We start the day of so well, hitting the ground running and we feel unstoppable. Well, for some of us that only lasts to about 2-3 pm in the afternoon as we hit the low energy wall head on. Why is this and how can we prevent this from happening?
You will maybe be surprised to hear that this is rather normal and part of your sleep-wake cycle. But this is only one of the many reasons we struggle with the afternoon lows.
Why do we get an afternoon slump?
1. With sleep/wake homeostasis, the longer you are awake, the more your body feels the need to sleep. If this process alone was in control of your sleep/wake cycles, you should really have the most energy in the morning after you wake and be exhausted in the evenings, ready for sleep.
But your circadian biological clock causes highs and lows of sleepiness and wakefulness throughout the day. And therefore, most adults feel the sleepy between 1-3 pm. You to have a similar cycle between 2-4am, but normally we are already asleep between those times.
2. One of the most common reasons are getting too little quality sleep on a regular basis.
3. Poor eating habits, this include how and when you eat.
5. High levels of stress.
6. Underlying health issues like metabolic disorder or a hormone imbalance.
8. Blood sugar levels being out of balance.
9. Not enough exercise.
10. Inadequate sunlight.
11. Too much time on social media.
How to beat the afternoon slump.
1. It's a difficult ask to make sure that you get 9 hours of sleep each night. Try to go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning. Having a regular sleeping pattern will do wonders for your wake/sleep cycle.
2. Eat no later than two hours before bed. Eating a heavy meal prior to bed will lead to a bad night's sleep and will impede the body’s overnight detoxification process. Eating too much at lunch time or even grabbing something to eat while you are literally on run, will make you feel very lethargic in the hours that follow.
3. Get regular exposure to daylight for at least 20 minutes daily. The light from the sun enters your eyes and triggers your brain to release specific chemicals and hormones like melatonin that are vital to healthy sleep, mood, and aging.
4. Drink enough water. If dehydration is a contributing factor to your afternoon fatigue, make it a habit to keep a reusable bottle of water handy and sip from it regularly.
5. Cutting out carbs as part of your lunch would help as well. Rather have protein like tuna or chicken.
6. Short bursts of activities can do wonders and can keep you alert and boost your fitness. If you're in an office, instead of emailing a colleague, get up and walk to their desk to ask a question face-to-face. If you're home, take a short walk. The little bit of movement will do you good.
7. Start the day off right with a good breakfast. This is the best way to keep your energy level high. Skipping any meal affects your concentration. This makes it harder to solve problems. Missed meals also mean you miss out on nutrients. If you skip a meal during the day, chances are you will overeat at dinner or grab that unhealthy snack.
8. Do not overload on sugar. Eating sugar causes your blood sugar to rise rapidly. You experience a short energy boost. But when you introduce sugar into the bloodstream, your body also makes insulin and this lowers your blood sugar. Often your body over-adjusts itself, causing the blood sugar level to drop rapidly. This explains the drop in energy some people experience about 30 minutes after eating a sugary snack.
You do not have to act on all these suggestions at the same day or time. Small positive actions will lead to huge results. Start slow, try one or two and notice how you feel and how it affects you.
Remember, it is always wise to consult with your doctor, should you get worried over persisting afternoon slumps. The information provided in this post is designed to provide helpful information on the subject discussed. These tips are not meant to be used, nor should it be used, to diagnose or treat any medical condition.