The workweek is tiresome enough, but sometimes you just have to push on through with it. It gets even worse when you’ve just had a wholesome, filling lunch that satisfied your tummy but has ultimately lowered your productivity levels to a sluggish pace. We all get those bouts of post-lunch sleepiness which can become bothersome especially if you have urgent matters to attend to at work.
Read on to find out how to give yourself a little afternoon boost and defeat the after-lunch drowsiness.
Walk off the sleepiness
That afternoon sluggishness that you feel is definitely a natural process of your digestive system and hormones at work. What happens is that your blood sugar levels spike particularly after heavy meals which in turn trigger your body to produce sleep hormones to balance everything out. It’s a perfectly natural process and you shouldn’t worry about it too much.
A great way to wake your body up again and tell it that it’s time is to take a brisk walk after eating.
You can either take the stairs back to the office or perhaps circle your office building for a bit, check in on colleagues in other departments.
Anything as long as it’s still within your lunch hour or your boss seems okay with it. The light exercise wakes your body by increasing your oxygen intake and pumping your red blood cells. By doing so, your body gets just the right amount of energy it needs to continue through the workday.
Watch what you eat
Try to avoid heavy meals of rice, pasta, potatoes and so on as these are instant triggers for afternoon drowsiness.
It’s a good idea to avoid overly-processed foods including both carbohydrates and fatty foods for lunch. Both the portions and the contents can induce more sleep hormones. Instead, you should aim to have a well-portioned meal.
The phrase “you are what you eat” probably comes in handy over here. Basically, what you choose to eat for lunch can affect how you’ll feel later on. It is believed that foods heavy in carbohydrates are more likely to make you feel sleepy after consuming them.
Eating too much not only slows down your digestive system but also leaves you feeling bloated throughout the afternoon. To alleviate this, keep your meals small and stop eating just before you feel full. If you’re likely to get hunger pangs, you can always have light and healthy snacks such as dried fruits, nuts or granola frequently to make up for your appetite.
Get some chewing gum
Chewing gum has always been a secret weapon to keep both students and working adults awake at any time of the day.
In fact, chewing gum has been scientifically proven to reduce tiredness and keep you alert. Plus, the constant motion involved in chewing circulates the blood in your facial muscles to keep you up.
An added bonus is that this can be a mini facial workout for you and reduces wrinkles!
It’s best to chew some gum for at least 5 minutes to give yourself a little boost of energy. Try not to overdo it though or else it could tire you out instead! For an added refreshing feeling, mint chewing gum can freshen you up and revitalize your senses too. This is because mint is known to induce mental alertness in your senses, so both tasting and smelling mint can also help in keeping awake.
Hydration is key to get rid of post-lunch sleepiness
Dehydration can also be another cause for post-lunch drowsiness. Not only can it make you feel sluggish, but it can also make you moody which isn’t good for productivity. To combat this, make sure you drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated and alert.
Before you reach for that pot of coffee just yet, you should know that while caffeine helps in giving you a few hours of alertness, there are also other consequences.
For most people, the first solution to staying awake after lunch is to drink coffee or any caffeine-rich beverage.
Why it’s not so recommended as opposed to the other solutions mentioned above is that caffeine can cause imbalance to your sleep cycle.
If you’re the type to have a cup of coffee every morning, the caffeine-high you get will wear off by lunchtime which explains the sluggishness.
By drinking more coffee after lunch, depending on when you drink it, you just may crash either too early or too late in the night which messes up your cycle for good sleep. This is why we try to avoid drinking too much caffeine and recommend plain water to stay hydrated and alert instead.
Taking all these tips into consideration, all in all, the best solution is to have a good night’s rest the night before. If you can get quality sleep with enough hours, it will replenish you with just enough energy to power through the entire day. And if that fails, just remember our recommendations and I hope they help. Go forth and get that work done!