It’s always difficult to get back into the swing of things when the long summer break comes to an end. Bad habits often creep in over the holidays … irregular mealtimes and sleep patterns, diets that are less healthy than usual, regular alcohol consumption – sometimes well beyond what the body can sustain … So to maintain or restore the energy levels and motivation necessary for the return to work or daily activities, we need to get back on track and revert to a healthier lifestyle.
Step no. 1 - for the whole family: take a multivitamin complex
Even if you eat a balanced diet and choose organic foods, it is far from easy to consume a varied enough diet each day to obtain all the nutrients your body needs. The first step, therefore, is to back up your diet with a multi-nutrient complex
which provides all the substances needed for full-capacity function.
In this respect, it is vital to choose comprehensive formulations
which contain at least forty essential nutrients and reflect the latest scientific advances in terms of bioavailability and dosage. They should offer all the minerals, all the water- and fat-soluble vitamins, and the whole spectrum of carotenoids and vitamin E, as well as specific polyphenols.
For optimal efficacy, and in particular, adequate tissue concentration of these nutrients, this type of multi-complex sometimes needs to be taken not just once but three times a day, alongside your three main meals.
Step no. 2: re-establish good sleep patterns
Improving sleep quality primarily requires a common sense approach: don’t eat too much or too little at dinner and ensure this meal is low in animal fat and in particular, low in tyrosine, which promotes the production of dopamine. It is therefore important to avoid eating cheese during the evening. Instead, eat foods rich in L-tryptophan, an amino acid and precursor of serotonin, melatonin and niacin. Prioritise starchy foods with a low GI as they encourage L-tryptophan to cross the blood-brain barrier by avoiding competition between amino acids.
However, the diet does not contain adequate levels of this valuable amino acid, and it must be obtained from nutritional supplements:
- Either directly in the form of L-tryptophan, since it promotes drowsiness and sleep quality in cases of mild insomnia. In such instances, a dose of 500-1000mg of L-tryptophan should be taken in the late afternoon or early evening.
- Or in the form of 5-HTP, a metabolite of L-tryptophan; indeed some people respond better to taking this direct serotonin precursor. Found naturally in Griffonia simplicifolia, it not only helps with insomnia but with the stress and anxiety that can often accompany the return to professional activities.
To improve sleep quality naturally, specific formulations based on valerian
– a plant that works on the parasympathetic nervous system – or on Rhodiola rosea, hops
or Eschscholzia californica
are excellent alternatives to sleeping tablets, with none of the latter’s side-effects.
is recommended for easing any tension before going to bed. This inhibitory neurotransmitter can also produce muscle-relaxant effects within an hour of ingestion, promoting a sounder sleep.
And for those who tend to go to bed very late and then find it difficult to fall asleep, melatonin
is the supplement of choice – whether in tablet or spray form – as it works within half an hour for 90% of people.
Step no. 3 – put your trust in anti-stress nutrients
Starting at a new school, taking on a new job, moving to a new department or simply coming back to hundreds of emails and a desk full of files marked ‘mega-urgent’ – are all guaranteed to raise your stress levels at the beginning of a new school/work year!
To minimise any potential ill-effects, you can always take advantage of the ocean’s riches with:
- A deep sea fish protein hydrolysate , providing small peptide precursors of endorphins and other neurotransmitters such as serotonin and melatonin.
Other nutrients effective at fighting temporary stress include:
- Krill oil providing long-chain omega-3s (EPA and DHA), and phospholipids which enable the omega-3s to cross the blood-brain barrier easily and penetrate central nervous system neurons.
- L-theanine, an amino acid found solely in tea leaves. It is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and produce calming effects in the brain by increasing alpha waves, the kind generated during a massage, a warm bath or meditation. It results in increased GABA synthesis but not drowsiness, such that L-theanine can be taken at breakfast time to ensure a calm, stress-free day.
- Noopept, a Russian-developed dipeptide patented for the last 20 years which comprises proline and glycine. It has the ability to stimulate certain receptors (dopaminergic, serotoninergic …) and is thus able to significantly reduce anxiety, stress and irritability and improve mood and sleep quality.
- Magnesium, and more specifically, those forms that are particularly absorbable, bioavailable and non-irritating to delicate intestines that may have suffered over the summer due to a high intake of raw vegetables: glycinate, glycerophosphate, citrate, malate, pidolate.
- Posinol, extracted from Apocynum venetum. This can be considered as a last resort when the prospect of returning to work actually produces a knot in the stomach. Its powerful anxiolytic effect, comparable to that of benzodiazepines, combined with proven efficacy at relieving mild to moderate depression, make it a valuable aid to those with serious anxiety problems.
And finally, increase your motivation for work
When you find yourself thinking “I don’t want to go to work”, it may be time to change jobs, or it could simply mean you’re lacking in dopamine. To increase levels of this ‘desire and motivation’ neurotransmitter, you need to focus on:
- L-tyrosine, the direct amino acid precursor of dopamine, combined if possible with vitamin B6, a cofactor in this reaction. Certain forms should be prioritised such as N-acetyl-L-tyrosine which is rapidly converted into dopamine.
- L-phenylethylamine which not only stimulates dopaminergic neurons but also rapidly produces a feeling of well-being. This substance is naturally and solely present in an alga called Klamath. Its bioavailability is enhanced by L-theanine and caffeine.
- Mucuna pruriens, an ayurvedic plant which has proven anxiolytic and in particular neuro-stimulating effects by increasing dopamine levels in the brain. For optimal efficacy, it is always preferable to choose extracts standardised in L-dopa.
- NADH or nicotinamide adenine nucleotide, which naturally stimulates dopamine, noradrenalin and serotonin neurotransmitters, helps maintain emotional equilibrium and stability, and restore energy levels.
A healthy return to everyone.
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