By LeAnna J. Carey | Sep 23, 2011
Thomas Dekker said that “sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.” Most of us would agree that we feel at the top of our game after a good night’s rest and feel less than competitive after a restless night. One third of each day is spent sleeping and a new epidemiology study reports that there has been a decline in sleep over the past several decades by 1.5 to 2 hours, with close to one third of adults reporting they sleep less than 6 hours per night. The news does not get any better, as other research shows that short sleep duration may be a potential risk factor for newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes.
So what does this mean for the everyday person who needs to stay competitive in the market place and still have energy for family, friends and self? First of all, recognize that people are living and working longer. It is time to start thinking about personal energy and productivity, because employers are looking into ways to maintain high performing work places. This past June, Representatives Klobuchar and Paulsen announced the creation of a congressional caucus that will focus on ways for companies to support employee health and wellness. These initiatives are a positive move that will bring the impact of lifestyle health decisions to a greater level of awareness. Health decisions, however, are personal and making a commitment for healthier lifestyle choices is an effective starting place.
The obvious choices are to use less alcohol, tobacco, be more active and choose a healthier diet, but there are less obvious changes to make – like understanding your circadian rhythm and what will tip the scale to keep you unbalanced and less productive. Your body is composed of many internal “clocks” that stay in rhythm with light and dark, hot and cold, and activity and rest. Here are some tips on how to create more energy and a more productive day:
- Be physically active in the late afternoon. If you exercise first thing in the morning, your heart works harder in order to send more blood to the skin to meet the core body’s demand to be cooler. That’s why most adults have a peak stamina time is in the late afternoon.
- If you have difficulty transitioning from sleep to wakefulness, sunlight helps, but when that is impossible, use bright interior lights that give off at least 400-800 lumen.
- Your body anticipates a substantial food boost shortly after waking, and this is key to synchronizing the cortisol rhythm to wakefulness. Try eating 25-35% of your total daily calories at breakfast – this helps coordinate your cortisol rhythm, gives you more opportunity to burn them off and allows you to eat a smaller dinner.
Try these tips and you will see an improvement in starting out your day with more energy. “Well-spent day brings happy sleep,” Leonardo da Vinci