Most of us have experienced a 3pm slump at least once in our lives – the majority of us experience this more than once a week. You’ve had lunch a couple of hours ago, and you’re sitting at your desk slouched over your keyboard with your eyelids drooping. All of a sudden, a coffee and a chocolate bar are extremely appealing. Don’t be alarmed, it’s not just you! There are some explanations as to why this occurs and once you understand why, you are better equipped to pre-empt and prevent this dreaded phenomenon.
Listed below are 5 ways to ensure that you have more energy at 3pm, in addition to reasons as to why these things will help you to get the most out of your days.
- Eat low GI foods.
Our bodies break down carbohydrates in foods to use as energy throughout the day. The Glycaemic Index (GI) gives different foods a rating based on how they affect our blood glucose (sugar) levels. Carbohydrates with a low GI (less than 55) are more slowly digested and absorbed, providing more stable and longer lasting energy. Carbohydrates with a high GI (70 or more) provides a rapid burst in energy, causing a sudden spike in blood glucose which is quickly followed by a drop in blood glucose and consequent drop in energy levels.
- Don’t skip meals.
Studies have shown that people who skip meals tend to reach for high GI/nutrient-poor foods, and/or eat more food later in the day. A balanced lunch with protein and fibre is essential, and can help to boost your productivity for the second half of the day. If you skip lunch your blood sugar levels will drop throughout the afternoon, and you will crave sweet foods. This is your body’s way of letting you know that your blood sugar levels need replenishing.
- Stay hydrated.
Ensure that you stay hydrated throughout the day, as a lack of adequate water is another factor which can leave you feeling tired and cranky.
- Ensure you get 8 hours of sleep per night.
Sleep is regulated by 2 systems: (1) Sleep/wake homeostasis: informs us when we have been awake for a long period of time and our need for sleep is increasing. It also helps us to sleep at night; and (2) Internal circadian biological clock regulates the timing of sleepiness and wakefulness. It dips and rises at different times throughout the day, and the dips are more intense if we are sleep-deprived.
Whenever possible, get up out of your seat and do some exercise during your lunch break. Even something as small as a 10 minute walk around the block will help to release feel-good endorphins and leave you feeling re-energised for the afternoon.
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