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You might have noticed that the afternoon slump makes you feel slower and more tired. While there are many reasons it can happen, the most basic reason is a circadian rhythm.
Also known as your biological clock, the circadian rhythm is the cycle of sleepiness and alertness in your body. It was formed from years and years of evolution, long before we ever developed light bulbs and oil lamps. A study in Yale revealed that people often felt tired or sleepy between 1PM to 3PM because of the drop in temperatures. This was the body’s way of knowing that night was coming. Since nighttime was bedtime, humans felt more tired by the afternoon and let themselves rest for the day. So, ideally, you could say that it’s natural to feel the afternoon slump.
That said, it’s not the only factor that you need to consider. For instance, people who don’t sleep well or sleep under six hours can feel exhausted during the afternoon slump. In other words, it’s not just your biological clock that messes up your energy. It can also be the lifestyle you have, which is what you need to change to beat the afternoon slump.
For instance, one reason you struggle in the afternoon is the amount of stress you feel. Stress can make it difficult to sleep well during the night. Because of this, you might lose sleep and feel tired when you wake up. Also, if you eat a breakfast full of sugar or processed foods, you risk spiking your energy levels high in the morning.
You might be asking why you should try to beat the afternoon slump. It might seem like a minor problem or a natural part of the working schedule. However, being unable to deal with the slump can cause you significant problems later on. Here are some ways that it can complicate your life.
Feeling exhausted can lead to drastic shifts in mood. What you say or do in the morning, when you feel energized and excited, won’t be the same when you feel tired. This can lead to misunderstandings, especially if you lash out at other people. For example, you might get annoyed quickly with a colleague when you think they’re too loud.
As seen on GoodRx Health, a study showed that those who suffered sleep deprivation were more likely to eat snacks. The kinds of food they ate included high-fat, high-sugar, and high-calorie meals and treats. It could be a way for the body to try and get back that lost energy. Regardless of the reason, a bad afternoon slump can make you crave more and eat more than you need.
The ironic thing about stress is that the more stress you feel, the more it builds up. Those who suffer a lack of sleep or struggle with the afternoon slump might feel more stress over time. Imagine napping at a time when you should be working on your report. By the time you wake up, you’ll feel guilty and upset.
In addition, the afternoon slump can make you feel more fatigue as time goes on. Sure, an occasional nap wouldn’t be a bad idea. However, the more you let yourself fall into the slump, the more tired you’ll feel in the afternoons.
Now that you know how the afternoon slump hurts your productivity and lifestyle, it’s time to change that. Here are four ways you can beat the afternoon slump in your life.
Getting sleep is always the go-to answer for any lack of energy, right? Unfortunately, a lot of people think that power naps are the best solution.They can certainly help, especially if you take 30 minutes to rest your eyes and body. However, the best answer isn’t to sleep during the day but to sleep enough during the night.
Keep track of how long and how often you sleep at night. Ideally, to beat the afternoon slump, you need to sleep at least seven hours for a proper rest. To make it easier, start by making your bedtime a routine, instead of a choice. For example, set a time when you should turn off your devices and prepare for sleep. Soon enough, you’ll find yourself getting tired and sleepy around the same time every night.
When it comes to waking up, you could set an alarm for when you should get off your bed. Practice by standing up as soon as you hear the alarm. It might be exhausting at first, but at least you’ll fight the temptation of falling asleep again. If you’re not fond of using alarm clocks, make sure that the time you sleep gives you enough hours to wake up and prepare.
Another way to stay awake is to stay active and alert. It might sound silly, especially since we’ve always been told to rest when we’re feeling tired. However, if you want to beat the afternoon slump, you need to kickstart the energy in your body.
One way of being active is to walk around or do some stretches. By exercising, you force your body to pump more blood and oxygen. Not only is this a natural answer to sleepiness, but it’s also a lot cheaper and safer than drinking coffee or energy drinks. So, if you feel like you need to nap this afternoon, try to walk around the office or up the stairs first. You could also check out these office workouts to stay in shape.
What you eat can determine how energized you feel later in the day. As said before, those who eat meals full of high-sugar or high-fat foods might risk an energy crash later. The last thing you want is to enjoy a delicious sandwich and coffee in the morning, only to fall asleep by 1PM.
To beat the afternoon slump, consider what kind of meals you will eat. A balanced breakfast with vegetables can do a lot more than a standard egg and bacon meal. You can also add whole grains and foods rich in fiber during the afternoon to sustain your energy longer.
While naps aren’t ideal, they can indicate another kind of problem: overworking. If you spend a lot of hours outside of the office doing more work, you’re eating away at your energy. One of the best ways to beat the afternoon slump is to balance your work-life. That means not only working when you need to but also resting when you have to.
If you need rest during the day, you can go for a power nap to restore your energy. If you work with computers or devices, take some time to close your eyes and rest them. Remember, the blue light can keep you awake but it can also cause eye strain. In addition, if you need a break from work, try to use five minutes of your time to do something else. For example, you can listen some of your favorite tunes or meditate in your chair. Once you finish, you’ll feel ready to tackle your work with a refreshed mind.
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