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Beat Your Afternoon Crash

Emily Wiley

READ TIME:2 min.

It’s three o’clock in the afternoon. You’ve been back from lunch for about an hour. You’re a little warm, you’re feeling full…and you’re crashing. Your head starts to droop, you can’t stop yawning, and your eyelids feel heavy. Sound familiar? You’re not the only one—I totally relate.

To give you some background, our circadian rhythm, or our natural sleep and wake cycle, actually occurs twice each day. The first peak in hormones occurs between 2:00-4:00 a.m., when we are already asleep. The second, however, occurs between 3:00-3:30 p.m.1 That means it’s actually natural to feel tired in the mid-afternoon.

To help us both overcome this, I’ve researched nine ways to boost your energy and beat the afternoon slump!

Sleep
Just sleep. Most adults need between seven to nine hours of sleep each night.2 If you’re running on a constant sleep deficit, chances are you’ll feel that midday slump a little more than someone that is fully rested.

Eat breakfast
We’ve been hearing this for years—it’s touted as a solution for everything. That’s because it works, and it’s time we started listening. Eat a well-rounded breakfast every single day. Coffee and a bagel don’t count. Aim for lots of protein, whole grains, and healthy fats.

Have a small, healthy lunch
Overeating at lunch can leave you feeling lethargic throughout the afternoon. A large lunch will pull in excess blood for digestion, utilizing valuable energy on things other than finishing your project.

Avoid sugars
Stay away from them at breakfast, lunch, dinner. Sugars have an impressive effect on your body, which is not necessarily a positive thing. Your body becomes dependent on sugar the more you eat it. It starts to rely on it for energy, so when you don’t eat it, you can experience an even bigger crash.

Have a snack
Your afternoon crash could be caused by a dip in your blood sugar levels. To raise them back up, grab something quick and easily digestible. Preparing and chewing your food also allows you to focus on something other than your computer screen for a few minutes.

Drink cold water
That’s right. Water. Not caffeinated soda, not coffee. There’s no reason to spike your blood sugar level drastically, only to go through another crash an hour later. Cold water is refreshing. It also stimulates your sensory controls, providing you with energy.

Move
You can only sit in a chair so many different ways before you just need to get up and move. Stretch, do some push ups, walk to the drinking fountain…just get your blood flowing again.

Go outside
Melatonin can be directly affected by bright light.3 Do a quick lap around the building, go on a walk at lunch, and absorb some sunshine to chase off those midday yawns.

Socialize
Take a minute to chat with your coworkers. Even better, stand or walk together as you chat. Stimulation can go a long way in keeping you from feeling tired.

Good luck, and stay alert!

Emily Wiley
iFit Trainer

WARNING: This post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. iFit assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.

1. http://dromana-psychology.wikispaces.com/file/view/sleepiness.pdf
2. http://www.sleephealthjournal.org/article/S2352-7218(15)00015-7/abstract
3. http://www.cet.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Lewy-1980-Science.pdf

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