5 ways to beat the afternoon slump

How to stop feeling drowsy in the afternoon

Lunch seems like a lifetime ago and as the clock ticks round to 3:30pm you’re struggling to complete even the most basic tasks; like writing your own name. It’s a part of everyone’s life, this afternoon slump, and it is thought that feeling sleepy around two or three o’clock is part of our natural, circadian rhythms. Yet there are ways to overcome this daily afternoon slump, so sit up, stop yawning and take note of these tips.

Start right

Oddly, your mid-afternoon slump can be the result of what you get up to in the morning. If you didn’t make time for breakfast then you will be more likely to feel sleepy during the latter stages of you work day. Make sure you eat a breakfast that is full of protein and wholegrains, such as scrambled eggs on wholegrain toast, porridge with almonds and apple or a fresh, fruit smoothie.

If you don’t have much time in the morning or don’t feel like eating first thing you could always have a breakfast you can eat on the move, such as a wholegrain bagel filled with reduced fat cream cheese and salmon or make a little pot of fruit, natural yoghurt, honey and almonds.

Put down the fries

Carbs and fat fuel the afternoon slump. If you love to eat fries or sandwiches as big as houses then your energy levels will plummet come mid-afternoon. However, you don’t need to cut out carbohydrates and fat altogether to avoid the slump and can instead simply reduce your portions.

For example, you should eat no more than a fist-sized helping of your favourite carbohydrate and limit your fat intake. This is because fat takes a long time to digest and leaves you feeling overly full and consequently rather sluggish. So you could eat a salad with egg, turkey or some chickpeas. Other good, slump-fighting lunches include wholewheat pasta or rice, served with a tomato and olive oil sauce with some salad, or some chicken soup for chilly days.

Take a break

Your boss may not agree, but you need to take a break. Studies have found that taking regular breaks does in fact lead to increased productivity when at work and taking between five to 15 minutes can really help to combat your afternoon slump.

Try to get up and walk around at least once every hour throughout the day. Then, during your break do a few stretches and take a few deep breaths to invigorate and refresh you and your body. When you return to your desk you should feel much more alert and you can wave goodbye to that slump.

Grab a glass

When you’ve got a lot on it can be easy to forget to drink, but your afternoon slump might be caused by a lack of water. Dehydration can make you feel tired, so when you next feel the yawns and the fuzzy thinking associated with the afternoon slump creep in, go grab yourself a glass and get yourself some cold, fresh water.

If you don’t really like the taste of water, you could add some lemon juice to the water. This makes a really zingy, refreshing drink that will wake you up instantly. Alternatively you could soak some pineapple chunks in a jug of water at lunch and then when your slump hits pour a glass of your pineapple-infused drink.

Use your head  

When an afternoon slump strikes the last thing you want to do is engage your brain. However, do a fun, quick task and give those brain cells a blast. Do a puzzle, a series of mental arithmetic questions or try to write a rhyming poem or limerick. Crosswords, lateral thinking puzzles or even a quick game of snap with cards can help you beat the afternoon slump.

Playing a game with others is best, but if you’re at work just quietly take five minutes to do one of these tasks. Engaging your brain in an activity like this will rouse your slacking concentration levels and reengage you in whatever activity you need to be focused on.

Comments (1)

  • jobagshaw 'I love this! I am a total slumper, in fact in one right now and I would, if I could, just have a nap. If this is natural it seems a shame that we can't we just succumb to those needs. Damn wage slave that I am prevents this. Instead I am going to have a break, do some stretches and drink some zingy water right now.'

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