If you've ever begun a productive day armed with coffee and a whole list of stuff to do, only to start dozing off by 2:00 pm, you're not alone. The afternoon slump is real. You might begin to yawn and feel it's time to take a nap or can't find the energy to concentrate on the task at hand even though you still have a few hours before your workday ends.
To escape the afternoon slump and stay productive, you should first understand why it happens, how to fight it, and ways of preventing it from happening.
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Why Do I Get So Tired in The Afternoon?
There are many reasons why most people get tired in the afternoon, especially from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. To some degree, it's physiological. Our regular circadian cycle dictates a stretch of drowsiness in the afternoon. Nonetheless, other factors like sleep disorders, stress, or not enough sleep can cause drowsiness at this time. Once you've figured out the reason behind your afternoon drowsiness, you can prevent it from happening.
Let's see some of the reasons behind your afternoon slump:
- Insufficient Sleep: Not getting enough sleep can lead to sleep debt, which will cause drowsiness and affect your ability to concentrate on your work.
- Stress: Stress at work can affect your energy levels and cause fatigue in the afternoon. What's more, stress can negatively affect the quality of sleep you get at night.
- Unbalanced Diets: Preparing meals loaded with sugar and carbohydrates can increase your sugar levels which causes drowsiness.
- Circadian Rhythm Disruption: The circadian cycle dictates how your body adjusts when you're alert or tired. Light exposure and irregular sleep patterns can affect your circadian rhythm.
If you experience excess fatigue or the extreme need to take a nap daily, there might be other root reasons that might require expert advice.
Tips on How to get past the Afternoon Slump
Although there are various causes for sleepiness in the afternoon, there are actions you can implement that will help you from drowsiness at this time:
- Take a walk outside: Being exposed to some sunlight can combat the afternoon slump and increase the quality of your night sleep. Take a couple of minutes, step outside, maybe take a walk into the light, or if you prefer, you can buy a light therapy lamp.
- Lie down for a while or take a nap: If it's possible, you can take a nap for around 15 – 45 minutes after you've taken your lunch. This short nap time can minimize drowsiness and make you more energetic and alert.
- Chew gum: Chewing gum helps in keeping the body alert and active. That simple act alone helps in improving your performance and attentiveness during the day.
- Move around: Physical activity also helps keep the mind alert in the afternoon. Even if you decide to walk around the office, moving around helps reduce sleep.
How Can I Prevent Drowsiness from Happening?
In addition to the above factors, you can prevent the afternoon fatigue from happening by considering a major lifestyle change that can have positive impacts:
- Eat healthy foods: Consider eating fruits more often, vegetables, fiber, etc. Sometimes eating too much sugar might make you tired.
- Get sufficient sleep: One way to beat the afternoon slump is to get adequate sleep. Having a consistent sleeping schedule and getting to bed early can combat the afternoon slump.
- Consult a physician: If you constantly get fatigued, and it is affecting your concentration levels, consider consulting a physician.
- Afternoon energy boosters: If you didn't have a proper breakfast, you should take a moment and have a bite. Some good energy boosters include fruits, peanut butter crackers, or any nice protein combination.
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