Imagine this: You cruise through the morning, being super-productive, checking off chores from your to-do list. All happy and satisfied, you have your lunch and sit back to finish the remaining chores. It is about 2 in the afternoon, you suddenly find it difficult to concentrate. Your eyes get heavy and you feel sleepy. What you need is a power nap, but you instead opt for a quick coffee or something sugar, to get that instant kick to get going. This scenario is something we can all relate to, as we all have experienced afternoon fatigue or slump. Although it’s just natural to feel tired at some point in the day, sometimes we need hacks to manage it to get things done.
Reasons For Afternoon Fatigue
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A large part of it is connected to the body’s internal clock, known as the circadian rhythm, which regulates our sleep-wake cycle. In the afternoon, many feel sleepy, just like we do at the night, due to this cycle. That might be the reason several countries, especially those with warmer climates, have a tradition of afternoon naps.
However, it’s not just the rhythm, our food intake can also play a role. When running late for work, or when trying to lose weight, many tend to skip breakfast. They just grab a cup of coffee for that instant kick. However, that kick won’t steer you through the day and you’ll eventually have an energy crash. What you need is fuel to power you through the day and that fuel is food!
A poor sleep cycle can also lead to that slump in the afternoon. Running short on sleep or irregular sleep pattern can mess up with your system and cause that fatigue you feel later in the day.
Prevention Tips For Afternoon Fatigue
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Prevention depends on the cause.
- Since one of the causes is food, make it a point to not skip your breakfast. Not just eating in the morning, what you eat is also important. You need carbohydrates to fuel you up. Also, protein induces alertness and keeps you full for a longer time. So, have a breakfast that is rich in protein and carbs. You can have eggs and toast, or poha with peanuts in it, cereals with milk and fruits, or anything that you like, which are rich in these two macronutrients.
- Having a wholesome breakfast can make you feel full over a long time, due to which many people tend to skip lunch. Many trying to lose weight just have a salad, with just a few vegetables on their plate. This, again, isn’t right for your body as you’re staving it off a crucial macronutrient, i.e. protein, which keeps you alert, apart from its several other benefits. So, salad is fine, just add on to it some soy chunks or paneer. Or, you can have eggs or chicken with it.
- Lastly, maintain a proper sleep cycle. Your body should know when it’ll get to sleep and when it would wake up as messing it up will in turn mess you up. Also, don’t starve it of sleep, which is extremely crucial for optimal physical and mental health functions.
Tips To Manage Afternoon Fatigue
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Let’s say you didn’t pay attention to your food or your sleep and right after your afternoon meal, you are too tired to get anything done. But rather than loading up on that sugar for a quick fix, here are some tips that might help:
- One of the reasons why you feel sleepy is that your body temperature might be dipping. The same thing happens at night before you sleep. So instead of giving in to your body’s way, do the opposite. Get up from your desk and move around, get your blood running and body temperature increasing. If you are in the office, climb up and down the stairs, or go for a run, stretch or just walk around, it’s as simple as that.
- Melatonin is the hormone that helps you sleep. And light is an antithet to it. Basically, your brain cannot release melatonin when there is light. So if you feel sleepy in the afternoon, go get some light. Just sit by the window, or go out for some time, or just be there where there is a bright light, it’s that easy.
- Dehydration can make you feel tired. So other than splashing water on your face, drink a glass of water to overcome that fatigue. Add a slice of lemon or cucumber for freshness. Having herbal tea will also do the trick.
- You can also have a snack for that energy boost. Just don’t load up on something that contains too much fat, as it would take longer to digest. A fruit, with some nuts and green tea, is a good option
- Other than these, it’s not wrong to take a quick nap. Just make sure you don’t oversleep. It just has to be 15-20 minutes long and you’ll be good to go
- If none of these work, you can have a cup of coffee. Just make sure you don’t overdo, as loading up on caffeine will make you jittery and hamper your productivity, which is the opposite of what you want.
You can try these tricks to overcome that afternoon fatigue. Ultimately it’s up to you as it is you who can decide what works for and is good for your body. Just try to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy options and you are good to go for sailing through the say.
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