Seriously Smart Ways to Give Yourself a Boost When You Hit That Afternoon Slump
It’s 2 p.m., and you’ve read the same email line four times, your eyelids are heavy, and you’re dreaming of snuggling in your bed at home. Unfortunately, you still have two hours of work and a report due, and have to find some way to power through the rest of the afternoon.
That afternoon slump you find yourself in most days is inconvenient, but it’s actually a natural part of our biology. For most people, their circadian rhythm will have a natural dip in energy in the early afternoon, according to the Sleep Foundation. While slightly low energy in the afternoon is normal, it’s not always the most convenient or productive time to lose focus.
If you find yourself fighting sleep when you need to be productive, here are a few things you can do for a quick energy boost.
Grab a balanced snack.
What you eat (or don’t eat) can cause your afternoon slump to be more intense than usual. Some eating habits throughout the morning or at lunch can lead to low energy once mid-afternoon hits.
Eating a balanced breakfast and lunch – one that includes lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates – will set you up for more energy over those few hours between lunch and dinner.
When your energy feels zapped in the afternoon, grab a snack for quick, but sustained energy. Pair a complex carbohydrate like fruit or whole grains with a protein and fat source for an immediate energy boost that will stay with you for a few hours. An apple and peanut butter, grapes and almonds, or a slice of whole wheat pita bread with hummus are all great snacks for an afternoon pick-me-up.
In addition to balancing your macronutrients, focus on eating foods high in B vitamins, the water-soluble vitamins that help turn your food into usable energy. Without a sufficient supply of B vitamins, the healthy food you’re eating won’t be able to do as good of a job keeping you energized and productive. Meat, seafood, eggs, and leafy greens are all good sources of B vitamins or drink a Monster Zero Ultra for 240% or more of your daily value of four different B vitamins.
Drink an energizing beverage.
Drinking something with caffeine can give you a quick boost of energy and improve your focus for the last few hours of the workday.
A 2020 study found that individuals who drank 200 milligrams of caffeine (about one cup of coffee or just over one can of Monster Zero Ultra) had significantly better problem-solving ability compared to the people who had no caffeine.
If you want to support your energy with more than just caffeine, try a drink like Monster Zero Ultra, which comes in a variety of flavors. With zero sugar, 150 milligrams of caffeine, and 240% or more of your daily value of energizing B vitamins like niacin, B12, B6, and pantothenic acid, this energy drink will give you the boost you need to power through a productive afternoon.
Go out in nature.
If you spend the majority of your day inside looking at a screen (who doesn’t these days?), your energy could improve by just getting yourself outside.
Researchers found that resting outdoors or walking indoors or outdoors both resulted in improved energy levels. Resting indoors had the least benefit on energy. So just taking your work outside for a short time, or resting in nature, could help reduce tiredness.
Beyond immediate benefits, routinely exposing yourself to nature and your skin to the sun for short periods of time can help keep your energy up. Fatigue is a common symptom of low vitamin D, and regular exposure to the sun or eating foods high in vitamin D, like eggs, salmon, and some mushrooms can keep your levels high.
Get consistent sleep.
Consistent quality sleep can help keep your energy and focus on point throughout the day. This means getting enough sleep, ideally at least 7 hours a night, and making that sleep count. One 2017 study found a correlation between a higher quality sleep cycle and improved physical and mental health, as well as occupational function, which is essentially a measure of work productivity and energy levels.
The contents of this article are the opinion of the author and do not indicate any claims on results. Results may vary by person.
Good food brings people together. So do good emails.