Ever feel like you’re having a productive day at work and then BAM it hits you. The clock has struck 3:30 and the afternoon blues have come to play. You feel sluggish, sleepy and all round unproductive. You know home time is just around the corner but why this sudden lack of energy? I’m here to explain some of the reasons as to why you may be feeling this way and a few simple ideas to beat ‘3:30itis’ before it hits you today!
So why does it happen?
The tired feeling we get in the afternoon has a lot to do with your Biological Clock. It can be affected by a range of things:
- Body Temperature
- Amount and type of light we receive
- Release of different hormones (some cause sleepiness and some cause alertness)
- The oxygen circulating in our blood
Biological Clock affects how we feel during the 24 hour day. For example, at night time there are changes in our body that occur and make us feel sleepy. Less natural light, lowering of our normal body temperature and a hormone called melatonin is released. As all this occurs and your body slows down so you will go to sleep!
Now a similar process happens in the afternoon around 2-3pm, but on a much smaller scale. Your body will create a small drop in melatonin and body temperature. Although the drop isn’t as big as it is at night, it can still make you feel sluggish or sleepy. Now you may be thinking, does this mean I can tell my boss its recommended I take naps at work? Probably not…. But here are some natural ways to combat your biological clock.
Do something active!
This is the easiest way to beat the afternoon blues. Keeping active with help to offset the feelings that make you feel tired and unmotivated. Some great simple ideas to stay active are:
- Going for a quick walk around the block
- Walking over to co-worker to chat to them instead of using the phone
- Stand up and walk around while making phone calls
- Do a few squats or lunges.
- Stretching at your desk
Eat an energy boosting snack!
Unfortunately this isn’t chocolate or lollies (no matter how much we wish it could be!) Foods that are rich in protein will give you the long lasting energy you need to survive the day. Snack on some high protein healthy choices such as seeds or nuts. These can include Almonds, Pecans, Walnuts or Pumpkin Seeds. Even something such a Hard Boiled Egg or a Can of Tuna are quick easy options that you could try!
Drink lots of water
Being dehydrated can make you feel tired and unmotivated. Drinking at least 2-3 litres of water per day can have a massive improvement in how you feel as the afternoon comes around. Try not to supplement water with juice or other sugary drinks as this will only spike your energy and cause you to crash at a later point.
Decrease your alcohol and junk food intake
Drinking alcohol during the day and night can often make you feel increasingly tired the following day. It will also lower your body’s ability to absorb Vitamin B (your body needs this to burn fat!) Junk food does not replenish the energy needs your body requires and is that is why you might feel sluggish at the end of the day. For this reason, avoid trying to have a sugary snack or fatty processed food in the morning as this will only increase the chances of you feeling worse in the afternoon.
Get a good night’s sleep!
I know you might think you had to watch that late night TV documentary the night before, but if its making you feel tired the next day at work is it really worth it? Having late nights too often can lead to exhaustion and puts your body into meltdown. Not only will this make you have no energy, but also make it harder to burn fat if you have been working hard in the gym. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and aim to get around 7-8 hours’ sleep.
It’s natural to feel lazy and lethargic in the afternoon, but now hopefully with these few tips you will understand some ways to combat ‘3:30itis’ and get more out of your afternoons.