How to Beat the Afternoon Slump: 9 Tips and Remedies

Natural Remedies
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How to Beat the Afternoon Slump: 9 Tips and Remedies | in this post, we share common causes of the 3 pm slump so you can learn how to avoid the feelings of mid-afternoon fatigue to begin with, and we've also compiled a list of tips, hacks, and remedies that will teach you how to get through on days you're really dragging. From healthy snacks, to brain breaks, to essential oils, and more, skip the caffeine and give these a try!

Everyone knows that time of day where all of a sudden you start feeling tired and groggy. It usually hits after you’ve eaten lunch and it’s called the afternoon slump. Your energy, concentration and productivity levels are shot and it feels like only a giant cup of coffee will get you through the rest of the day. While we’re all for a good caffeine boost, the jolt is temporary and can create a secondary slump that’s worse than the original one. If you want to beat the afternoon slump for good, check out our best tips and remedies.

What is the ‘Afternoon Slump’?

The afternoon slump is that sleepy and sluggish feeling that comes around mid afternoon. It typically occurs after lunch and can become an issue if you’re at work, on the road or doing anything that requires high energy levels. It can make you feel drowsy and unproductive and it can be a serious bummer when you realize there are still multiple hours left in the day before you can relax. The afternoon slump is a natural response to circadian rhythms, which typically make us most sleepy from 2 to 4 am and 1 to 3 pm.

What Causes the Afternoon Slump?

  • Natural response to circadian rhythms
  • Inadequate sleep
  • Poor nutrition/ unhealthy diet
  • Dehydration
  • High stress levels
  • A sedentary lifestyle

9 Tips and Remedies to Beat the Afternoon Slump

1. Eat a High Protein, Low Carb Lunch
Refined carbs like bread, pizza and pasta can make you feel sluggish and low energy. Opt for high protein lunches like egg salad, chicken lettuce wraps or a tofu power bowl. Forgoing the carbs will help you prevent an afternoon crash, whereas the protein will help you power through the rest of the workday.

2. Don’t Skip Breakfast
If you want to keep your energy levels at peak performance throughout the day, it starts with eating a healthy breakfast. Skipping any meal affects your concentration, making it harder to solve problems, be creative and get things done. Missed meals also means you miss out on key nutrients. There are numerous breakfast foods that will help boost your energy and power you throughout the day including oatmeal, almond butter, eggs, Greek yogurt, berries and chia seeds.

3. Get Some Sun
Exposure to sunlight can reduce the amount of melatonin your body produces and tells your body it’s not time to sleep. It also boosts vitamin D production, which strengthens your immune system, boosts your mood and lowers your risk of diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Try to eat your lunch outside in the sun if you can or find a sunny spot in the office.

4. Drink Lots of Water
It’s important to drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep yourself hydrated. Dehydration can contribute to fatigue and moodiness, and it can also affect your ability to recall information, and lead to foggy thoughts and impaired decision making. Drinking water can activate your metabolism, and a boost in metabolism has been associated with a positive impact on energy levels. Staying hydrated keeps your energy levels up so keep a water bottle at your desk to remind you to drink up!

5. Take a Post-Lunch Walk
Getting fresh air and staying active are two of the best things you can do to beat the afternoon slump. Changing up your scenery and adding variety to your day will help you boost your concentration. Without a break, you’re more likely to lose productivity and focus. Even short bursts of activity can keep you more alert. Take a short walk around the neighbourhood and you’re sure to feel re-energized when you get back.

6. Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil has been shown to improve concentration, alertness and energy levels. It also provides a relief from stress and mental exhaustion. Peppermint oil may be just what you’re looking for to replace caffeine for your mid-afternoon lull. You can rub a drop of oil under your nose, diffuse it in your room or office or apply it to the back of your neck and shoulders to boost your energy and mental clarity.

7. Stick to Healthy Snacks
It may be convenient to grab a pastry or bag of chips to snack on, but these processed foods will only make you feel sluggish. When it comes to snacking throughout the day, stick to fruits and vegetables and any foods high in protein, fibre and healthy fats. Nuts and homemade granola are excellent options, as are apples with peanut butter, roasted chickpeas and brown rice cakes with avocado.

8. Beware of Sugar
When people are tired, they often reach for a sugary snack to give them a quick energy boost, but this can do more harm than good. Eating sugar causes your blood sugar to rise rapidly, which does create an energy boost, but when sugar is introduced into the bloodstream, it also makes insulin. This lowers blood sugar levels and can lead to a drop in energy levels about 30 minutes after eating a sugary snack. Stay away from candies and sweets, and opt for natural sugar from fruit instead.

9. Schedule Your Work Around Your Energy Levels
You know yourself best and you can work around your high and low energy levels to get the most out of your day. If you know you’re going to have less energy in the afternoon, use that time for tasks that require less energy. If you have most of your energy in the morning, use that time for your most creative, high-energy work. Design your schedule accordingly and see the difference it can make.

If you’re all too familiar with the afternoon slump, we hope these tips and remedies help you feel energized and productive from now on!

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