ENDLESS ENERGY

Do you wake up every morning feeling in need of a good night's sleep? Do you struggle through your morning's business, yawn through lunch meetings and drag yourself home in the evening to collapse, exhausted in front of the TV?

Hectic, Nineties lifestyles can leave us with a constant feeling of fatigue, even if we sleep eight hours a night. Longer work hours and lack of separation between work and play means there is no way to escape work stress or find time to take care of ourselves, says stress and well-being expert Dr. Amanda Kirby. This causes tiredness which makes us even more stressed, so we start drinking and smoking, which saps our energy level even further.

If there is no obvious reason for your fatigue, like insomnia or illness, it's time to make some simple lifestyle changes. Just improving your diet or increasing your exercise can make your energy levels soar, says Kirby. To start with, are you too tired for the gym? All the more reason to go: exercise is the best re-energiser around. However low you feel before a workout, you're guaranteed to feel better afterwards. Exercise kick-starts your metabolism, It triggers the release of feel-good endorphins, which lift your mood and give you an extra burst to stay on form.

A fit body deals better with the daily stresses and strains. Exercising also helps you sleep better and boosts your immune system. Inject more activity into your daily life. Try walking or cycling to work; get off the bus a few stops earlier. Research shows a brisk post-lunch walk prevents mid-afternoon slump. Progress to a regular exercise routine, scheduling workouts for the time of day you need a boost. You may find morning workouts prepare you for the day ahead or that exercising after work re-energises you for the evening. Never overdo it: over-exercising leads to exhaustion and stress. If you exercise daily, vary the type and intensity of your workouts so your body can recover, says Kirby.

What we eat and when we eat it affects our energy levels and mood dramatically. Forget double expresso's, the best energy boost comes from a healthy diet, high in energy-packed carbohydrates (like pasta, rice, potatoes) and low in fat. If you're feeling tired, you may not be eating enough carbohydrates to repair your energy stores, especially if you exercise says dietitian Amanda Ursell.

Never miss breakfast. Research shows people who eat high-carbohydrate breakfasts, like cereal and toast stay more physically and mentally alert through the day. Our metabolism is starved overnight so, to get going in the morning, you must have something even if it's just an orange juice, says Ursell.

Heavy lunches lead to a mid-afternoon slump as blood is diverted from the brain to the stomach. Instead, several small meals a day, plus healthy snacks like fruit and yogurts, will maintain your blood sugar levels, staving off fatigue. At business lunches start with vegetable soup or salad, then choose grilled fish or chicken and a sorbet or fruit to finish, says Ursell. Avoid junk food, coffee, chocolate and sugary drinks, they can rob you of the vitamins and minerals vital for peak performance. Eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, says Ursell. If you don't eat much meat, top up on iron (in eggs, wholemeal bread, dried fruit and cereals) and B vitamins (wholegrains, milk, fish, eggs, leafy green vegetables) needed to transfer food into energy. If your diet is still poor, take a multivitamin.

A healthier office environment helps counteract long hours and stressful meetings. Open windows for fresh air and maximise natural daylight. If you work in an air-conditioned office, get outside at lunch time. Lunching over a desk or computer for hours on end leads to shallow breathing, causing tiredness and muscle tension. Ensure your furniture allows you to sit up straight and avoid eye strain and take regular breaks to stretch and boost your circulation. Practice breathing deeply from your diaphragm, four five minute sessions of deep breathing a day calms and re-energises you. Save coffee for emergencies, caffeine raises your heart rate, heightening stress and fatigue. Instead drink two litres of water a day to prevent dehydration. If you're really suffering try swapping your coffee break for a 25 minute power nap. Experts think it works as a mental booster because the first state of sleep is so restorative.

Relaxation is essential, especially for people who are always in work mode. Everyone needs time out to relax and recharge their batteries. Planning time for yourself everyday is as important as a regular holiday says Kirby. It is like topping up your car with fuel - the more often you do it the less time it takes.

Just 20 minutes a day in a peaceful spot will help. Turn your mobile phone off, read a book, listen to music or try relaxation exercises like yoga, meditation or Tai Chi which soothe your mind while revitalising your body.

Last, sleep soundly. According to a U.S. report, half of us don't get enough sleep to remain active and alert. The hours before midnight are the most refreshing but quality is as important as quantity if you want to feel refreshed in the morning. Unless you wind down before bedtime, work problems and worries disrupt your sleep leaving you groggy. Take time to relax. Have a warm bath or read until you're drowsy says Kriby. Avoid caffeine, late-night eating and alcohol, all of which reduce sleep quality.

SAVING YOUR SKIN

Staying safe in the sun... an in depth look at sun tanning - is it worth it?

read more

ENDLESS ENERGY

Do you wake up every morning feeling in need of a good night's sleep? Do you struggle through your morning's business, yawn through lunch meetings and drag yourself home in the evening to collapse, exhausted in front of the TV?

read more

INSOMNIA

Most people at some stage of their lives will have trouble sleeping. However some people find it takes them a long time to get to sleep and don't sleep soundly when they do, waking up a few times during the night or find themselves waking up too early in the morning and cannot go back to sleep. If this describes your sleeping pattern then you have the symptoms of insomnia.

read more

Stay in the loop

Keep up to date with all the latest news, events and articles. And dont forget to check out REAL RESULTS, the ultimate health and fitness guide!"