Feeling tired in the afternoon and reaching for sugary snacks? Perhaps wondering if you can get away with one more coffee to keep you going?
If you can relate and you often feel tired in the afternoons, wondering how you are going to get your work done, then this article is for you.
Many of us get an afternoon slump – but it doesn’t have to be that way. The fact is, you shouldn’t really be feeling tired after your lunch or any meal. It’s all to do with balancing your blood sugar levels, eating regularly and limiting refined carbohydrates that give you that sudden boost of energy followed by a sudden crash.
In this post I’ll look at different ways to avoid that all too common afternoon slump.
Avoid carbohydrate only meals and processed foods
If you know you have a busy day ahead, then it’s tempting to reach for the carbs to keep going. The problem is, refined carbohydrates will spike your blood sugar levels, giving you that quick burst of energy only to leave you crashing down shortly after and leaving you in a slump.
Instead, try going for complex carbohydrates that are slow releasing, like brown rice and sweet potatoes.
Eat a good quality protein and fat with every meal
One piece of advice I give all my clients is to consume good quality protein with every meal.
Protein is needed for muscle repair and mass, which is especially important in our 40s and beyond where we start to lose it.
Get in the habit of adding a healthy fat with your meal. Healthy fats are essential for brain health, improving focus and concentration. Choose from avocados, chia seeds, fatty fish like salmon, nuts and nut butters, olives and flaxseeds.
Now that it’s spring, it’s a great time to make a beautiful high protein salad with lots of your favourite greens and healthy fats. Try adding nuts and seeds so it becomes a nutritious and filling salad.
Watch your caffeine intake
Too many coffees and teas throughout the day will overstimulate your adrenal glands. Your adrenal glands sit just above the kidneys and they produce hormones that will help regulate blood pressure, immune system and response to stress. When your adrenal glands are not functioning properly, it can lead to adrenal fatigue, which will leave you feeling sluggish and lacking energy.
Did you know that six hours after you consume coffee, half of it will stay in your body? This means that if you have your coffee at 4pm or later, it will remain in your system and it will affect your sleep, resulting in feeling tired the next day.
Stay well hydrated during the day. Get in the habit of starting your morning with a large glass of water. Dehydration can lead to feelings of tiredness, so if you are getting that slump try drinking a large glass of water instead of reaching for a snack or tea or coffee, it could solve the problem.
Make sure you eat regularly
By this I mean small and often. Eating every 3-4 hours, and keeping meals small, will balance blood sugar levels, making you less tired. Also, if you eat regularly, with the right nutrition, you won’t be reaching for unhealthy snacks because you won’t feel hungry.
Take an afternoon break
If your work involves you sitting at your desk for long hours, then get outside for a 10-minute walk after lunch, and again later in the afternoon. Not only will the fresh air and movement wake you up, taking a walk after eating will also help with your digestion.
Sit down and focus on your meal
When eating your lunch, take the time to sit down, eat slowly, and enjoy your meal.
Although it’s tempting, don’t check your emails or scroll through social media whilst you’re eating. When you are relaxed your food is digested easier. If you are stressed, you won’t be assimilating all the nutrients and this will leave you feeling tired.
Always have healthy snacks with you
Avoid reaching for a chocolate bar or crisps by having some healthy snacks ready in the fridge or your bag when you go out.
Foods like trail mix, chopped celery and carrot sticks with hummus, or yoghurt and fruit will stop you from getting hungry before dinner.
If you do find yourself feeling constantly tired please consult your GP and have a blood test. Often being low on iron can cause tiredness. Always listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, see your doctor.
I hope you have found this article about ways to overcome the afternoon slump useful. If you have any questions or want to know how to work with me then please do get in touch via my Facebook group.