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As 3pm rolls in, you suddenly feel absolutely exhausted, totally smashed. No matter how well you slept last night or what you ate for lunch, this afternoon slump seems to happen every day. The problem is that you need to remain productive, sharp, and focused for a few more hours – and yet, all you want to do is throw on your PJ’s and hop into bed! You change your schedules, go for a brisk run in the morning before work, and even try to get into bed a little earlier at night. Still, nothing seems to work.
It’s important to understand that it’s completely normal to feel super tired once the mid-afternoon sets in. Your body’s “circadian rhythm”, which affects your sleep patterns, is to blame for this. Your brain receives sleep signals through the night and, believe it or not, in the mid-afternoon, too! As strange as it sounds, the human body is actually programmed to take afternoon naps, thanks to its built-in clock. However, since you have work to do, you resort to drinking more coffee, eating more sugary snacks, and trying to march on.
By now, you’ve read and heard every clever suggestion: sleep more, sleep earlier, don’t skip breakfast, don’t skip lunch, splash cold water on your face, sip green tea, rearrange your desk, rearrange your meeting schedule, and so on. We wonder why all these clever life hacks just aren’t working. Although most of these suggestions are well-meaning, many are relatively ineffective. No quick fixes really work. There is the power nap, but for most office employees, that’s not an option. To truly beat your 3 pm slump, you need to incorporate ongoing and workable lifestyle changes into your sustainable healthy life plan.
The first step is to respect your biological clock. Although you expect to perform at your peak at all hours of the workday, that’s just unrealistic. Your well-defined internal clock – the circadian rhythm – shapes your energy levels throughout the day. This precise and regular system releases different hormones and enzymes, causing peaks of naturally high energy and troughs of low energy. Although it’s impossible to fight this innate natural rhythm, there are three simple strategies to help your brain and body flow through the afternoon dip without a crash.
A sustainable life plan with these three core strategies, along with good hydration and minimal caffeine intake after midday, can help you ride your natural energy peaks and troughs and stay energized through the afternoon. So say goodbye to that 3pm slump and hello to a more productive day!