Your best work requires focus and energy, but it can be hard to stay focused for a full eight-hour workday. Most people have suffered from an afternoon energy crash at one point or another. It can happen in the middle of a highly productive day—you suddenly lose all your pep and vigor and you want to curl up and fall asleep. Knowing where this lull in your energy comes from and what to do to combat it will help you maintain your high quality of work.
What causes the slump?
Our bodies have a natural rhythm, and many people around the world experience an afternoon slump. In some cultures, it’s customary to take a break or siesta in the middle of the workday. You may be one of the many people who are predisposed to midday sleepiness, or there may be extenuating circumstances that are affecting your body’s internal clock.
Some things that could be making you lose energy are:
- Nutrition – Food is fuel, and not feeding your body properly will cause it and your brain to function at a less-than-optimum capacity. Eating a healthy breakfast and lunch are good ways to be sure that your mind and body are fueled and ready to go. Man cannot live on caffeine alone. A healthy breakfast and lunch should include protein and be filling enough to get you through the day without giving you that heavy over-stuffed feeling.
- Sleep – Most adults don’t get enough sleep. Around one-third of Americans sleep fewer than six hours a night. Not only are people lacking in the length of their sleep, they’re also lacking in the quality of their sleep. You recharge your proverbial battery during the rapid eye movement (REM) phase of sleep, which happens for about 5 minutes every hour. So if you’re not getting a full night’s sleep, your battery isn’t getting fully charged.
How can you boost your energy?
Eating well and getting enough good-quality sleep are the best ways to keep functioning at peak performance. But some days, you just feel like you hit a wall and there’s nothing you can do about it. Fortunately, that’s not true. Here are some ways that you can combat that fatigued feeling and reenergize your day:
- Sunshine and fresh air – Just going outside and sitting in the sun for 10 minutes will help give your body a boost of energy and vitamin D.
- Stretching and exercise – A two-minute stretch or a quick walk can wake up your muscles, including that all-important brain.
- Snacks – The choice of snack is just as important as the act of snacking. Choosing stimulating protein over energy-sapping carbs will give you a long-lasting boost.
- Water – Staying hydrated is important to your health in general, but having a cool drink when you’re feeling sluggish can really perk you up.
- Aromas – Just as there are calming scents, there are also scents that can invigorate you. Peppermint, rosemary, citrus, and eucalyptus are great scents for getting your engine going.