Afternoon Tiredness? Discover How To Banish It For Good
Afternoon tiredness is so common most of us accept it as a normal part of life. Many people experience an energy dip when the afternoon starts, perhaps at work or during a busy day.
There are a number of factors that can contribute to this phenomenon. One of the most common causes is post-lunch hypoglycaemia, which is related to your inability to burn fat.
So if you suffer from afternoon tiredness on a regular basis, dealing with your diet is crucial.
In addition to dietary changes, intermittent fasting is one of the most effective ways to convert the body from burning carbohydrates to burning fat, which will then increase mental and physical stamina.
Other factors depend on when and how much you exercise. Of course, bad sleeping patterns also plays a role. You can’t grab 4 hours sleep a day and expect to feel perky in the morning, so this also needs to be dealt with.
But what if you get enough sleep yet still deal with after tiredness?
Nutrition is the key to maintaining your energy level
There are two fuels that your body can use, sugar and fat. The sad truth is that our ancestors were adapted to using fat as the primary fuel, yet over 99 percent of us now use sugar or glucose as our main fuel source.
Since most people primarily burn carbohydrates as a fuel, afternoon tiredness is typically associated with hypoglycemia after lunch.
By switching your body from mainly burning carbohydrates to mainly burning fats, you virtually eliminate energy waste. In fact, adjusting to burning fat instead of carbohydrates has a number of benefits, including:
- You have plenty of accessible energy at hand, as you effectively burn stored fat throughout the day for energy – One way to tell if you are burning fats or carbohydrates is to see how you feel when you miss a meal. If you can’t skip meals without becoming insatiably hungry, moody, or craving carbohydrates, you’re probably burning carbs.
- Improved insulin and leptin sensitivity and reduced risk for virtually all known chronic degenerative diseases (it doesn’t get much better than that!).
- Effective burning of nutritional fat for your energy, which results in less dietary fat being stored in your fat tissue – eventually leading to weight loss.
- You are able to rely more on fat for energy during exercise which means you save glycogen until you really need it. This can improve athletic performance and help burn more body fat.
As explained by Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint , if you can exercise without the need to consume many carbohydrates beforehand, you are probably fat-adapted. If you can train effectively in a fasted state, you are definitely fat-adjusted.
First, replace carbohydrates with healthy fats
Remember that we only refer to grains and sugars when talking about harmful carbohydrates, NOT vegetable carbohydrates. From the former you need very little to nothing, from the latter a lot .
If you actually stop sugar and grains, you’ll need to radically increase the amount of vegetables you eat, since the types of grain you left are denser in volume than vegetables. You also need to dramatically increase healthy fats, including:
|Olives and olive oil (for cold dishes)||Coconuts and coconut oil (for all types of cooking and baking)||Organic butter from raw milk of grazing cows|
|Raw nuts like almonds or pecans||Egg yolk from organic farming||avocados|
|Meat from naturally kept grazing animals||Palm oil||Non-heated organic nut oils|
Avoid highly engineered and genetically modified omega-6 oils such as corn, oilseed rape and soybeans, as they disrupt your omega-6/3 ratio.
Trans fats should also be avoided, but contrary to popular belief, saturated fats are an important part of a healthy diet. A reasonable goal is to get up to 50-70 percent of the daily calories from healthy fat , which radically reduces carbohydrate intake.
Fat is far more filling than carbohydrates, so if you have reduced carbohydrates and are still feeling hungry, it’s a sign that you have not replaced them with adequate amounts of healthy fat.
Most people will probably notice a massive improvement in their health and overall energy levels if they follow this approach.
How intermittent fasting can help
Once you have dealt with your diet, you can try to fast intermittently. This will effectively help you move your body from carbohydrate to fat burning mode.
Please, for the love of God, do not start on a fasting diet if you still mainly live on processed foods and fast food meals. Because this pattern of eating is not just about skipping meals, for intermittent fasting to be really effective you need high-quality nutrients with every meal you eat.
Intermittent fasting is about timing your meals so you have adequate fasting times between them. It takes about six to eight hours for your body to metabolize your glycogen stores, and then you start switching to fat burning.
If you replenish your glycogen every eight hours (or earlier) by eating it, it will be much harder for your body to use your fat stores for fuel.
This is just how our bodies have been adapted to be.
Keep in mind that your ancestors did not have access to food 24/7, as we do with modern supermarkets.
Simple Way To Combat Afternoon Tiredness With Intermittent Fasting
While there are several different intermittent fasting approaches , one of the simplest ways is limiting the window of time you can eat, say 6-8 hours, rather than eating all day.
That’s equivalent to 16-18 hours of fasting each day – enough to put the body into fat burning mode.
Once you’ve made the transition to burning fat as the primary fuel, you’ll be shocked to see your cravings for sugar and junk food virtually disappear.
As a cautionary note, if you have:
- adrenal gland disease
- or are pregnant (and / or breastfeeding)
you are better off avoiding any type of fasting or timed meals until you have normalized your blood sugar and insulin levels, or are not pregnant or breastfeeding your baby ,
Other categories of people who should avoid fasting are those with chronic stress and those with cortisol dysregulation.
Intermittent fasting also works synergistically with high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which is a fundamental part of my comprehensive training recommendations.
The combination of fasting and exercise maximizes the effect of cellular factors and catalysts (cyclic AMP and AMP kinases) that force the breakdown of fat and glycogen for energy.
Fight against afternoon fatigue with movement
The topic of afternoon weariness was recently covered in an article in the Wall Street Journal that focused on movement.
Personally, I believe that changing your diet and implementing intermittent fasting will have a far greater impact than making changes to your exercise plan alone. But this advice may be helpful along with dietary changes.
The meaning of movement during the working day
Longer sitting can also be a source of tiredness. In addition, compelling research shows that prolonged sitting in itself is already an important factor in chronic disease and shortened lifespan – even if you exercise regularly .
To counteract the unhealthy effects of sitting that goes far beyond mere fatigue, it is important to get up in about every 10 minutes.
Like Dr. Joan Vernikos, former director of NASA’s Life Sciences Division and author of Sitting Kills, Moving Heals , explains that the reason behind these negative effects is that you do not interact with gravity when sitting.
Based on their groundbreaking research, we now know that the key to healing is how often one interacts with gravity, such as getting up from sitting during the day.
The act of getting up lets your body interact with the forces of gravity, resulting in positive health effects. Interestingly, lipoprotein lipase is drastically reduced during inactivity and increases with activity, with the most effective activity being getting up from sitting.
Lipoprotein lipase is an enzyme that attaches to the fat in the bloodstream and transports it into your muscles for use as fuel. Essentially, just getting up will help your body burn fat as a source of energy.
An obvious culprit: bad sleep …
I mentioned it earlier, but it needs mentioning again. Let’s say you suffer from afternoon tiredness at work, like most people, along with getting up regularly from your seat, you could also incorporate exercise after work too.
According to recent findings, maintaining a regular exercise program can help to improve sleep over time.
It can also increase your cognitive performance, as evidenced by a number of studies. In a recent study examining the effects of exercise on sleep, sleep-disordered volunteers undertook two-hour forest walks to assess how this affected their sleep patterns.
Some basics of sleep
It clear that you can help build a positive feedback loop that benefits both your sleep and your workout. Two important points to keep in mind when you have sleep problems are the following.
Build a Sleep Retreat – This means removing items associated with entertainment, recreation, work, and hobbies, and turning your bedroom into a single-purpose room – one to sleep in. Of the utmost importance: Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark and quiet .
These three factors can have a big impact on your sleep. In terms of temperature, studies show that the optimal room temperature for sleep is pretty cold, between 15.5 and 20 degrees Celsius, so keep the temperature in your bedroom no higher than 21 degrees .
As for light, even the slightest bit of light in the room can disturb your internal clock and the production of melatonin and serotonin through your pineal gland. These are the hormones involved in the circadian rhythm of your body’s sleep and alertness. So close your bedroom door, get rid of the night lights and, above all, cover your windows.
I recommend using blackout blinds or heavy, opaque curtains. Also, cover your watch if it has a backlit display. Alternatively, you can wear an eye mask to avoid stray light.
•Turn off your devices long before bedtime – Again, the artificial light of your TV, iPad, computer, or smartphone can be an incentive to keep you awake well beyond bedtime by disrupting melatonin production.
I recommend turning off all electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime. This time much better spent reading a good old-fashioned book or practicing relaxation techniques, or in meditation.
Banish afternoon fatigue with proper nutrition and lifestyle changes
So remember, if you often struggle with afternoon tiredness, first check your lunch selection. Most of the time, you’ll find that the more carbohydrate your lunch is, the more likely you’ll feel tired an hour or two later.
To improve the situation, focus on switching your diet from carbohydrates to healthy fats. Once you have changed your diet, implementing intermittent fasting is an effective strategy to really put your body into fat burning mode.
To your health!
- Wall Street Journal August 26, 2013
- Huffington Post August 28, 2013
- Deseret News August 27, 2013
- Biopsychosoc Med. 2011; 5: 13
- Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine 2013 Aug 15;9(8):819-24
- Yahoonews.com August 22, 2013