Having trouble beating the afternoon slump after a super busy and productive morning? We’re happy to share a few tips and tricks to help you stay productive throughout the day.
Why We Feel Tired in the Afternoon
It is perfectly normal to feel tired as the afternoon kicks in. Experts say that the Cicardian rhythms (a 24-hour cycle in the physiological process of any living being), which influence our sleep patterns, may be responsible for the midday fatigue. Did you know that our “sleep signals” apex at night and during afternoon hours (around 2 pm)? That’s a fact, which is why each of us might need a good afternoon nap.
Other factors include diet, hydration levels, and, of course, the amount of time we spend staring at the computer screen.
How to Beat Afternoon Slump
Time For a Snack
If you feel like you’re close to curling up in your cubicle and are unable to stay focused, it’s probably a sign you need to eat. We tend to become unfocused and emotionally unbalanced when we feel hungry. Reach for a handful of raw or roasted, unsalted almonds, an apple, or some carrot sticks.
If you’re lucky enough to have a one-hour lunch break, a trip to the gym may give you a boost and ward off slump. Do some light aerobic exercises before you get your head back in the books. No time for exercise? Try some “office exercises” like putting your headphones on and walk around the cubicle while talking on the phone or do some weightlifting while proofreading your reports or going through some last-minute emails. Take the stairs if you need to talk to a coworker in a different department or the longest route to the photocopier. All these tricks will help you stay focused throughout the day and also keep fit.
Don’t Sit Too Close to the Computer Screen
Spending too much time in front of the computer can damage your eyes and cause eyestrain. To avoid that, try to sit about an arm’s length away from the computer screen and take frequent breaks. If you can print out a report and read it the old-fashioned way, do that to minimize the time spent on-screen.
A change of surroundings may skyrocket your productivity. So, a good idea would be to move around as much as your work allows. Either move to a meeting room or find yourself a place near a window for natural light, which will keep you alert.
A reason for you feeling sleepy and sluggish in the afternoon is dehydration. Drink water to reinvigorate. Proper hydration is key for whole body functionality, including the brain.
Taken in recommended amounts (>400 mg/day), caffeine can help us stay alert through a whole workday without causing sleep disorders.
Containing less caffeine than a cup of coffee, but just about enough to wake you up, a mug of green tea will get you through the day. Plus, green tea is a well-known power drink for its ability to stimulate metabolism and support weight loss, which makes it a perfect choice if you’re dieting.
Time For a Splash
If you still feel sleepy, then head off to the bathroom and splash some cold water on your face. It will do the trick. If you can’t afford to splash away your makeup, try wrapping two ice cubes in a light dish cloth and dab them gently against your closed eyelids for several seconds. The chill will help make you more alert, without completely wiping off your makeup.
Have a Walking Meeting
If you need to go into a meeting, suggest your boss and peers holding your meeting out in the open. They will most likely appreciate the thought, especially if that meeting is scheduled for the afternoon when everybody will most likely feel the same physical fatigue as you do. You will be surprised how productive and creative you all are.
Working on the same project from morning till late afternoon can be exhausting and may even cause a blockage. That’s why it is always best to switch tasks after focusing on a task for more than 2 hours consecutively.
Some researchers even argue that the American adult attention span has dropped in the last few years to 30, 20 or even 5 minutes. Dramatic as it may sound, late educator Neil Postman attributed that dramatic reduction of our capacity to focus on a topic or a task to technological advances, such as the television and the Internet. Therefore, alternating between tasks can help us stay focused and be more productive.
Take a Nap
If you really can’t keep your eyes open, perhaps it’s best if you take a short, 20-30 minute nap. Make sure you set an alarm and wake up when it goes off. It is probably the best remedy for afternoon slump, and really refreshing.
If you need to pay a visit to your GP or dentist, make an appointment around lunchtime to force yourself to stay active around noon and avoid feeling sleepy.
Have a Chewing Gum
Chewing gum can be as energizing as a cup of green tea. It’s tested. For your oral health you may wish to use sugar-free versions or even caffeinated gum for an energy boost.
Turn Up the Music
If you’re alone in the office, turning up the volume a little on an energetic tune is an excellent way to both re-energized and stay focused on what you’re doing. Headphones are always ideal so you don’t disturb others. Listening to your favorite tunes does not only sharpen your focus, but will also ward off sluggishness.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
A healthy, rich breakfast will get you through a busy day at work. If you don’t really have time for breakfast, grab a healthy sandwich on the go, or bring a protein shake mix for your water bottle.
Avoid a Rich Lunch
Avoid supersize portions at lunchtime. In most cases, heavy meals are to blame for midday doziness. A protein-rich meal low in carbs is always an excellent choice, like a salad with grilled chicken, fish and steamed veggies or black beans.
Even taken in small amounts, sugar can take you a long way in the wrong direction. Consuming sweets in the afternoon will only cause sugar crashes, making you feel sleepier. If you really have a sweet tooth, have fruit instead. Remember, an apple a day keeps the doctor away!
Avoid Sitting For More Than 3 Hours
Scientific research shows that sitting for longer than 3 hours can be detrimental to your health. On top of this, it increases the chance of sleepiness. To stay focused and improve your circulation, stand up or take a walk around the office for a few minutes.
Sleeping 7 to 8 hours a night will get you through a rough day at work and improve your performance. Are you an insomniac? Before you down a handful of pills to help you sleep, try a good cup of soothing chamomile and valerian tea and read a book (something relaxing, a very light topic). It will work miracles, you will see.
Frequently, hangovers are to blame for the afternoon slump. So, it’s best to avoid partying the night away during the week or having one glass of wine too many.
Try these tips for a week and you will see the difference! Check us out for more useful healthy living tips and tricks!