The Weekly Hot Flash: Burning The Candle At Both Ends
Posted Sep. 25, 2013, 8:58 am
Barbara Bishop / Hot Flash Columnist
I woke up with a bad cold today. Maybe it was because in the last two weeks, I got an average of six hours of sleep a night, partied every night the first week with friends in Chicago, and when I got back, worked an average of 15 hours a day to catch up, ate like crap, and to top it off, managed a grand opening event for a client in their emergency room – disease central!
Time to get my life together. I’m not in my 30s anymore. I used to be able to do that and more, but lately, my energy is running noticeably lower, now that I’ve surpassed the big 5-0. But, I am convinced it doesn’t have to be that way. I took some time to inquire about what are the top things I should do to maintain the highest level of energy. Here are a few tips, especially for women, I found from visiting Web MD and a variety of other sites:
Don’t Skip Breakfast – Or Any Other Meal
Web MD reports that studies show folks who eat breakfast report being in a better mood and have more energy throughout the day.
Also, I came across studies published in the journal of Nutritional Health that found that missing any meal during the day led to an overall greater feeling of fatigue by day’s end.
Okay, so my diet sucks. I will be better about this. It’s now 12:18 pm, and I haven’t had breakfast yet.
Increase Your Magnesium Intake
Eating a balanced diet can help ensure your vitamin and mineral needs are met. But, according to Web MD, if you still find yourself pooped, you could have a slight magnesium deficiency. (I am quite sure they don’t mean a cup of coffee or two in the morning, a sandwich at 1 pm and leftover steak at 7 pm is a balanced diet.)
According to what I read, this mineral is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including breaking down glucose into energy. So when levels are even a little low, energy can drop.
The recommended daily intake of magnesium is around 300 milligrams for women and 350 milligrams for men. To make sure you’re getting enough, Web MD suggests:
• Add a handful of almonds, hazelnuts, or cashews to your daily diet.
• Increase your intake of whole grains, particularly bran cereal.
• Eat more fish, especially halibut.
That seems simple, especially if I start eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
Drink More Water & Less Alcohol
I already know that it’s easy to confuse signals of hunger with thirst (we think we need food when we really need water). But did you know that thirst can lead to feeling tired?
Web MD reports that sometimes even slight dehydration can leave you feeling tired and lethargic.
The solution is simple: a tall, cool glass of water. This is particularly important to boost energy after exercise, when your body is likely to be craving fluids.
Drink less alcohol is my new mantra. Not only do I feel like crap the next day, I tend to do stupid things the night of (especially if I drink too much), that I would not ordinarily do if I did not drink at all. Besides, it’s empty calories I don’t need.
Walk Around The Block
While it may seem as if moving about when you feel exhausted is the quickest route to feeling more exhausted, the opposite is true. Experts say (including my trainer, Fabian) that increasing physical activity, particularly walking, increases energy. But do I listen to them? No. I was so good for a few months, and then I stopped.
According to Web MD, in experiments conducted by Robert Thayer, PhD, at California State University, a brisk 10-minute walk not only increased energy, but the effects lasted up to two hours. And when the daily 10-minute walks continued for three weeks, overall energy levels and mood were lifted.
Okay, I am recommitted (starting tomorrow) to my walking regime.
Get Enough Sleep
That’s what started the whole low energy thing with me! But really, how much is enough?
According to the National Institutes of Health the average adult sleeps less than seven hours per night. In today’s fast-paced society, six or seven hours of sleep may sound pretty good. In reality, it’s a recipe of chronic sleep deprivation. Most adults need between 7-1/2 and 9 hours of sleep to function at their best.
And naps can help make up the deficit. Which is exactly what I am going to do. Now. Need to kick the cold. And catch up on my sleep. ‘Night!
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Barbara Bishop is President of Santa Monica-based BBPR, Inc. For comments or suggestions, email Barbara.firstname.lastname@example.org.