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!

5 Easy Ways to Get a Better Sleep Every Night

Contrary to common belief, getting eight hours of sleep a day doesn’t necessarily mean quality slumber. Research reveals that, in most cases, those eight hours usually get punctuated with frequent wake-ups, and constant tossing and turning. This explains why most of us wake up feeling drained and tired, instead of relaxed and rejuvenated. While coupled with emotional strains, this habit can develop into serious sleep disorders. But fortunately, you can prevent any of these, if not cure them, with a bit of daily effort and discipline. Here’s a quick guide to achieving that goal.

Improving Your Environment

A peaceful bedtime environment is essential to send signals to your brain that it’s time to snooze off. Even the smallest of changes can go a long way here by improving your sleep quality to a great extent. First, try to mask or eliminate all the disruptive noises. A low-humming fan or earplugs can do the job here. Then adjust the room temperature, if needed. But most importantly, get a comfortable bed with ample room.

Being Conscious About Daily Diet

Your daytime eating habits play a massive role in your bedtime sleep quality. Pay particular attention to the foods and drinks you’re taking in a few hours before going to bed. According to dieticians, diets with heart-friendly healthy fats help in falling asleep faster with longer and deeper sleep. Cutting back on sugar and refined carbs, and limiting caffeine before bed is essential too. Most importantly, big heavy meals at dinnertime should be a big no-no.

Staying Active During the Day

It’s already common knowledge that regular exercise helps us have an easier time falling asleep. Research also shows that people leading sedentary lives are more prone to daytime sleepiness while active ones carry their energy throughout the day. But the point to remember is that consistency is just as important as intensity to reap the maximum slumber rewards from your workouts. Also, it can take a few months to improve your daily sleep quality.

Taking Help of a Sleep Supplement

In reality, this step should be your last resort in your fight against sleep disorders. Sleep supplements can be a welcome respite in such a case, if not instrumental. Doctors generally prescribe magnesium or melatonin supplements to ensure quality sleep. While the first one helps to get restorative sleep by decreasing the concentration of stress hormone levels, the latter battles insomnia with almost zero risk of habit-forming dependence.

Having a Wind-Down Routine Before Bedtime

The range of emotions we go through during the day typically takes a toll on us at night. To avoid this, experts strongly recommend having a personal wind-down ritual in the few hours before hopping to bed. Don’t worry about anything sophisticated or elaborate. It can be anything simple and relaxing to clear your head and unwind your emotions before bedtime. Try the options of taking a warm bath, meditating, drinking herbal tea, reading, or listening to soft music.