Avoiding Afternoon Slump

Afternoon Slump
This post was previously published. It has been updated.

I’ve been noticing in the past few weeks that my afternoon slump is getting worse. My afternoon slump usually happens at about 2:00 pm, and manifests itself in sleepiness, yawning and a desire to curl up on my keyboard and nap.

Looking into it, afternoon sleepiness is a normal function of our circadian rhythms. But our actions can make it better or worse. Here are 9 things I find help me get through the afternoon slump:

  1. Eat breakfast. If I skip breakfast, I am ravenous by lunchtime, and more prone to overeating. However, I am rarely hungry before I start work. By eating breakfast at my desk after my day has started, I will eat without getting to the famished stage.
  2. Eat a healthy breakfast. If I eat a breakfast filled with fat or sugar, I will feel the slump strongly. Eating whole grains with lean protein (cereal with almond milk, oatmeal with pecans, whole wheat bagel with cream cheese) helps combat this.
  3. Get enough sleep. If I have had a night of poor or lessened sleep, I feel it. Making sure I have enough sleep is an easy way to lessen the slump.
  4. Exercise. Not only does evening exercise help my sleep, going for a short walk at lunch keeps me more alert.
  5. Challenge my brain. If work is not particularly engaging, I will feel sleepy. Doing a Sudoku puzzle at lunch helps keep the brain active.
  6. Drink cold water. Dehydration leaves me tired. Making sure I drink enough water in the morning and with lunch helps. The colder the water, the more awake I feel.
  7. Eat a balanced lunch. Lunches high in fat and sugar will cause me to have a blood sugar drop at about the same time I normally get tired anyway. Making sure I eat protein at lunch levels out the spike.
  8. Avoid rice, pasta and potatoes. This one is something that I’ve noted: if I eat rice, pasta or potatoes (or any other high glycemic food) at lunch, I will be nodding within an hour. I avoid these foods at lunch.
  9. Listen to upbeat music. Putting on some dance tunes always gets me engaged.

These are my 9 favorite ways to avoid or get over the slump. Do you have a #10?