During our onboarding process, we have found that many people indicate the termed “afternoon slump”.
You know, that tired feeling like you would just love a quick nap to be able to finish out the day. There is good news! For the most part, this is normal, but there are things to consider and ways to help combat it. This week we’ll chat about afternoon slumps!
Get Some Sunshine!
You might be able to cure this simply by listening to some upbeat music and/or getting out in the sunshine for a few minutes for a quick boost!
Was it my lunch?
Maybe, maybe not. Research has shown that the slump can even happen without having eaten lunch. However, keeping a level glycemic load in the body can help offset a natural afternoon slump. You need a proper balance of carbs, protein, and fats. A high carb lunch can set you up for a quick drive in energy, but you will quickly find the drop that follows it. Also, make sure you stay hydrated! Even a 1.5% drop in hydration can cause drowsiness.
Was it a poor night’s sleep?
Could be! CHRONIC afternoon slumps or general sleepiness could indicate a medical condition (like a metabolic disorder, PCOS, or sleep apnea) or medication side effects. Be sure to check with your doctor if you have chronic fatigue.
Medical conditions aside, a poor night’s sleep can come back to bite you in the afternoon. Adult bodies need 7-9 hours of QUALITY and UNINTERRUPTED sleep to allow it to run through its full recovery process (mentally and physically!). A quick 10-minute power nap can help with that afternoon slump, though. Just make sure it doesn’t turn into a longer nap which can interrupt a normal night’s sleep.
I had a healthy lunch – what’s wrong with me?
You’re human! The human body runs in a circadian rhythm. By nature, the body naturally dips in energy between midnight and daybreak, then again, a smaller dip between 2p and 4p. Just like near bedtime, your core body temperature drops signaling to your brain that it’s time to sleep – a smaller version of that happens midafternoon. This will typically result in a quick drop in energy, alertness, and focus. As you age, the mid-afternoon slump will likely be more noticeable than in younger years.
TIP: Your body associate’s stillness with sleep. Been sitting a long time? Get up and move around!
It’s the afternoon and it hit me! Now what?
Well maybe we should start with what won’t work? A quick sugar high like a Mountain Dew, candy bar, or a triple shot of mocha in your coffee. These will simply exaggerate your energy very briefly before causing an even bigger dip/low point.
Caffeine can certainly offer some aid, remember to try and keep a full day’s caffeine load to 400mg or less.
What else CAN help? A short bout of exercise like going for a walk or jog. Exercise can produce endorphins and release tension which can offset fatigue.
In the end, get a good night’s sleep, eat well, exercise, and listen to your body! Or, go work for the Huffington Post where they offer “The Oasis”…sleep pods for their employees!
I work shift work. What about me?
Night shifts and swing shifts are tough on the body in regard to circadian rhythm (mentioned above). “Afternoon slump” aside, non-traditional job hours still require a good 7-9 hours of sleep each day otherwise you will fall into a sleep-debt mode that needs to be fulfilled as soon as possible to prevent the increased likeliness of disease.
With night shifts, do not delay going to bed when you are tired! The longer you delay, the more alert you will become. Still try to get 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep, putting your phone on “do not disturb”.
Some other tricks are to eat a small snack before bed and making sure your sleep environment is quiet, dark, and cool.