Do you wake up feeling groggy most days? If you’re successfully getting between seven and nine hours of sleep per night but still waking up feeling tired and in a bit of a fug, it could be that your diet is to blame.
If you’re not loading up on enough complex carbohydrates , antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, beneficial fats and complete proteins, your health is going to suffer. And tiredness in spite of a good night’s sleep is one of the first signs that something is amiss.
It isn’t always a question of how to sleep better. If you want to stop feeling tired and improve your energy and focus throughout the day, great nutrition needs to be your focus. But what are the best foods and drinks for energy?
Here are the best foods and drinks for when you’re feeling tired, feel your focus is off, or need an energy boost:
1. Water is essential to convert food into energy
Dehydration can lead to feelings of fatigue. Upping your intake of water - and hydrating fruits and vegetables such as watermelons and bell peppers - can help to keep tiredness at bay. You should aim for eight glasses of filtered water, and five to ten serving of hydrating fruit and vegetables, each day. Although water doesn’t contain calories, it is an essential component of an efficiently functioning metabolism and for converting energy from food into energy that the body can use as fuel.
Coffee is very dehydrating, so if you are a coffee drinker, try to drink one glass of water for every espresso shot you consume, and limit your coffee intake to the mornings only. Consuming caffeine after 12pm has been linked with reduced ability to fall asleep easily, leading to increased fatigue the next day.
2. Healthy fat sources that reduce tiredness and fatigue
Plant-based whole food fat sources are generally loaded with key nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Avocados and almonds are two of the best plant-based fat sources for reducing tiredness and fatigue.
Avocados are not only delicious, but they contain over 20 different vitamins and minerals essential for health and metabolism and are chock-full of fat and fibre that can keep you satiated and your blood sugar stable, hopefully stopping you reaching for that 3pm chocolate bar! Try adding half an avocado to a morning smoothie, or mashing one up and enjoying on rye toast for breakfast.
Almonds are another fatigue-fighting powerhouse. Almonds are rich in high-quality protein, monounsaturated fats and fibre, again keeping you feeling full and energised. Almonds are also high in B vitamins, which are responsible for your body’s ability to convert food into energy, and in magnesium which plays an important role in preventing muscle fatigue. Enjoy by the handful or in nut butter form.
3. Leafy green vegetables contain iron which supports the metabolism
Leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach contain high quantities of iron. Iron is fundamental to energy maintaining a healthy energy metabolism and is responsible for transporting oxygen around the body. Low levels of iron are heavily implicated in fatigue.
Over half of those suffering from iron deficiency will experience fatigue as a leading symptom.
4. Eggs are a source of iron, B vitamins and vitamin D
Eggs are one of the best sources of protein for those who awake feeling fatigued, not least because they are one of the most versatile breakfasts foods around! Eggs contain high-quality protein which, when combined with the healthy fat in the yolk, can help us to feel energetically sustained and full all morning.
Eggs are also a great source of iron and B vitamins, as well as vitamin D (a fundamental nutrient that most of us are sorely lacking in) and biotin which is a great addition to your diet if you have lacklustre skin, hair or nails and want to improve their appearance .
5. Complex carbohydrates give a sustained energy boost
Complex carbohydrates can provide a sustained energy boost, plus whole grain varieties are packed full of fibre. Oats are a great way to start the day as they are filling, nutritionally-dense and can help to protect against the blood sugar spikes and drops associated with processed breakfast cereals. A great little hack is to stir an egg into your morning porridge or oatmeal just as it’s finished cooking - it adds a lovely creamy consistency to your breakfast whilst packing a protein and nutrient punch at the same time.
Bananas are another great carbohydrate-rich food that can be enjoyed as part of a fatigue-fighting diet. Bananas are chock-full of potassium, magnesium and B vitamins, and encourage a slow and steady release of energy-boosting natural sugars into the bloodstream. The fibre in bananas also naturally prevents the blood sugar spikes that can leave you needing a nap or reaching for a second coffee.
Sleep is such a fraught subject; it’s absolutely fundamental to good health but even if we think we’re doing it right, unless we get on top of our nutrition we simply won’t be able to reap the benefits. In addition to making the above dietary tweaks a priority, you can support your sleep cycle with the help of smart supplementation.
LYMA is the ultimate sleep supplement. It contains sleep-aid Ashwagandha KSM-66®, a patented root-extracted form of the adaptogen that contains active compound triethylene glycol which decreases sleep latency and improves quality of sleep. Furthermore, LYMA’s formula includes a clinically approved daily dose of powerful nootropic Cognizin®, which is backed by science and has been proven to enhance mental energy, increase focus, improve attention span and boost productivity.
If you’re ready to take back control of your health, regain your energy and get back that joie de vivre that seems to have evaded you, try increasing your intake of energy-supporting foods and start supplementing with LYMA today. If you’re still concerned about sleep and experience insomnia or trouble nodding off, then take a look here for our top tips for improving your sleep .
Originally published Aug 28, 2020.