18 Mar What to Know: 5 Reasons You Feel Sluggish in the Afternoon
It’s a familiar feeling: you’ve been having a regular, productive day. Suddenly, after lunchtime, everything changes. A slow but certain sense of sleepiness begins to creep into your afternoon. You find yourself reading the same line in an email ten times without actually taking anything in. Your coworker tries to ask you a simple question, and you’re flooded with irritation. Your eyelids feel heavy, and your head is starting to throb. You check the clock. It’s still hours before you can head home.
The dreaded “afternoon slump” can certainly be unpleasant, and it’s a remarkably common problem. Though it’s perhaps thought mainly to be a workplace problem, sluggishness around the hours between 1:00-3:00pm can strike anybody.
If midday sluggishness often throws a curveball into your daily routine, you may be wondering why it keeps happening. Here are a few common causes for afternoon slump—and what to do about it:
1. You haven’t been moving around enough
You might think that by sitting all day, you’re conserving your energy, thus keeping yourself awake. That is not exactly the case. When you sit still for a prolonged period of time, your body starts to think that you’re trying to fall asleep.
If your job, studies, or other responsibilities require you to sit still all day, afternoon sluggishness may be a problem you encounter on the regular. Try a few of our helpful ideas to keep your energy levels high, even if your obligations keep you sedentary.
- Try some “office yoga”
If your day-to-day routine has you behind a desk or in a chair for hours on end, give office yoga a whirl. A quick Internet search will present you with dozens of simple stretches you can do right in your cubicle. Not only will these yoga poses get your energy flowing, but they’ll also make you feel like you’re making a healthy choice— even if you had a fast food lunch.
- Put some bounce into your day
These days, lots of offices are swapping out boring old chairs. From standing desks to kneeling chairs and saddle seats, there are plenty of ways to use a workspace without just sitting down in a regular office chair. Even if your job isn’t offering seating alternatives, you can bring a yoga ball to work. Sitting on one of them while you type away is great for your productivity— and your posture and core at that.
- Break up your schedule with little walks
Get extra movement into your day whenever you can. If it’s possible, try and take small walks outside every hour to get your blood moving, even if it’ only for five minutes at a time. If it’s impossible for you to get outside, even a walk around your office can be a big help in combatting afternoon sluggishness.
2. You’ve been skipping water and eating foods that make you drowsy
When a coworker has a birthday, the cake in the staff room may be a popular treat, but soon after the candles are blown out and everyone has returned to their desk, afternoon fatigue settles over the entire office. By the time the end of the day arrives, everybody is a grouchy zombie— hardly the jovial group of smiling colleagues whom you saw singing “happy birthday” a few hours earlier.
So, what happened? Sure, a big hunk of cake or a hastily purchased container of noodles from the local takeout joint might taste great after a long morning of hard work, but its pleasure is short-lived. Eating simple carbohydrates or sugars can cause your blood sugar to first surge, then drop and ultimately leaves you feeling depleted.
On a similar note, keep track of how much water you’re drinking. Keeping hydrated is not just for hot days and during physical activity. Be sure to consume plenty of H20 throughout your day. Remember, dehydration doesn’t only make you sleepy and grumpy, it can be dangerous to your health.
Looking for some tasty snacks that won’t make you crash? Look for complex carbs, fiber, and protein for your midday nibbles. Next time, try chowing down on:
- Unsalted, roasted nuts and seeds
- Raw veggies and hummus
- A hardboiled egg
- A bit of dark chocolate
3. You’re bored
If you aren’t interested in whatever you’re doing, it makes sense that you might find yourself feeling tired. After all, if your brain is bored, it will only take so long for your body to catch up!
According to a Japanese study, the brain’s pleasure receptor actually causes your body to feel sleepy if it isn’t stimulated. So, if you’ve eaten a simple carb-heavy lunch, and now your 1:00pm lecture or meeting isn’t very exciting, you may find yourself struggling to stay awake, even if you got a full 8 hours the previous night.
4. You aren’t sleeping enough at night
Turns out, your parents were right. A good night’s sleep really does make all the difference.
Sure, an occasional sleepless night isn’t going to hurt you, but when it becomes a habit, it can have a negative effect on your daily life. When sleep deprivation becomes the norm, the body and mind suffer. It can cause “brain fog,” bad moods, lack of concentration, and many physical health problems.
Maintaining a regular sleep schedule and trying to get your full 8 hours is a lifestyle change worth making. Start small, like going to bed 15 minutes earlier every night until you have a bedtime that allows for a full 8 hours of sleep.
Having trouble nodding off at night? Try one of these tricks:
- In your head, count backwards from 100, starting over each time you make any mistake
- Listen to white noise, relaxation sounds, or special sleep music when you get into bed
- Don’t use your phone, browse the internet, or scroll your phone for an hour before climbing under the covers to sleep
5. You need an extra kick
Sometimes, it’s just one of those days.
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If your afternoon is dragging, get yourself to your nearest grocery or convenience store, gas station, or pharmacy. 5-hour ENERGY® shots are waiting on the shelves to get you moving and save the rest of your day.
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