Feel Tired? Beating The Mid-Afternoon SlumpPosted: 25th of February 2015 by
You may know the feeling – your morning passes by productively, whether at school, college, or work, and you take your break for lunch. However, mid-way through the afternoon, somewhere between 2 and 3 o’clock you suddenly find yourself feeling tired and lethargic. Rather than getting on with your afternoon’s work you start to feel that all you want to do is take a nap. This is the mid-afternoon slump, and is in-built into all of us as part of our natural body-clock. However, having a snooze is not really an option, so you battle through, but what causes it, and how can you battle through and stay on your game?
While some cultures have created the siesta (an afternoon nap) to allow people to come back later feeling refreshed it is not something that is a part of life in the UK. This need to sleep is caused by a drop in your core temperature, and is similar to that experienced at night just before you are ready to go to bed. This temperature drop tells your brain to release melatonin, and will start to make you feel sleepy. However, it could be that your eating habits also have an impact on your feeling drowsy in the afternoon, so by changing your diet you can actually combat this mid-afternoon slump.
Grabbing a cup of coffee or a sugary snack may allow you an energy boost to get you going or give you a lift, but they will not sustain you throughout the day, and will only add to the natural cycle that makes you feel tired in the afternoon. Instead you should always try to start the day with a decent breakfast. This means taking in several hundred calories, so you should be looking to start your day with a bowl of cereal and a glass of juice or a piece of fruit. Alternatively you might want to get two slices of toast with something like peanut butter plus a banana, or a muffin with egg and cheese.
Your breakfast should include carbs in order to get your brain and body functioning properly. If you add some protein to this you will help boost your concentration levels too. However, breakfast is not enough to fight the dreaded slump, and so you should also try to have a decent lunch too. A salad simply won’t cut it unless you add in some protein to give yourself that extra edge. Add some egg, beans or meat to the salad to give yourself the much-needed protein fix at lunch and keep yourself ticking over into the afternoon. However, try to avoid fat-heavy lunches which will sit in your stomach and take time to digest, leaving you feeling heavy and tired.
If, for some reason, you had to skip lunch, or just get something light, then you will need to get yourself an energy boost to see yourself through the afternoon. However, don’t be tempted to just grab a chocolate bar and a fizzy drink. While these may provide a quick fix, the effects will soon wear off. Instead, get your body warmed up by taking a walk to get your blood pumping. Increase your heart rate a little and you will start to feel more awake.
Also, make sure to drink enough water and get something healthy to snack on. Fruit or nuts are better than that chocolate bar. You can also wake yourself up by getting some light. If you work in a dingy environment, get outside and boost your brain’s responses. It can’t produce that dreaded afternoon melatonin if you are subjected to bright white light. Get yourself outside a few minutes before you usually start to feel tired to head off your brain’s melatonin production.
Of course, alternatively, you might be lucky enough to be able to grab a short nap, perhaps during a free period in college – but don’t sleep too long – 20 minutes should be enough to recharge your batteries. Any longer and you may wake up feeling even worse!
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