Why do we slump at 3pm and what can we do about it?

The dreaded afternoon slump hits us all from time to time. Whether it’s just a yawn or a desperate hankering to take forty winks under your desk, an afternoon slump can leave you feeling sluggish and unproductive. With our simple tips, you’ll be able to help avoid mid-afternoon fatigue and stay on top form until the end of the day.

What causes mid-afternoon fatigue?

There doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer to afternoon slump causes, but many studies point towards our natural circadian rhythm as a key culprit. Your circadian rhythm - otherwise referred to as your ‘body clock’ - is responsible for a whole host of functions, from making us tired at night time, to our eating habits throughout the day.

Between 2pm and 4pm, there is a natural lull in our circadian rhythm that causes our body temperature to drop. This drop in temperature also happens before we fall asleep in the evenings, and causes the production of melatonin - a key hormone involved in the control of our sleep cycles. An increase in melatonin makes us feel tired, causing an afternoon slump.

Many other factors may also contribute to a lack of energy and poor productivity in the afternoon, ranging from poor eating habits to dehydration.

What can you do to avoid the afternoon slump?

There are simple tips and tricks you can use to perk up your afternoon. Check out our top tips below!

Exercise

If you’re sat at a desk all day long, it’s no wonder you feel less than energetic by the time 3pm rolls around. Get your heart pumping by going for a brisk walk at lunchtime, or performing a few quick stretches at your desk.

Optimise your diet

At lunchtime, steer clear of options such as pasta and white bread. These have a high glycemic load, or ‘GI’, which causes a slump-inducing insulin spike. Opt for a meal full of lean proteins, vegetables and whole grains to help keep your energy levels balanced throughout the afternoon.

If you’re feeling sluggish, it’s tempting to reach for the first sugary snack in sight, but this can cause further tiredness. Choose hearty, nutritious foods, such as berries and nuts to keep you going until the end of the day. For more healthy snack ideas, check out our healthy snacking guide.

Make sure you’re well rested

If you’re not getting enough sleep at night, it’s likely that you’ll be more susceptible to a crash in energy in the afternoon. If you struggle to get a good night’s sleep, take a look at our guide to getting a better night’s sleep.

If you experience tiredness every day, a health check isn’t a bad idea. Listen to your body and catch up on sleep at weekends if you need to, as this is proven to help with tiredness.

Stay hydrated

Studies have shown that being dehydrated by just 2% can impair your performance in tasks that require attention. Make sure to keep a bottle of water on your desk and stay hydrated throughout the day so you can stay on the ball all day long.

If you're finding it tricky to drink enough water, check out our hydration guide which contains 10 easy ways to drink more water!

These tips should help you to stay on top form throughout the day, but for a little extra boost, consider adding one of our Neurozan supplements to your daily routine. The Neurozan range includes key vitamins, including iodine which helps contribute to normal cognitive function and pantothenic acid for normal mental performance.

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Alexandra Phillips

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