We all know that it’s important to eat well, be physically active and get a good night’s sleep.  In recent years, magazines such as Entrepreneur, Time and Inc. have featured articles about the connection between engaging in the trifecta of health behaviors and professional success. Why? Your success starts with your health – eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly. After all, if don’t feel great, how do you expect to sustain the focus and energy needed to get things done?

Here’s a closer look at why food, sleep, and exercise can impact your success and what you can do to become more healthy and successful.

You are what you eat.  Sounds cheesy, but it’s true. Ron Friedman wrote in the Harvard Business Review, “Food has a direct impact on our cognitive performance, which is why a poor decision at lunch can derail an entire afternoon.” Starchy foods release glucose into our bloodstream quickly, leading to a burst of energy followed by a slump. High fat meals provide more sustained energy, but require our digestive system to work harder, reducing oxygen levels in the brain and making us groggy. A meal that has a balance of carbohydrates, fat and protein will keep you going longer, with more clarity of thought. Kale, blueberries, fish, walnuts, and green tea will boost your cognitive functions.

Exercising the body refreshes the mind. Physical activity will improve your health, but studies also show that exercise keeps the brain functioning well and can double your daily productivity! Daily activity is a necessary ingredient to long-term success. In fact, many successful people like  Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and Richard Branson all make a conscious effort to be physically active. Remember, you don’t have to train for a marathon every day to be active.  Try walking or yoga to boost your brain power.

More sleep = more productivity. One of the most unhealthy habits professionals have today is working too many hours and not getting enough sleep.  Working long hours may seem like the best way to get a lot done, but it isn’t. According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, the consequences of sleep deprivation are arguably disastrous to your health and work performance. Lack of adequate sleep can affect judgment, mood, ability to learn and retain information, and may increase the risk of serious accidents and injury. Chronic sleep deprivation may lead to a host of health problems including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even a shorter life span.

Ever find yourself staring at a blank screen, making mistakes or forgetting to prioritize and complete important tasks?  Sleep deprivation may be the culprit!

The power of these three habits is in their synergy, so don’t focus on one or two. Make sure you give attention to all three. When the three all work together you can become more productive and achieve the success you desire.

Andrea wants to live in a world where the neighborhoods are walkable, bike lanes are plentiful, and the food is fresh, delicious and readily available. A 20-year veteran of the health and wellness industry, she started her career in the fitness industry while earning a master’s degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion, and then on to the burgeoning field of worksite wellness. Andrea has competed in collegiate level soccer, worked as a personal trainer, fitness instructor, wellness coach, and master trainer, climbed 14ers, and completed cycling centuries and metric centuries. All of these experiences give her the opportunity to view well-being from many different perspectives. When she’s not helping others to be their healthiest self, you can find her at a farm to table restaurant, down dogging at the yoga studio, or experiencing the Colorado landscape on a bicycle, snowshoes, cross country skis or on foot.