Reasons and Remedies for Those Pesky Afternoon Slumps

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Many of us are quite familiar with the concept of afternoon naps. No matter how energetic you’ve been in the morning, afternoons often bring with them a dangerous dip of energy that leaves you craving sweet slumber in your bed. If you too are struggling with staying awake after your lunch, here are some reasons why it might be happening, and some ways you can avoid it.

Reasons for Afternoon Slumps

Our natural circadian rhythms play a role in afternoon slumps. It causes a dip in alertness typically between two and four in the afternoon. Additionally, the post-lunch energy crash is real, especially after a carb-heavy meal, prompting the body to focus on digestion and momentarily reducing energy levels.

Poor sleep quality from the night before can also significantly impact energy levels throughout the day, as well as prolonged periods of sitting without movement, which leads to a decrease in alertness. Here are some ways you can combat these things easily.

Get Some Light

Something as simple as stepping outside and soaking in sunlight can transform your day. Natural light boosts energy and mood, not to mention that vitamin D regulates sleep-managing brain areas. Many lack vitamin D, particularly in darker seasons. If you’re unable to get natural sunlight, you can try taking a vitamin D supplement to keep your levels balanced.

When low energy hits on cloudy or short winter days, using a lamp upon waking can help you dodge the afternoon slump. Dark mornings disrupt melatonin production, causing daytime imbalance. Research suggests blue light exposure counters excess melatonin, keeping you energized.

Be Careful What You Eat

Struggling with mental tasks after lunch? Skipping breakfast might be the culprit. It causes a double hit to your energy with a sharper rise and fall in insulin and diverts more blood flow from the brain for digestion. Start your day with cereal or eggs to maintain vitality, bypassing the afternoon slump effortlessly.

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If you’re hit with fatigue and mental fuzziness post-lunch, blame the meal. High-fat or high-carb lunches induce drowsiness and mental sluggishness compared to moderate-fat and carb meals, despite equal calories. Pair smaller rich meals with low-carb, low-fat options like veggies and chicken for balanced blood sugar and sustained energy levels.

Drink a Glass of Water

If you’re experiencing brain fog and craving salty snacks, it could signal low fluid levels. Surprisingly, winter also depletes fluids. Cold temperatures reduce the thirst-triggering hormone by up to 40%. Keep hydrated by having a water bottle handy to stay alert and avoid a fluid deficit.

All of these little changes should help you overcome that lack of energy you get in the afternoon and push on through your day. Just remember that it’s okay to take a nap every once in a while, too!