10 Ways To Beat That Afternoon Slump

Sluggish as a sloth in the afternoon? Try these tips to keep the sleep and fatigue at bay…


What is the afternoon slump? If you are lucky enough not to know, that’s great, but in case you are a regular victim of the intense sleepiness, sluggishness, mind fog and general tiredness that seeps in somewhere between the hours of 1 pm and 3 pm – then you better read on…

Why do I get an afternoon slump?

The most common cause of an afternoon slump is not getting a restful sleep at night, and of course, poor eating and exercising habits. If you’ve recently started an exercise routine that’s tiring you out, or not getting enough exercise in the first place – both of these can be a reason for your sleepy afternoons. Too heavy a lunch, overladen with the wrong kind of calories, can exacerbate this issue as well.

Also note that an afternoon slump can also be an indication of disorders like insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, and hypoglycemia – so make sure you get tested for any of these, especially if you follow good dietary, sleeping and exercise habits and still face the afternoon slump with regularity.

Finally, yet another cause of the afternoon slump is stress – too much pressure in your work or personal life gets too much for your brain to handle and so it lets the afternoon slump creep up on you, wanting to escape into sleep…

How do I avoid an afternoon slump?

Obviously, the first step to take to avoid that dreaded sleepiness is to get enough sleep at night – a minimum of seven hours of restful sleep should do the trick. Turn off the lights and switch off the mobile and the Wi-Fi to make sure you get at least seven hours of uninterrupted rest every night. In case you have trouble sleeping, grandma’s remedies of a hot bath and a hot glass of milk should soothe you into a good sleep.

Make sure to eat healthy, avoiding fatty food and keeping the carbohydrates complex.. Get some exercise, and if you are stressing your body by doing too much too soon, slow down to make sure your body is not physically wrung out.

Deal with that stress and the stressors. A few days of extra work is fine, we all do that, but make sure work hasn’t become the whole and sole of your life. Learn to slow yourself down, meditate, take meandering walks or just keep squashing that stress ball – whatever it takes to bring down your stress levels to acceptable and workable ones.

How do I deal with an afternoon slump?

  1. Eat a walking lunch in the sun: A heavy lunch will further draw you into the sinkhole of the afternoon slump – so try a salad or a healthy wrap with raw veggies instead. And eat this while you walk, in the sun. The walk will jolt your brain a bit and make it look up and see around while the sun will give you an added vitamin D boost.
  2. Take a 10-minute office yoga break: A quick 10-minutes chair yoga can help you wake up – the stretching involved will get the blood flowing and slap your brain, albeit gently, in to waking up and being alert.
  3. Eat a small piece of dark or bitter chocolate: Dark chocolate will give you an antioxidant dose as well as a feel-good high from an endorphin release – the same happy hormones that flush your system after exercise will do so if you eat healthy dark chocolate.
  4. Take a break from the screen and clear out your drawers: Staring at the laptop for long when in the clutches of a slump will only make you nod off that much faster. Try cleaning your drawers, filing your folders or even walking to a colleague’s desk for something that you need. Sometimes a quick break can help you shake off that yawning marathon…
  5. Try to smell something fresh like rosemary, mint, citrus: A refreshing scent can do the trick and put you and your brain on alert. You may not always be able to get your hands on these fresh herbs or fruits – so try keeping their essential oils instead that you simply drop a drop on your hands and then rub a bit to get the scent onto your skin and into your nose.
  6. Chew sugarless gum: The very act of chewing wakes up your snoozing brain, and since you cannot keep eating the whole day long to make sure you stay awake and alert, try a nice spicy chewing gum – think cinnamon, menthol or mint.
  7. Go for tea or coffee: Yep, when in doubt – go for something hot, sweet and full of caffeine. Nothing like a caffeine jolt to get you into the land of the living, from the land of the dreaming.
  8. Do the work you enjoy the most: If you try and tackle a difficult task during your hours of sluggishness, you are likely to enter the mind-numbing zone of mind fog and not be productive at all. To boost your productivity and cruise through these sleepy, tired hours – work on something that you like to do. If your interest is up, your brain will be up too…
  9. Take a bathroom break, and then dance for a minute or two: Drink a glass of water, and then head out to freshen up in the loo. Once done, find a private space where you can jam for a couple of minutes to your favorite song – if you have an office then shut the door, else, just use an empty bathroom cubicle and really get moving  (despite the limited space you have).
  10. Wash your face and hands with ice water: Really, really cold water startles you – or rather your brain – into waking up by giving the body an adrenalin jolt. So take the coldest ice water you can get and splash your face, eyes, the back of the neck and your wrists with it for as long as you can stand it. One you towel off, you should be feeling considerably awake…


Remember to get enough sleep and exercise and eat healthy – if your body is primed to be the best it can be, afternoon slumps will be history…

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