By Jenny Suri
Want to work better?
We all know health is important and healthy habits can help you become more productive.
“By combining healthy eating habits with enough sleep and exercise, you can create the ideal diet for productivity.” says Dr. Kshamica S. Nimalasuriya, Preventive Medicine physician who specializes in public health, helping people achieve their goals by looking at their overall health behaviors and habits.
Attention to sleep, nutrition and exercise all contribute to higher energy levels and better cognition to help you make it through the work day. Follow healthy habits to make it to the end of the day feeling good.
For more tips on healthy sleep, nutrition and exercise follow Dr. Nimalasuriya on Instagram @kshamicaMD.
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Feed Your Brain
Good nutrition is important for brain function. Dr. Nimalasuriya recommends a diet that includes foods high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats.
“Foods like green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, fish, legumes and whole grains provide the body with important nutrients to help you stay energized throughout the day. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables also helps to ensure that your body is getting the necessary vitamins and minerals it needs to stay healthy.”
A recent study found that feelings of well-being and creativity are linked with eating fruits and vegetables. So eat your veggies; you will be healthier and feel better!!
Nimalasuriya also recommends “eating a balanced meal that includes proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats can help keep cravings at bay, allowing you to focus on your work instead of what’s in the fridge.”
Along with a healthy diet, supplements can improve productivity in a variety of ways. Try a combination of a few key supplements for increased cognitive performance and physical energy.
Consult with your doctor before taking any supplements to make sure you are getting the right dose and avoid any negative interactions with medication you may be taking.
Looking for a sustainable way to organize your supplements?
Check Your Hydration
Water is a vital nutrient for your body. The adult body contains 60% water and 73% of your brain and heart are water. Even mild dehydration – a loss of 1-2% of your body’s water – can lead to impaired cognitive abilities.
“Studies have shown that hydration has a huge impact on productivity. When you’re dehydrated, your body runs less efficiently and you’re more likely to feel tired and sluggish. This can lead to decreased alertness, slower reaction times, and poorer decision-making—all of which are necessary components of productivity…By staying properly hydrated throughout the day you can maintain optimal alertness and productivity.” Nimalasuriya says.
Although each individual and circumstances are different, a healthy adult needs to drink about 2-3 liters of water a day. How do you know if you’re drinking enough water without measuring each glass? Nimalasuriya suggests drinking water throughout the day and taking the urine test: “make sure your urine is pale yellow or clear. If it’s dark yellow, that means you need to drink more!”
Water filters and water bottles can help you stay hydrated. Download the Softly browser extension to help you find sustainable SWAPS! like these.
“Poor quality sleep can lead to feelings of grogginess and fatigue, making it difficult to concentrate and stay productive.” according to Dr. Nimalasuriya and she recommends maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, along with reducing your exposure to screen time before bedtime, and creating an environment conducive to restful sleep.
A sleep routine can help avoid “social jetlag”, a term coined by Till Roenneberg, professor of chronobiology at Munich’s Ludwig-Maximilian University. Social Jetlag, caused by sleeping in on weekends, is created by the difference between our internal clocks and timing of our social commitments. It can make us feel like we’ve flown to Europe and back every weekend. It’s alright to catch up on sleep a little over the weekend, but don’t sleep as if you’re in a different time zone! You’ll pay for it on Monday.
When–and if–to Nap
Should you take naps? If you find yourself needing naps, a recent study found that you’re not getting enough sleep. But if you need to get through a long night of work, nap before or during that all-nighter, not after. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that taking naps after putting in a long night is not effective in helping you recover your sleep. If you are working at home, find a comfortable spot to grab 40 winks to get you through that all-nighter. But always make sure you get enough sleep every night!
These Softly! SWAPS can help you get the sleep you need.
Exercise for Productivity
Moderate exercise is an important complement to proper nutrition and sleep to improve productivity. Exercise can increase the areas of the brain we use for thinking and memory to help us become more productive. Dr. Scott McGinnis, a neurologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, told the Harvard Health Letter that “…engaging in a program of regular exercise of moderate intensity over six months or a year is associated with an increase in the volume of selected brain regions,”
Dr. Nimalasuriya adds that “Exercise not only helps to keep your body in shape, but it also releases feel-good hormones that can help you stay focused and productive. Regular exercise can be as simple as taking a walk around the block or doing a few stretches before work.”
A healthy body can mean a lot more than staying out of the doctor’s office. Eating well, sleeping regularly and moderate exercise can all contribute to a more productive and happier life.
Read more about productivity in Softly’s blog post on Intentional Productivity.