The afternoon slump – that sleepy, body and mind are dragging, just want to take a nap feeling – is a common challenge many of us face in terms of productivity. You feel like you’ve already put in a full day, but you have hours left to go and plenty left to get done.
There is a physiological reason for the afternoon slump. Michael J. Breus, PhD and sleep expert at WebMD, explains that the dip in energy we experience in the afternoon is similar to what we experience before bedtime. Breus states it has to do with a drop in core body temperature. And Lona Sandon, RD, MEd, of the American Dietetic Association and professor of nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center concurs. She describes it as “something natural” that some cultures have just accepted and even made allowances for – like encouraging afternoon siestas.
So, if the afternoon slump is just part of who we are as human beings, and there are biological reasons behind it, what are the best strategies for pushing through and keeping some momentum going?
Here are some of my best strategies for breaking through that afternoon slump.
Schedule less taxing tasks for those mid-afternoon hours.
Plan your days so that projects that require focus and mental or physical energy are scheduled during your prime energy times. Prime energy times can vary from person to person, but for most people the time of greatest energy is generally in the morning, after a good night’s rest.
Set an alarm, close your eyes, and give in to the urge to nap.
Allowing yourself an afternoon siesta gives your mind and body a rest. And research has shown these mini-naps can really boost productivity and can help you push past the afternoon slump. There is some disagreement among experts on just how long a nap should be, though. Napping too long can make you feel foggy and even more sluggish, so make 15-30 minutes the goal.
Plan for meals and snacks during the day and include foods that fuel your mind and body.
We all know the foods we eat have an impact on our bodies. Avoiding foods that make you feel more sluggish or sleepy and eating foods that provide energizing nutrients is a good strategy. Good Housekeeping had a great guide recently for which foods are which and why.
Step away and get some exercise.
It may feel like you’re indulging in something you shouldn’t by taking a 15-minute break for a brisk walk. But getting your heart pumping can re-energize you and give you what you need to push through – especially when the weather is nice. So, create an upbeat playlist, pop those ear buds in and take off. You’ll come back refreshed and ready to go.
We can’t change nature, but we can implement strategies that help us break through the afternoon slump and increase our productivity. So, try some, or all, of these and see which work best for you.
Want to explore your Natural Productivity Style and more tips for IGNITING your Productivity and Profitability? Contact me. I’d love to help you find the best, easiest ways to reduce your stress and maximize your days!