7 Natural Ways To Prevent That Dreadful Afternoon Energy Slump
It’s not just you—thousands and thousands of people know exactly what it feels like to have the energy zapped out of them usually sometime during midafternoon. There’s stuff to get done, but the only thing on people’s minds who experience this type of “midday slump” is usually a long nap.
This annoying but common occurrence is tied to your circadian rhythm—otherwise known as your body clock. One of the main jobs of the circadian rhythm is to regulate how alert or tired you feel over a 24-hour period, which can be influenced by the amount of light you’re exposed to, your body temperature, the release of different hormones and even your blood circulation.
In addition to experiencing these biological shifts at night before going to sleep, many people have another one that occurs in the afternoon, often between the hours of 1 and 3 pm. Some experts say this is totally normal and that our bodies are actually programmed to nap in the afternoon, which can improve our mood, ability to focus and reaction time.
Unfortunately, not everyone has the time to nap every day. If you’re one of the lucky ones who do, you might want to consider making coffee naps a part of your routine to supercharge your productivity afterward, but if you’re someone who just wants to shake off that drowsiness and avoid that slump in performance after lunch, there are a few things you can do.
1. Start Your Day By Eating A Healthy Breakfast
According to WebMD, both your brain and muscles need carbohydrates to function optimally. That doesn’t give you permission to load up on donuts and pastries, though. Instead, choose complex carbs like whole grain toast or oatmeal and pair it with some protein for an even bigger performance boost.
2. Lay Off The Sugar
Keeping your blood sugar levels in check is essential if you want to avoid any drops in energy no matter what time of the day it may be. A high-sugar snack or meal might temporarily give you a boost, but it’s almost always short-lived, followed by a crash as your blood sugar drops quickly afterward.
3. Move Around More Often
If you’re feeling cold and drowsy from sitting in the same spot for too long, one of the best ways to shake off that feeling is by forcing yourself to get up and walk, stretch or do some other form of movement. It will bring your body temperature up, get your blood flowing and boost your level of feel-good endorphins.
4. Exposure Yourself To Natural Light
Whether it’s clear and sunny or a bit glum and overcast, getting outside for at least 20 minutes to just allow your eyeballs to soak in some of that daylight should help wake you up a bit. Breathing in that fresh air will also get you to take in more oxygen, which is essential for an alert and well-functioning brain.
5. Drink Lots Of Water
Believe it or not, tiredness and even some headaches can be caused by dehydration. Unfortunately, relying solely on your sense of thirst before you decide to start gulping down water isn’t going to work. It’s much more beneficial to start your day with a big glass of water and continue drinking regularly throughout the entire day.
6. Avoid Eating Anything Too Heavy At Lunch
A huge meal at lunch with all the fixings could send you into a food coma by the time you have to get back to work because your body will be putting all of its energy into trying to digest all that food you just ate. Your lunch doesn’t have to be small, but make sure you stick to portion control while incorporating a healthy helping of lean protein, high-energy complex carbs and nutritious veggies.
7. Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Sleep At Night
It shouldn’t exactly come as a surprise that your afternoon slump is likely to feel more intense the day after a rough night’s sleep. Sticking to a regular bedtime, a regular wake-up time and aiming to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep at night is usually the best advice for most people. The better the quality of sleep you get at night, the more you’ll be able to sustain your alertness throughout the day.
By putting these tips into practice, most healthy adults should be able to completely eliminate their midday slumps. In general, it’s all about balance and maintaining a healthy lifestyle overall.