Is this your familiar scenario at work? You are too energetic in the morning. Then, you take your lunch in full. After the break, you resume back to your normal routine. By two in the afternoon, your energy plummets. You feel sluggish doing the assigned tasks as your eyes feel heavy while facing the computer monitor. You try to fight the urge of falling asleep but your body signals otherwise.
The midday drop is completely normal to feel because of the circadian rhythms, which affect your sleep patterns, may be to blame. That’s why, during your childhood days, you are reminded to do siesta (cat nap). But not at work. Not at all. However, there are other factors to consider why you are feeling this way. The food you eat at lunch, hydration level and the time you spend staring at screen can affect your tired and droopy eyes, causing you to drift into dreamland.
What do experts have to say?
Sleep expert explains that midday sleepiness is similar to miniature version of the drowsiness you feel just before bedtime. When your core body temperature drops, it signals the brain to release melatonin, a hormone that is responsible for sleeping and waking up. The exact same scenario also happens on a smaller scale between 2 to 4 in the afternoon.
Internal Medicine expert also shares this reason for your afternoon energy lag. Your body hormones adds to the cause of your sleepiness in the midday. When your blood sugar increases after you eat a meal, it causes to release insulin, which causes a rise in the level of the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan signals the release of serotonin, a hormone that is responsible in maintaining the mood balance; thus, making you feel sleepy.
How to fight this midafternoon dip? Here are some quick fixes to do as soon as drowsiness strikes at work.
- Choose a healthy meal selection for lunch. Eating extra rice or supersizing your white bread sandwich take a while to digest. It may cause your midday fatigue since you have consumed large amount of carbohydrates, making your energy level drop. New studies report that blood sugar impedes the action of oraxin neurons, brain cells that produce oraxin that causes wakefulness. During lunch, opt for meals that are rich in protein. Eat less carbohydrates. However, if you cannot easily forego carbs, switch to good ones like whole wheat bread or brown rice. This will help your body snaps back to its usual alert level quickly.
- Keep moving. Include exercise in your daily routine. Too busy to enroll in a fitness class? Well, enjoy walking around the office premises. Take the stairs instead of using elevators when taking your lunch break. If you feel sleepy at work, choose office tasks that require you to walk over other departments. It keeps you awake. Try doing desk exercises at work to stay awake.
- Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water to keep you going at work. Dehydration causes fatigue. Replenish your lost body fluids by keeping hydrated to recover fast and to keep your mind alert.
- No to caffeine after 4 pm. When having your afternoon break, drink water instead of coffee to keep you awake. Caffeine intake later in the day hinders your upcoming night’s sleep. If you are unable to sleep well at night, you will feel tired and sluggish waking up the next day; thus, affecting your working condition.
- Sip some tea. A better alternative to coffee, sipping a tea is a good step towards beating afternoon ho-hums. Tea can perk up your afternoon without making you stay awake all night. Its nutritional benefits do wonders to keep you better at work.
- Take advantage of your office break. Take a 10-minute power nap to give you that midday boost that you need. You may also do other activities like solving a puzzle or a quick Sudoku during office break to stimulate your brain and keep your mind off from work for a while.
- Switch tasks. If you are working for the same project for five hours, try doing something else to help you stay awake. You can do your filing. This physical activity entails getting you up from your desk as you bend, pull and do some stretching. In addition, this activity lets you conquer sluggishness at work. After doing your filing, then switch back to your original task. It will keep your mind refreshed again.
- Get enough snooze. Of course, getting enough hours of sleep after a day’s work is vital to stay energized throughout the day. Try to keep a sleep and wake up time so the body would know its peak.
Combating your midday slump will not only help you stay awake but also boost your work productivity.