Updated: Jul 6
Do you hit a wall around 10 am? And 2 pm? And 4 pm? You are not alone.
It's quite common to feel exhausted shortly after eating a meal. Since so many of us are unaware that we are eating food that is not compatible with our individual biochemistry (some people can eat gluten, some can't), most people feel like taking a 2 hour nap every afternoon.
Naps aren't bad. They are good, actually. You are not lazy or odd if you want to cuddle into a soft, warm bed every afternoon. Many cultures indulge in a riposo every afternoon.
In fact, our ancestors may have had stranger sleep patterns than we do. Research has found that a long time ago, humans may have had "two sleeps", and that this made for a pretty darn healthy person.
Our sleep now is rather terrible, comparably. Almost 50% of Americans complain of occasional insomnia, and almost a third of us can hardly sleep at night at all.
Poor sleep is one of the most common complaints I see from women. Without adequate sleep, it's hard to be present in life.
To have adequate energy during the day, you must sleep at night. Sleep long, and sleep well. My tried-and-true tricks include the following:
- epsom salt baths before bed
- magnesium powder
- a protein snack before bed, and upon night waking
- a chilly bedroom (68-72 degrees)
- sex right before bed
- white noise
If that fails, do what I do: Have a few bites of a banana and a piece of turkey lunchmeat. Then, grab your fluffiest, downiest comforter and your Popples. Curl up on the floor of your room. For some reason, this gets me to sleep on the occasional night I am tossing and turning.
So good sleep (including naps) are the cornerstone of having good energy throughout the day. If you still can't sleep, your hormones are messed up. Contact me and let's see what we can do.
If you are getting decent sleep and you still are having trouble getting through the day without yawning for hours on end, consider the following:
1) Assess food sensitivities.
You may pooh-pooh this idea, and I respect that. But I tell you, this is the most common reason people are tired after meals. Either they are eating food that does not agree with their physiology, or they cannot digest their food properly. Remove some of the top allergens (dairy, wheat, gluten, tree nuts, eggs, nightshades, shellfish, citrus) and see if you feel a little peppier. You can run a food sensitivity panel or try it the free way first.
Seed oils like canola, soy, and corn are in everything and can cause some major sensitivities in people. If I get dosed with soy, I can't help myself- I must nap immediately. So I am picky in restaurants. Many use soybean oil in their salad dressing. That is a no for this girl.
2) Extend the half life of your own cortisol
Cortisol is our stress hormone, but it is also a vitality hormone. After extended periods of chronic stress, your cortisol levels can bottom out, and instead of overproducing that stress hormone, you will under-produce it. This is a double whammy, for not only has your energy hormone plummeted, but now your body goes online with the backup system that is epinephrine and norepinephrine, the hormones that make you feel anxious, jittery, and wired- yet still exhausted.
So you can supplement with some gentle Chinese herbs, including licorice root. Licorice root extends the half life of cortisol, giving your body more energy. Do not take this if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, and look to see if licorice root interacts with any medications you are taking.
For most women, though, it is perfectly healthy and safe. And my clients love it. This product helps a ton. Take a dropperful after breakfast and one after lunch. Don't take after 2 pm.
3) Drink, drink, drink!
You need a lot of water. Your body is predominantly water. Your cells are predominantly water. Your poop is predominantly water. Tired, constipated, and crabby? You are likely underhydrated.
Water can be boring all by itself. I like to add a squeeze of lemon or grapefruit and also a good pinch of natural salt. The salt and Vitamin C feed the adrenal glands, and perk you right up. My friend Katy adds crystallized citrus fruit to water.
If you are drinking over 80 oz of water a day, make sure you salt your water once or twice during the day. The sodium will open up the cells, allowing water to get in and hydrate.
Try this drink, too. It is helpful for energy and for hydration. The ribose and the inositol sweeten and energize and balance blood sugar.
And paradoxically, your coffee is probably doing the complete opposite of what you want it to do. Coffee spikes blood sugar and cortisol, only to drop them out hours later. So you are crabby and hangry. I'm not totally anti-coffee, but make sure you stick to a reasonable amount (8oz or so), and add cream or eat a meal with your coffee.
And rest, darn it! I always tell my clients that they need to take time to treat themselves the way they would treat a child, or a pet. Nourish, balance, cultivate. If your puppy were tired, you would not force her to go on an hour run. Don't do that to yourself.
If your child were yelling, crying, and anxious, you would give her a healthy snack and put her down for a nap. I have just described many of us women the week before our periods- if you find yourself in that unfortunate scenario, cancel your plans and eat a healthy snack and go down for a nap.
Rest, dears. Life will go on, even if you nap.
To your energetic health,