keep you awake. Your body is hardwired to wake up when light is bright and go to sleep when it gets dark. If you shine a bright light in your face before bed you're telling your body it's time to perk up and be alert. If you absolutely must use a computer or mobile device later in the day, at least turn the screen brightness way down to semi-counter the effect of the light.
Diet - The primary conductor or your body's energy is your bloodstream. The two crucial elements for energy is oxygen and glucose; it is carried by your bloodstream to cells where they're converted into energy by the mitochondria. The number one problem with people's diet in this country is that they don't feed their bodies early enough in the day, the right way.
Waking up tired (From staying up too late on your computer, drinking iced coffee or Coke?) and then downing a coffee and danish on the way to work will keep you energized for about an hour. First mistake is feeding your body nothing but sugar for breakfast. After you get to work you drink more coffee and work until you finally realize it's lunch at 1pm. After eating nothing but caffeine and sugar for five to six hours, your tank is already on empty. You eat lunch with some candy from the vending machine and you skyrocket your blood sugar levels. Despite taking in plenty of calories, you're tired as death by the time you get home. These refined sugars are killing your energy.
When you eat breakfast, you must start the day off right with fiber-rich whole grains, lean protein and healthy fat. Think scrambled eggs and oatmeal (or whole wheat toast). In the afternoon, skip the candy and eat a protein-based snack like 0% fat Greek yogurt. Protein takes more effort to digest, so it raises metabolism and energy levels as your body works. Try incorporating complex carbs (whole grains, brown rice, oatmeal, carrots, sweet potatoes) into every meal. Your energy will be more even.
Part 2 to be followed tomorrow night.