7 Ways to Beat the Afternoon Slump

By , Megan Patrick, Staff Writer
Afternoon fatigue (hitting around 2 or 3 p.m.) is very common, which is why some cultures embrace the afternoon nap. But if your office doesn't have a space for napping (or if your boss would frown on the practice), what can you do to prevent the afternoon slump?

1. Practice good sleep habits. Do you go to bed and get up at roughly the same times every day? You'll be less likely to get tired late in the day if you have a regular sleep schedule and get at least 8 hours of rest a night.

2. Eat a balanced diet. Eating a filling breakfast and lunch will help keep your energy levels stable throughout the day. If you start the day with a big cup of coffee and grab a bag of chips from the vending machine around noon, you're setting yourself up for afternoon exhaustion.

3. Eat some lean protein. A lunch that features lean protein and non-starchy vegetables will give you more energy than a high-fat, high-carb burger. At the same time, relying on a veggie-only salad as your midday meal will likely leave you feeling hungry and tired later in the day.

4. Have a snack. If your fatigue is accompanied by hunger, what you might need is a small, filling snack. Try whole-grain crackers and cheese or a handful of trail mix.

5. Drink some water. One of the first signs of dehydration is fatigue. While you should be sipping water all day, if you got busy and forgot, down a big glass. Add a slice of citrus for a bright smell that can also make you feel more energized.

6. Go for a walk. If you've been sitting at your desk staring at a computer for more than an hour, it's time to get up and move. If you don't want to walk outside, make it a point to walk around the building or go talk to a co-worker instead of sending an email.

7. Rule out other medical conditions. If you've tried all the traditional remedies for the afternoon slump and nothing seems to help, it's time to see your doctor to rule out conditions that can cause fatigue, including pre-diabetes.

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