Healthy Ways to Get Through the Afternoon Crash
Updated: Oct 2, 2019
We’ve all felt it. The lull that comes sweeping in between 1 and 3 pm, making us feel as if a nap is not coming in the next few minutes, we may not make it through the rest of the day. The afternoon crash is a common occurrence, especially in office settings, and it impacts men and women equally. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the strongest urge to sleep happens in the early to mid-afternoon, which isn’t helpful for most. The bad news is that without a fix, it can seem like the worst part of your workday.
The good news? There are plenty of natural solutions to help you feel more energized during the day.
Go Easy on Lunch
One of the best steps to take to help fight off the afternoon slump is to focus on what you eat. Having a healthy breakfast helps, but what you put in your body during lunch can be even more crucial to your workday. Most of us have a short break for the midday meal at work, and that can lead to making less than ideal choices. Picking foods that are high on the glycemic index – those that contain simple carbohydrates – aren’t the best option. That’s because the body immediately releases the energy simple carbs provide. After 20 to 30 minutes of a simple carb-heavy meal, you’ll feel the urge to nap.
Shifting your attention at lunchtime can make a significant difference in how you feel the rest of the day. Combining some simple carbs, like bread and pasta, with lean protein and fiber is a solid choice to keep your energy steady.
Grab a Nap
Although this may not be an option for most people who work a traditional 9 to 5, getting a quick nap in during the early afternoon can be a game changer. Some experts suggest that giving in to the urge to sleep can be beneficial for the body, helping us reset when we need it most. If you’re someone who has the ability to get a nap in during the day, make sure to keep it short. Sleeping more than 20 minutes may seem like a good idea, but it can throw off the rest of your afternoon while also making it more challenging to get a healthy night’s rest when the day is over.
Engage Your Senses
Often, the afternoon slump comes even after healthy choices have been made during the day. You can quickly get a fresh wave of energy by engaging the senses, in one way or another. Smelling something like citrus or eucalyptus wakes up the body through the production of serotonin. The added hormones create a feeling of happiness which naturally boosts energy levels. Similarly, exposing your eyes to brighter light can make a difference. These simple activities help perk up your senses to motivate you to stay awake and moving.
Take a Lap
Similar to getting your senses involved in the process, moving your body can have a positive impact on your energy level. Several studies suggest that taking a walk or standing throughout the workday can lead to more energy in the afternoon, even if it involves taking a single lap around the cubicles. Walking has also been shown to reduce stress levels, increase creativity, and boost productivity, particularly for those who sit for the majority of the day at work.
Most Importantly, Focus on the Cause
There are many reasons the afternoon nap may come knocking, from a high-carb lunch to being stuck in an office chair all day. However, the cause may also be linked to other issues, such as back pain, headaches, or tension in the muscles and joints from stress. These discomforts make the body exhausted, and that can lead to a daily struggle even after following the steps mentioned above. Getting the right treatment and care for what ails you through chiropractic or massage techniques may help alleviate some of the pain and tightness in the body. This can lead to less sleepy afternoons, and more productive workdays overall.