You might have never heard of the term “Afternoon slump,” but you undoubtedly have experienced it sometime in your work life. It is a feeling of extreme tiredness and sleepiness that comes in the afternoon around 2 to 3 PM.
There may be many factors contributing to an afternoon slump, such as a heavy lunch or inadequate sleep. However, no matter what the factor is, an afternoon slump can severely affect your productivity.
Even if you are highly motivated or very healthy, you can still experience a mid-afternoon slump from time to time. Once you experience it, even the easiest of tasks can seem extremely difficult, and the only thing that you want to do is fall asleep.
Symptoms and Causes of a Mid-afternoon slump
While people may experience the afternoon slump differently, there are a few common signs and symptoms. They are -
- Physical and mental fatigue
- Continuous yawning
- Inability to focus and concentrate
- Mood swings (Irritability or depression)
- Muscle Weakness
- Slight changes in vision
- Sugar cravings
Many factors can cause you to feel tired and sluggish in the afternoon. Some reasons include -
- Lack of sleep or irregular sleep patterns
- A heavy lunch full of carbohydrates and sugar
- The body’s natural circadian rhythm
- An Inactive or Sedentary Lifestyle
- Mentally demanding tasks
- Fatigue due to prolonged screen exposure
- Inadequate hydration
- Workplace boredom
- Workplace stress
- Underlying health problems
Ways to Avoid and Overcome an Afternoon Slump
Different people have their unique methods to combat mid-day slumps. Some may drink caffeinated beverages like coffee, while others may take a walk to freshen their minds.
But to prevent and overcome a mid-day slump, it is important to recognize and understand its signs and causes. This way, you can take the necessary steps to avoid and overcome the same.
Here are eleven practical ways that you can avoid and overcome the dreaded afternoon slump at work -
1. Eat healthily
Your nutritional habits can have a massive impact on your energy levels throughout the day. Avoid unhealthy foods with high sugar content and opt for complex carbohydrates that will keep you energized. Also, consume protein-rich foods and healthy fats to balance your diet.
2. Cut down on meal portion size
Eating a large meal for lunch can spike blood sugar levels and cause the body to increase melatonin production, which is a hormone that regulates sleep. As such, you may have experienced a mid-day slump post-lunch at work. Therefore, you should avoid eating large amounts of food during lunch and eat small portions.
3. Eat more frequently
The frequency of your meals can also play a role in your energy levels. Unlike eating one or two big meals, frequently eating small meals can boost your energy throughout the day. This way, you also be able to focus on your tasks better without hunger distracting you.
4. Get sufficient sleep
If you do not get enough sleep at night, you will undoubtedly feel sleepy at work, and it will also impact your ability to concentrate. So make sure that you get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night to function optimally.
5. Exercise regularly
Regular exercise can significantly increase your energy levels and also reduce your stress levels. It can also increase your productivity at work.
Make sure that you partake in some exercise regularly. If you don’t have the time to go to a gym and workout, you can try some of these easy-to-do office exercises.
6. Get up and stretch
If you feel tired and sluggish, standing up and stretching your body can do wonders for you. Stretching promotes blood circulation throughout the body, helping you feel energized. You can try these stretches to relieve some tension and feel refreshed.
7. Do some yoga
Doing yoga is also a great way to boost your energy levels and reduce stress. Yoga also has many other therapeutic benefits, such as improving sleep patterns.
Even a 20-minute workplace yoga session can help boost your energy and increase concentration and alertness at work.
8. Take a walk
One of the most common ways that people shake off an afternoon slump is by taking a brisk walk outside. Walking out in the sunlight is a great way to trick the mind into being alert and staying awake. Exposure to sunlight will also increase your Vitamin D levels.
9. Drink water
Dehydration can be a reason why people experience sluggishness and a lack of energy in the afternoon. So, drink lots of water at work, preferably eight glasses, to keep yourself adequately hydrated throughout the day.
10. Munch on a healthy snack
Healthy snacking is a great way to boost energy, increase productivity, and improve health at work. You can snack on a bar of dark chocolate to gain an energy-boost or munch a handful of nuts to ensure that you are getting enough healthy fats.
Here are some delicious and healthy snacks that you can munch on during work hours to stay energized.
11. Grab a cup of coffee or tea
Undoubtedly the most popular way of battling fatigue and lethargy at work is by drinking a steaming cup of coffee or tea. The caffeine in tea and coffee helps stimulate the brain and keeps it more alert.
However, don’t drink too many caffeinated beverages as doing so can cause unwanted effects such as insomnia and nervousness. You can also drink green tea, which is hugely beneficial for health and doesn’t affect sleep.