One minute you’re sitting at your desk, ploughing through work, the next your eyes start to grow heavy, the screen looks fuzzy and you’re hunched over in your chair. We’ve all felt it, usually about 3 o’clock in the afternoon. It’s called the mid-afternoon slump. So what’s the solution?
The after-lunch crash is a regular part of many people’s day, particularly those who work in sedentary office jobs. It’s mostly a result of our circadian rhythms, the natural body clock, which is why many cultures take a siesta in the early afternoon. Short of moving to Spain, we need to find ways to stay alert and keep working. Try the following…
1. Go to bed early on work nights
It sounds obvious, but if you’re tired when you start the day then the afternoon isn’t likely to get any better. Save the late nights and your party animal ways for weekends. It will not only improve your work, but five nights of solid sleep will preserve your health and potentially add years to your life.
2. Have a good breakfast
For weight and energy management it helps to have a nutritious breakfast of slow-release carbs like whole grains, fibre and fruit with small amounts of protein. Save your greasy fry-up for the weekends and avoid high sugar cereals and sweetened or pulp-free juices.
3. Take fruit to work
If you have a muffin, biscuits or pastry for morning tea you’re setting yourself up for a slump later on. Sugar spikes your blood glucose levels, and as Isaac Newton famously said, what goes up must come down. Whole fruit gives you a low-GI slow-release boost and lots of good vitamins too. A piece of fruit mid-morning also prevents you from getting to lunch starving, which will increase the chances of you making bad lunch choices and heading straight for the nearest KFC.
4. Lunch lightly
Two types of lunches will see you crash. High sugar and high carb foods like breads and pasta will lift you up then take you down. But big portions of protein will force your body to divert energy to digest it and also make you crash. An ideal lunch is a small serve of meat or cheese and a salad or green veg, finished off with another piece of fruit.
5. Beware caffeine
Sipping on a latte or long black is a delicious sensory experience, but without wanting to burst your fair trade, single origin or aeropress bubble, caffeine is not the answer it promises to be. Sure, it gives you a boost, but once it wears off it leaves you even lower than before. Over time caffeine exhausts your adrenal response, which leaves you tired and irritable and can set you up for depression. One coffee in the morning is fine, but if you’re ‘hitting’ it on a regular basis you might pay a price later.
Finish the day with some moderate exercise and a healthy dinner and you’ll be setting yourself up for a good next day too.
What’s your favourite way to beat that mid afternoon slump? Share your top tips on the Optus Facebook page.