Everyone has felt it. You start the day feeling refreshed and ready to go. The morning has cruised by and now it’s lunchtime. After lunch, the afternoon slump hits hard. The desire to take a long nap increases as you watch the clock tick by. Does this sound familiar? Here are five tips to break through this cycle of the mid-afternoon slump.
1. Diet Training
There are two ways our bodies produce energy. Energy is produced by burning sugar or burning fat. Many bodies are trained to burn sugar because a common diet typically consists of simple sugars (such as breads, pastas, etc.). When we eat a lot of these simple sugars, our blood-sugar levels skyrocket. This tells our body to start producing insulin. Insulin is a hormone that eats these sugars to order to convert them into energy. However, the body can and does often produces excess insulin. This excessive insulin consumes the sugars causing our blood sugar levels to drop rapidly. This leads to fatigue, mental fogginess, and that longing for an afternoon nap. The more our bodies exchange simple sugars for healthy fats, the more energized we feel, because our bodies will break down that fat at a much slower rate.
Water is the necessary fuel to keep the body running. The body can survive weeks without food. The body can only make it three days without water. Aim for half of your body weight in fluid ounces. For example, if you weigh 160lbs, you will plan to drink a minimum of 80 fluid ounces of water per day.
3. Better Sleep
Many people do not get enough sleep. One should be aiming for 7-8 hours of sleep every day. Consistency in this goal is crucial. Try to get to bed at the same time every night. Avoid over-exposure to blue light, such as use of a phone or computer screen, before bed. This can make it difficult to fall asleep. Create a nightly routine that creates a habit of slowing things down an hour before sleep and doing activities with low stimulation such as reading. Do not neglect the power of a good night’s rest.
Stay active throughout the day. Short 3-5 minute breaks on the hour is ideal versus trying to run off eight hours of sitting at the gym after work. This movement break can be as simple as doing quick stretches or range of motion exercises throughout various parts of the body. It is always ideal to stand up and reset your posture if you have been sitting for longer than forty minutes. I recommend setting a timer for yourself that goes off every hour as a reminder to get up and move.
5. Snack time
A mid-morning snack can be a great way to maintain those blood-sugar levels. However, make sure you are consuming a healthy snack with good fats such as almonds, yogurt with low sugar, whole grain crackers and dried fruit. This is to avoid a sharp increase in blood-sugar levels.
Awareness is a significant part of the battle of fighting the afternoon slump so congratulations, you are already progressing on your health journey by simply becoming mindful of these factors! When you commit to making these small changes daily, you will see significant changes in your health over time.
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- Dr. Matt