It's not uncommon to feel like you've hit a wall after lunchtime. Your procrastination levels increase, you're yawning constantly and making silly mistakes with your work.
Many people find that they're most productive in the morning and slow down in the afternoon. Typically, you'll start to feel energised seven hours after waking up. So if you wake up at 6 am, you'll feel tired at 1 pm. Not ideal for those with a 9-5!
What causes the afternoon slump?
Your body's circadian rhythms, which regulate daily behaviour patterns, are the main cause of the afternoon slump. They indicate when you're sleepy and even when you're hungry. The majority of people reach the peak of their sleepiness between 2-4 am and between 1-3 pm.
Lifestyle factors that could be causing the slump:
- Not getting enough sleep
- Being dehydrated
- Carb-heavy diet
- Being stressed
Here are 5 ways you can overcome the afternoon slump…
Get seven or more hours of sleep per night
Although this might seem obvious, a lot of people don't get enough sleep and just power through the day on nothing. Getting even an hour less of sleep can result in slower mental functioning the next day, your reactions will be slowed and your memory won't be as good. Make sure you're getting between seven and nine hours of sleep per night.
Have a cat nap
Naps can be problematic if you don't do them properly. If you want to wake up energised rather than groggy, don't let the nap go on for longer than 20 minutes.
To stop sunlight from disrupting your sleep, purchase a sleep mask. A sleep mask can block light that comes in, making sure you have the most effective nap possible. Try the Echor Total Blackout Eye Mask here.
Get some sunlight
If you can get outside for a bit, then go for a short walk. Going outside changes your environment and exposes us to sunlight which keeps us awake.
Sunlight is important for keeping our internal clock in check. Daylight tells our brain it's time to be awake and darkness tells our brain it's time to sleep!
Dehydration can lead you to feel more tired than you would if you were properly hydrated. If you're someone who struggles with getting enough water in, purchase a large water bottle and keep it with you at all times. If you need a reminder, set an alarm every 30 minutes to an hour to remind you to drink!
Do your hardest tasks first
In the morning when you have the most motivation should be when you do your most complex tasks. If you're prone to afternoon slumps, keep your easier tasks for last so you're not potentially ruining any work from lack of concentration.
Use the afternoon for group meetings
You're far more likely to give in to the fatigue if you're working by yourself without anyone to keep you going. Working with people has been proven to boost energy and improve concentration.
If you don't have the luxury of working with other people, giving The Pomodoro Technique a go can help with productivity. This technique involves working in 25-minute bursts, taking a 5-minute break between them and repeating.
Feeling tired in the last half of the day is very normal, but easy to fix. Keep an eye on what you're eating, how much sleep you're getting and whether you're staying hydrated.