9 Ways to Beat the Afternoon Slump That Have Nothing to Do with Coffee

By , SparkPeople Blogger
You woke up fairly bright-eyed, fueled up with a healthy breakfast, maybe squeezed in an energizing workout and then cruised through the morning with a decent amount of energy to spare.
Then came lunch.
There's something about the mid-day meal that seems to drain the energy reserves, leaving you feeling sluggish and sleepy. You might notice your productivity slowing down or screeching to a halt, maybe taking your motivation along with it. As the clock crawls toward 2 or 3 p.m., it could even become a struggle to keep your eyes open. But whether you're juggling work tasks, demanding kiddos or other responsibilities, you probably don't have the luxury of calling a "time-out" on life and crawling into bed for a nap.
Time for a trip to the coffee machine? Not necessarily. While it's fine to enjoy an occasional mug of that magical bean-derived elixir, there are other, healthier ways to pull yourself out of the afternoon slump.

Stick to a sleep schedule.

Your sleep habits are the biggest predictor of how much energy you'll have during the day. If you go to bed and get up at roughly the same time every day, and get the recommended eight hours of shut-eye, you'll be less likely to get groggy in the afternoon.

Eat a balanced diet.

Eating a filling breakfast and lunch will help keep your energy levels stable throughout the day. If you start the morning with a big cup of coffee and then grab a bag of chips from the vending machine around noon, you're setting yourself up for afternoon exhaustion. A filling, nutritious breakfast and a healthy lunch that features lean protein and non-starchy vegetables will help keep your energy levels from crashing later in the day.

Drink some citrus water.

You already know the benefits of hydration, but for an added energy boost, registered dietitian Ilana Muhlstein recommends making a pitcher or water bottle filled with ice water and a generous squeeze of orange, lemon, lime or grapefruit.
"The side effects of not staying hydrated include fatigue and false hunger, which is why so many people reach for sweets mid-afternoon," Muhlstein explains. "Drinking at least 16 ounces of cold, refreshing water will wake you up just enough to finish the day strong and make smarter food choices later."
The added citrus can also provide a boost of potassium and vitamin C, she adds. "Plus, many flavonoids unique to citrus fruits have been shown in studies to protect brain cells and improve cognitive function—just the boost you need toward the end of the day."

Get up and move.

When you find yourself slipping into that sleepy, post-lunch stupor, personal trainer Christel Oerum of Diabetes Strong says the best remedy is a quick walk. "Going for a walk and getting some fresh air not only works as an afternoon pick-me-up, but can also help digestion, improve insulin sensitivity and improve mood," she notes. In fact, a study showed that just 10 minutes of low-intensity exercise, such as walking or climbing stairs, can be more energizing than consuming 50 milligrams of caffeine.

Stretch away the sleepiness.

"Sitting at a desk all day is guaranteed to build up muscle tension, which affects you physically and mentally and drains your energy," notes LJ Kunkel, ACSM-certified personal trainer and creator of Fit Body Beats. "Take a few minutes every hour or two to stretch any tight areas, especially your neck and shoulders." 

Try some essential oils.

Fitness trainer Cheryl Russo swears by peppermint essential oils as a mid-day pick-me-up. She places a drop or two in the palm of each hand, rubs her hands together and then cups the hands and inhales for a boost of energy. "You can also blend a drop of peppermint essential oil with a carrier oil, like coconut or avocado or olive oil, and rub it on the back of the neck," she suggests. "Orange mixed with peppermint is also very energizing."

Listen to upbeat music.

When you're feeling sluggish, putting on your favorite up-tempo playlist can help energize you and increase your endurance. "Music has the ability to engage the body's sympathetic nervous system," says Oerum. "Auditory signals make us alert, and simply focusing on a piece of music can divert our attention and improve our mood."

Do some breathing exercises.

Not able to leave your desk or office? Liza Baker with Simply: Health Coaching recommends taking 10 minutes to sit comfortably, close your eyes and do some breathing exercises. "Simply breathe deeply through your nose, paying attention to the sensation of cool air coming in across your philtrum (the space between nose and mouth) and warmer air coming out," she says. "Or learn some more 'yogic' breathing exercises, which will leave you feeling calm yet energized."

Eat a healthy snack.

If you're starting to feel hungry, registered dietitian Chesley Amer recommends eating a healthy afternoon snack packed with protein and fiber to boost your energy throughout the afternoon. Some of her favorites include carrots and hummus, an apple with peanut butter or dry roasted edamame.
If you've tried all the traditional remedies to beat the afternoon slump and nothing seems to help, it's time to see your doctor to rule out possible conditions that can cause fatigue. And, of course, if you're lucky enough to have a spare few minutes and a dark, comfortable, quiet spot, a power nap can work wonders.

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PIZZA5152 10/4/2019
Sounds good Report
ANHELIC 10/3/2019
Thanks Report
ANHELIC 10/3/2019
Thanks Report
ROBBIEY 9/26/2019
all good ideas Report
REDWHALEY 9/13/2019
Thanks for sharing. Report
GETULLY 7/29/2019
that is true. these are mostly for office people. Some days I am working at home and some days I am at my volunteer position where I never know when someone will walk in and I swing in to my demonstration mode. I am rarely in the same place when I hit a slump. It might be at 10:30am because I was up really early and had breakfast at 6am. Report
ZMVAN74 7/26/2019
Most of these suggestions are based on you having an office job. I'm a school bus monitor and I can't just get up and walk around while the bus is moving. My "work area" has so many restrictions most of the blogs and articles on this subject don't help me at all. BUT, for those fortunate to have that nice office job the suggestions are great. Report
MNABOY 7/17/2019
Thanks Report
USMAWIFE 7/16/2019
thank you Report
KHALIA2 7/15/2019
Lord, please help me to understand. When I say thanks, the edit me, when others say the same thing, they get no edit. Report
ROCKRS 7/5/2019
thanks Report
I just thought the older I get the more I love naps, but I do get up at 4:30 am and run. Report
DRAGONFLY631 6/12/2019
Thank you Report
BONDMANUS2002 5/17/2019
Absolutely great Report
STEEN91 5/17/2019
indeed awesome tips, will try these for sure http://liteblueuspsgov.us Report
SHOAPIE 5/14/2019
I need to try some of these. Report
CARD512002 5/14/2019
Thank you for this article. I forget to drink water as often as I should. Report
DRAGONFLY631 5/13/2019
Nice Report
KHALIA2 5/11/2019
Thanks! Report
NANCYPAT1 5/5/2019
Great Report
NANCYPAT1 5/5/2019
Great Report
ISLAQUEEN 4/10/2019
Thanks for sharing these tips ! I definitely "suffer" from this, so hopefully one of these tips will help :) Report
KACEYSW 4/9/2019
I need to stick to a set bed time to help myself.
JIMA681 4/8/2019
Interesting. Report
KHALIA2 4/7/2019
Thanks! Report
Thanks for sharing. Report
KHALIA2 4/4/2019
Thanks! Report
KITTYHAWK1949 4/3/2019
I do often need this in afternoons. thanks Report
Great article! Report
MNABOY 4/1/2019
ty Report
NIKO27 4/1/2019
Great Article Report
USMAWIFE 3/31/2019
thank you Report
PETRA320 3/31/2019
thank you! Report
FRAN0426 3/30/2019
Thanks for the tips, but if all else fails a short nap may be the answer depending if you didn't get a good nights sleep the night before. Report
Thank you! Report
SHOAPIE 3/30/2019
Now that I’m retired, I feel free to enjoy a nap when I need one! Report
NANCYPAT1 3/30/2019
Great ideas Report
KOALA_BEAR 3/30/2019
I rarely have this problem when I am overall eating healthy & avoiding sweets & poor quality carbs. When I find that I'm relaxing too much after lunch, its becuz the stress at work keeps me so wound up that just sitting still starts to deplete my energy. I just push myself back up on my feet, take a deep breath, & get back to it. I sometimes take 2 or 3 minutes for an extended potty break, walk downstairs thru the halls or around part of our bldg
then back up. The moving & deeper breathing do help. If it really is later then I mix up some protein powder & water, down it & go back to work.
Looking forward to my retirement in April when I can try out those naps. 🐨 Koalas by nature love sleeping. LOL
1CRAZYDOG 3/30/2019
Going to try the citrus infused water. Thanks Report
LOSER05 3/30/2019
Thanks Report
_CYNDY55_ 3/29/2019
Thanks Report
DMEYER4 3/29/2019
thanks Report
XME501 3/29/2019
Have been retired for a while - and my afternoon nap is a given. About an hour and I feel rejuvenated. And I seem to sleep better at night. Report
PLATINUM755 3/29/2019
Thanks! Report
LIS193 3/29/2019
thanks Report
ERIN_POSCH 3/29/2019
thanks Report
NEPTUNE1939 3/29/2019
ty Report
NEPTUNE1939 3/29/2019
ty Report
NEPTUNE1939 3/29/2019
ty Report
NEPTUNE1939 3/29/2019
ty Report