That moment in the afternoon that all the sudden your energy dips and you become unmotivated and all you want to do is just zone out and chill, if not take a nap for a few minutes.
Why does it happen? Can we stop it? Can we help it with nutrition? Let’s talk about it.
Why Is There a Midday Slump? Can We Avoid It?
Midday slump is absolutely normal and something we can work with. The reason why it happens is because of it being part of our circadian rhythm. It’s an internal process that occurs every 24 hours. It’s part of our sleep pattern and why even during our sleep we go in a and out of REM (deep sleep) and light sleep.
The time between 2-4pm is part of the rhythm and your energy dips for people who wake up around 6-8am.
It’s perfectly normal, but there are some factors that could make this dip in our energy less, so let’s talk about what those are.
High-Protein and Complex Carb Lunch
A meal can impact how we feel hours later. Since we are talking about the midday slump, let’s look at our lunch.
When we have a meal that is “heavy” or contains a lot of starchy, rich, and processed foods (i.e. Burger and French fries) our blood sugar can spike and crash. The other part to this is that with heavier meals you can feel more sluggish right after eating.
Instead of things like potatoes, pasta, and for some even a slice of bread, go for complex carbs like brown rice, quinoa, vegetables, etc.
With complex carbs they have a higher fiber content so they digest slower and your blood sugar won’t spike and drop.
Don’t worry – you can save the pasta for dinner.
The other factor for lunch is having it be higher protein. Protein will not crash your blood sugar and it digests slower and keeps you fuller longer.
Balanced Midday Snack
If you are not used to eating a lighter lunch, then having a midday snack that is balanced with protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs, will help keep you full until dinner and can help with the midday slump.
When you start feeling the yawns come on, take a break and pull out the apple and peanut butter, or a snack box with fresh fruit, nuts, and some cheese if your not allergic.
This can help with balancing out your blood sugar, keep you full, and gives you a reason to take a break and munch.
I don’t know about y’all, but when my day gets busy I can be barely sipping on my coffee all morning and before I know it I’m hungry and it’s time for lunch.
Dehydration is a common first sign on fatigue and headaches. So if that sounds like you around lunch or mid-afternoon, keep the fluids going. Make sure you are drinking enough.
Moderate coffee use (2-ish cups) is not dehydrating, however it’s still good to drink water or herbal tea, even iced herbal tea, throughout the day.
Not A Time To Have Foods Your Sensitive or Allergic To
For lunch or for a midday snack, if there is a food you are sensitive to or allergic to, try not having them if you usually do at lunch and see if it helps.
With food sensitivities, allergies, and intolerances they all cause differing levels of low-grade (and high-grade for severe allergies) inflammation.
Low-grade inflammation isn’t always seen or felt, but common symptoms are fatigue and brain fog, along with a whole list of other symptoms.
So if you do have food sensitivity issues, consider this when planning your meals and picking out your order for lunch.
Change It Up
During that midday slump time, you become less productive. Some might think that they have to get a project done ASAP so no breaks until it’s complete. But in actuality, if you take a break, preferably 20 minutes but even 5 minutes is better than nothing, and do something different, it can boost productivity and you’ll get just as much done without having to force yourself. Plus you’ve given your body and brain a quick minute to recharge.
If you have a physical job, take a minute and sit down. Hydrate or have your snack.
If you have a desk job, get up, walk, stretch, etc. Get your body moving.
If you can’t get up and walk or stretch, try to do something that is automatic. Something you don’t have to think about. Like cleaning out the junk mail in your email. This is the time you can make more mistakes so doing something mindless is better than continuing with a huge report or project.
Putting It All Together
The midday slump is natural and something you can work with your body and let yourself take a minute, even take a 20 minute or less nap if you need to.
There are a few things you can do to help the dip in energy not be so drastic with what you have for lunch and a midday snack. Have a higher protein, less starchy lunch and snack to keep your blood sugar leveled. And always stay hydrated throughout the day.
And take a break, do something different. Whether that’s sitting down or walking for a few minutes, change it up.