Midday slump. Post-lunch lethargy. Late afternoon lull. Whatever you call it, you can blame your biological clock for the dip your energy levels take when 2:00 pm hits.
Your circadian rhythm sends out it’s strongest sleep signals from 2:00 to 4:00 am and 1:00 to 3:00 pm. Inconvenient, am I right?
But it is possible to fend off afternoon fatigue, so you don’t spend the last few hours of your workday staring blankly at the computer screen while urgent emails flood your inbox.
You can outsmart your circadian rhythm, so you’re ready and raring to tackle the rest of your day. Here are 10 ways to snap yourself out of that productivity-sapping midday slump:
- Take an afternoon exercise break. When the first signs of afternoon fatigue set in, get up and move. You may not be able to hit
the gym for a full workout, but even a 10-minute walk around your office should energize you. In fact, a 2017 study found that 10 minutes
of exercise was a more effective way to improve afternoon energy levels than drinking caffeine.
- Drink water (and add a slice of lemon). Dehydration makes you tired. So, if you haven’t had enough water by the time lunch rolls around, that afternoon slump is going to be brutal. Women should drink at least eight glasses of water per day and men should drink at least 10. And here’s a helpful tip—if you add a slice of lemon to your water, the smell and taste of citrus can give you an extra energy boost.
- Pep yourself up with peppermint. If you’re into aromatherapy, you may know that a quick whiff of peppermint oil can snap you out of your sleepy afternoon state. So, keep a bottle on hand and take a sniff when you start to feel the slump coming on. Or, if you’re able, set up an essential oil diffuser near your work space, and hit the “on” switch the second you get back from lunch. Sipping on peppermint tea can do the trick too, if you’re in need of a post-lunch wake up call.
- Have a hearty laugh. Laughing releases endorphins and increases the amount of oxygen you take in, which can make you feel energized and optimistic in the afternoon hours. So, next time you feel afternoon sleepiness setting in, watch a funny cat video or chat with a witty coworker—anything that inspires an energizing chuckle.
- Breathe deeply. Speaking of oxygen, breathing deeply is an easy way to deliver more oxygen to your brain, so you feel alert and on top of your game in the afternoon. Sit up straight and take several big diaphragmatic (one that fills your lungs and your belly) breaths.
- Drink green tea. Green tea contains an obvious energy booster—caffeine. But it also contains antioxidants called polyphenols, which have a proven fatigue-fighting effect.
- Chew gum. Studies show the simple act of popping a piece of gum in your mouth can reduce mental fatigue. But make sure to choose a healthy a gum brand that’s not filled with artificial sweeteners and ingredients.
- Listen to uplifting music. It’s amazing what the right song can do for your mood and energy levels. So, create a playlist that makes you feel peppy, and pop in your earbuds before that slump sneaks up on you.
- Have a chat. Having a lively conversation will instantly make you feel more awake. So, if you can, take a 10-minute break to chat with a coworker or call a friend.
- Eat more protein. It’s no surprise that what you eat affects your energy levels. But do you know what type of food is proven to keep energy levels high all day long? Protein! Eating high carb-foods causes your energy levels to spike and crash (along with your blood sugar). But eating protein throughout the day keeps energy levels stable. So, stash a bag of Stryve Biltong in your desk to keep yourself safe from afternoon sleepiness.
- Sleep Drive and Your Body Clock — National Sleep Foundation.
- Stair walking is more energizing than low dose caffeine in sleep deprived young women — Physiology & Behavior.
- 14 Energy Drainers — and Fixes — Fitness.
- Ambulation-promoting effect of peppermint oil and identification of its active constituents — Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior
- Stress relief from laughter? It’s no joke — Mayo Clinic.
- The Effect of Diaphragmatic Breathing on Attention, Negative Affect and Stress in Healthy Adults — Frontiers in Psychology.
- Take a deep breath — Harvard Medical School.
- Green tea polyphenol shows anti-fatigue effects: Animal data— — NutraIngredients.
- Effect of regular gum chewing on levels of anxiety, mood, and fatigue in healthy young adults— — Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health.
- What Gives the Most Energy Per Gram: Fat, Protein or Carbohydrates? — San Francisco Chronicle’s SFGate.