Afternoon Slump with Dr. Michael Mol

If you’re like many people, shortly after lunch your head begins buzzing, your concentration plummets, your eyes droop and the top of your desk begins to look as comfy as a feather mattress. There are many plausible theories for the afternoon slump. Maybe the morning surge of hormones has petered out or some degree of brain boredom has set in. Whatever the reason, what’s more important is knowing how to overcome it!

It’s completely normal to feel super tired once the afternoon rolls around – thanks to the circadian rhythms that affect our sleep patterns. Our body’s “sleep signals” peak at night and around 2 pm which may explain the midday slump and why we want to grab an afternoon power nap. Fortunately, there are a lot of hacks & tweaks that you can make during your day to ensure you don’t nod off before you knock off.

Caffeine is not the only slump solution

Caffeine is an obvious choice, and coffee is good for you. The trouble with coffee, and all other energy boosters including energy drinks and jelly beans – is that their energy fix is temporary. Don’t just kick the can down the road when it comes to crashing on your keyboard! So by all means, have your cuppa jo, but a better bet is plain old water. You don’t need to follow the “8 glasses a day” rule, but drinking water regularly has been shown to keep fatigue at bay. 

Afternoon workout?

A lunchtime workout will also do the trick, and don’t worry about missing out on critical work time. Studies suggest working out can actually increase your productivity enough to counteract that time away from your desk. 

Environmental energy booster

If you’re bound to your desk, no need to climb underneath it for a power nap – just choose a window seat, because environmental cues play a huge role in your body’s energy reserves. The daylight, fresh air, or even simply a natural view can all help boost alertness. Sprucing up your desk with a few plants might help too. Studies show that simply looking at the colour green sparks inventiveness.

Make 2 pm your happy hour

What we do at 2 matters too. We don’t always have a choice about what it is we need to do. If you can choose, make a point of doing your most engaging or interesting task during the sleepiest time of day (typically around 2-3 pm)

Laughter is energy-boosting

Finally, one of my favourite hacks is a 5-minute “I was thinking of you” call to your partner, your parents, your kids or your BFF. Some familiar banter will lift your spirits for hours and reinvigorate you to get your work done. Laughter is a proven stress buster and can also boost your energy levels. Sounds like a great reason to watch funny cat videos after this!!

A note from Vital’s Experts: DID YOU KNOW?

Tiredness and fatigue are linked to nutrient deficiencies. B Vitamins, Iron and Magnesium all contribute to energy metabolism. If your diet does not contain sufficient nutrients for energy production, you will be more prone to an afternoon slump.