How to Avoid that Afternoon Slump
If you work in an office or other environment full time from nine to five, there is always the likelihood of feeling tired or sleepy during the afternoon. You could find your productivity levels taking a dive or cannot avoid yawning constantly.
According to Livvy Probert - an expert in physiology and neuroscience - it is very common to get an energy dip in the afternoon and there can be several reasons why but two of the most common are one a lack of physical activity (slowing blood flow) and two blood sugar levels peaking and crashing due to diet.
How can you beat that afternoon slump?
We share our top ten tips...
1. Eating a healthier and sustaining breakfast. Breakfast is often said to be the most important meal of the day. But what you eat is of course very important too. Avoid a breakfast that is high in sugar because it causes a surge in your blood sugst levels followed by a crash that can make you feel sluggish. Instead, switch to a savoury breakfast that is high in protein with good fats and fresh vegetables or oats, yoghurt and fresh fruit.
2. Using cold water therapy. Having a cold shower (when working from home) and running cold water over your wrists (when in the office environment) can boost alertness and cognitive function by improving blood flow to vital organs and the brain even if just for a short period.
3. Checking your supplements. By adding some supplements to your diet to boost vitamins and minerals, you can give yourself an energy boost. B vitamins, vitamin C and Iron are a good start.
4. Re-considering that morning cup of coffee. For many, drinking a cup of coffee on getting up in the morning is part of their daily ritual. You may well notice a big difference if you change that coffee to a glass of water instead. It is not widely known that caffeine interacts with a compound called adenosine which actually makes the body sleepy. Normally, on waking the body removes adenosine but hen you drink coffee it blocks this. When the caffeine wears off, the remaining adenosine resurfaces leading to tiredness. You can still enjoy that cup of coffee but instead allow up to ninety minutes so that your body has time to cleqr out adenosine naturally.
5. That office lunch. What you decide to bring with you from home or to buy locally can affect your energy levels. Foods like white bread, rice and pasta and other white carbs are more likely to lead to an energy dip. Instead, go for wholegrain alternatives which are rich in fiber to slow down digestion and provide a steady release of energy.
6. Are you making time for exercise? Exercise will always come with benefitd, boosting floor flow and increasing oxygen delivery both to the muscles and the brain. The types of exercise suggested include a brisk walk, yoga or even a lunch break run.
7. Is it a good idea to have a nap? There is always a difference in opinion on the question of taking a nap. But if this is a possibility, a short nap (ten to twenty minutes only) will help you to recharge, increase alertness and cognitive function while reducing stress. A longer nap could mean entering into a deeper stage of sleep so that you feel worse when you awake.
8. Do you get a good night's sleep? Your afternoon slumps can be worse if you're not getting enough sleep at night. We all need at least seven to eight hours of good quality sleep at night to function to the best of our ability. When there is a lack of rejuvenating sleep at night, the body will try to catch up during the day.
9. Working smarter. During a productivity slump, you have two choices: make the most of the energy you have or take a break. If you don't have time for regular breaks, taking your low mid-afternoon energy into account when planning your day. Another suggestion is to schedule more rote work that doesn't need your full brain for this time - work such as checking emails, expenses or filing.
10. More social interaction could be helpful. Try to schedule meetings during that time of day when you could feel a slump coming on or engage a colleague in conversation or a brainstorming time for work. As a last resort, call a friend or a family member for a brief chat.