I was chatting to Stuart, a customer who regularly hires cars from TSS, he has to travel long distances for meetings, often up to Glasgow in the space of a day.
Having travelled down to Devon a few weeks ago and felt pretty tired and drowsy while doing this I asked him jokingly how he managed to stay awake.
It’s about what you put into your body and when. There are some foods which he says are a complete no no. Such as chocolate.
Stuart said that chocolate gives you a real high but then crashes you back down to tiredness very quickly. Thinking back now I only had a bar of chocolate while I took my last long journey so I’m not surprised I was tired
Another type of food to avoid is processed fast food, so Burger King is also out!
He said the things he has found most effective is drinking plenty of water (because it meant he stopped more and broke up his journey) eating fruits such as apples and bananas. He also carried out a little 5 minute work out each time he stopped. The other thing he did was chew sugar free gum.
I thought I’d ask Thame’s resident health and fitness guru George Anderson if these things really did make a difference and whether there any other foods that may help avoiding drowsiness and tiredness while driving.
“There’s definitely a relationship between what you eat and how energised you feel. Stuart’s bang on with the comment about sugar because that’s exactly what happens.
Sweet ‘energising’ products like chocolate bars and energy drinks are often the worst things you can eat when you need to stay alert because after that initial rush your body starts to bring back stability.
You produce emergency quantities of insulin and your sugar levels plummet below the level they should be, sending you towards a chocolate flavoured coma.
Better foods to eat are higher fat and protein-based snacks such as nuts, seeds or even diced chicken breast which is easy enough to take with you on the run.
Fruit is mentioned above which can go either way, so you need to experiment a bit. It’s obviously healthier to eat an apple than to munch on a Twix, but fruit still contains sugars (fructose) that can affect your blood sugar levels in much the same way as chocolate.
Lower fructose options such as blueberries can work well, or if you are going to eat apples and bananas, combine them with the nuts to slow down the absorption of the sugars.
Stuart’s point about the water is also an important one. Not only does it enforce more loo breaks, by keeping hydrated you keep your body functioning more efficiently. Nutrients can move in and out of cells and it has a direct effect on alertness.
I also love it that Stuart has a little workout when he stops – I thought I was the only one! This seriously works so give it a go next time the sleep demons are creeping in. You don’t even have to all hot and sweaty, just do 10 squats followed by 10 press ups (place your hands on a bench to make this a little easier) and repeat for 3 rounds.
Getting your heart rate up and the blood pumping does wonders for your ability to stay alert behind the wheel.”
George runs BootCampByGeorge.com in Thame and Oxford, and really knows his stuff when it comes to getting people in shape, fit and healthy!
So there you have it. Turns out Lucozade and Mars Bars aren’t the best ways to fuel your body for a long drive so next time you stop off at a motorway services head straight for the mixed nuts and water.