Your shoulders slump, your eyelids droop and your head feels like a bowling ball. Is the time on the clock just a coincidence? Research says it probably isn’t. The afternoon slump is a real, biological phenomenon that affects all of us – and, in fact, is a sign that your circadian rhythm (biological clock) is running smoothly. Most of us resort to caffeine to treat the midday blues only to feel worse later when its effects wear off. Here’s a list of tips and tricks we’ve collected to help you out that don’t involve coffee.
Identify your points of peak energy, and tailor your work to them
Ever been at work and had a blissful few moments where you’re completely engrossed in your work and don’t check the clock even once? For most of us, those periods of peak energy usually come around in the mid-morning or late afternoon (or after a cup of coffee!). Carson Tate, author of Work Simply: Embracing the Power of Your Personal Productivity Style, has a tip for increasing your productivity: do energy-intensive work like writing and coding during those periods and mundane work, like checking your email or returning phone calls, when you’re feeling a little more depleted.
Get up and move – or don’t!
Every doctor who’s worth their salt could tell you that exercise has a plethora of benefits. A brisk walk around the block or some light stretches should be enough to eliminate that midday fogginess. Light exercise during that midday slump helps increase energy levels and helps you overcome mental as well as physical fatigue, says Tate.
Alternatively, if you’re feeling really depleted, you could choose to meditate. Even five to seven deep breaths are enough to get oxygen to your brain and leave you more alert, according to Christopher Barnes, an assistant professor of business at the University of Washington. Steve Jobs swore by it, and Ray Dalio, head of the $165 billion Bridgewater Associates hedge fund, says it makes him feel like “a ninja in a fight.”
Get more sleep
How is it that the most obvious things are the most difficult to do? More than 90% of people in the UAE don’t get enough sleep, according to a survey conducted by insurance firm Bupa Global. A study conducted by the National Institute of Health in America found that people who had their sleep restricted to five hours a night for four days in a row had the same performance on a task as people who had a blood alcohol level of 0.06. Not sleeping makes you tired, so go to bed!
Eat a small meal
The key word here being small. No matter how good it may feel to wolf down a couple slices of pizza, the resulting carb crash might make you feel worse than before. A balanced snack like crackers and cheese or a can of tuna give you all of the good with none of the bad, according to Oz Garcia, author of The Balance: Your Personal Prescription for Supermetabolism, Renewed Vitality, Maximum Health, Instant Rejuvenation. He adds that the complex carbs in your system are a sustained source of energy, which banish those blues and help you get through the rest of your work day.