Whether you consider yourself a morning person or a night person, you no doubt share one sleepy time in common with most of humanity: mid-afternoon. Yup, it’s that afternoon slump that gets us when we’re least expecting it. Perhaps you’ve had a super-productive day and you’re on a roll only to find your brain starts stalling out and you can’t seem to find the gas pedal to get things going again.
Oh So Natural, and Oh So Annoying
In our industrialized, on-the-go nation we find this dip in energy quite annoying. Who has time for a nap in the middle of the afternoon? However, in many cultures the siesta is a normal part of life. Many experts say that our internal body clock is hard-wired to make us feel a little sleepy around two or three in the afternoon. Others say that a dip in our core body temperature is to blame for our drowsiness.
Whatever the cause, the effect seems to be universal. We all get the urge to doze in the mid-afternoon hours. What if you don’t live in a land where taking a little snooze is socially acceptable? What can you do to ward off the drooping eyelids?
Beating the Afternoon Slump at Its Own Game
You may not have the ability to rewire your circadian rhythm so you feel more alert when you want to, but you can work with your body to beat that afternoon slump. Try a few of these tricks next time you’re reaching for that pillow you hide under your desk:
- Take a walk. Getting your heart rate up for just a few minutes may not only help you wake up, but may even boost productivity. Take a stroll during your lunch break and walk away from the afternoon slump.
- Stay Hydrated. Water flushes out toxins that may cause you to feel tired. Drinking water prevents dry eyes, which can make you feel sleepy. Keep a water bottle with you and sip throughout the day. A smaller bottle will force you to get up and refill more often, giving you a chance to stretch your legs and further ward off that tired feeling.
- Avoid Coffee. We know… giving up the java might be asking a lot. Try to restrict your coffee intake to just the morning. Coffee dehydrates the body, leading to increased fatigue.
- Get tested for food allergies. You may not even be aware that certain foods you eat on a regular basis are causing an allergic reaction. Eating these foods may be exacerbating the feeling of fatigue you feel after lunch. Blood tests may help to identify trigger foods, or you can try an elimination diet to pinpoint the culprit yourself.
- Snack on healthy foods. Snacking on a protein and complex carbohydrate can restore your body’s energy. Try an apple with almond butter for an easy on-the-go snack that will keep you awake.
- Get your shut eye at night. Making sure you get enough sleep at night is crucial to fending off the afternoon slump. It only stands to reason that if you’re only getting five or six hours of sleep a night your body will find some way to fill in the gap – most likely in the middle of the afternoon. Unplug early, sleep in late; do whatever you have to, but make sure you’re getting the sleep your body needs at night.
Speaking of sleeping at night (shameless promotional segue… we know), did you know that around 40% of Americans have trouble sleeping at night? Download our free ebook and discover how to make your pillow fall in love with you once again. Sweet dreams!