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When You Hit the Afternoon Wall and What to Do About It

You were having a productive work morning when, suddenly, it is 2:30 p.m. and all you want to do is turn off your computer, curl up on a couch and watch Netflix.

While the afternoon slump is perfectly natural (it’s a sign your internal clock is working and that your blood-sugar levels are responding to the food you’re eating), it isn’t an excuse to postpone your afternoon meetings and call it a day. So, what can we do about it?

  1. Change the way we eat

While sugar-heavy or carb-heavy foods can leave you feeling shaky and tired in a few hours, high-fat foods can slow us down.

After we ingest too many empty carbs (foods high in sugar but low in protein) our blood-sugar levels spike, and then when they plummet a few hours later, we experience a “crash” in energy levels.

And unlike carbs, which make our blood-sugar levels erratic, fats digest very slowly. Eating too much of them in one sitting can make us feel lethargic because our bodies have to work harder to break them down.

So instead, eat a lunch that has an almost equal amount of protein and carbs, like a roasted turkey sandwich. The protein helps protect your blood sugar from sharp peaks and valleys and also keeps your energy levels steady. Then have smaller, well-spaced snacks of fruits, vegetables and protein throughout the day to keep blood-sugar levels stable.

   2.  Get some sun

Early exposure to bright light helps set our circadian rhythm for the day. That’s why taking in some natural rays right after we wake up can help us perform better later into the day — and help us sleep better at night.

Instead of taking your morning coffee and going on Facebook or surfing the Web, take a 10-minute walk around your office building and get out in the sun. For us here in Colorado, where it’s sunny most days, this is not a difficult thing to do. Setting our circadian rhythms straight may also help steady our metabolisms. A recent study, by the International Study of Endocrinology, showed that people who bask in bright sunlight within two hours after waking tend to be thinner and better able to manage their weight.

   3. Take a break

Moving around for five to 10 minutes can help boost circulation and also stimulate the mind. Check in with coworkers to see how their day is going. Take a walk around your office building (again) or even look for a guilt-free vending machine!

 

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