How To Overcome Three-thirty-itis
You know the feeling. It’s 3 pm and all you want to do is curl up and sleep. The afternoon work slump is a real challenge. If you’ve ever felt the drowsy, unproductive afternoon block, we have some tips on how you can overcome the afternoon slump.
The urge to sleep during the afternoon period is natural. According to the National Sleep Foundation, our bodies naturally wane at certain times of the day. It’s generally between 2 and 4 am, and between 1 and 3 pm. Of course, the afternoon slump is the most inconvenient time to feel sleepy.
However, a serious afternoon slump is much more than just feeling like the day is getting long. It’s marked by a significant feeling of tiredness or fatigue that makes it difficult to focus and results in low levels of productivity. Symptoms can include frequent yawning, moodiness, falling asleep at your desk or craving carbohydrates.
And although our bodies have a natural tendency to feel tired during certain times of the day, lifestyle influences the frequency of afternoon slumps. Getting little sleep on a regular basis, poor eating habits and high levels of stress are just some of the red flags.
Here are some simple ways to overcome the afternoon slump:
Schedule tasks. Schedule your work activities around your natural highs and lows in alertness. Around 8 to 9 am is often a great time to tackle the most demanding and detail-oriented tasks. Do less demanding tasks in the afternoon such as making phone calls or filling out expense reports.
Have a healthy snack. Choose healthy carbohydrates mixed with protein. Some options include wholegrain cereal with milk, raw veggies or cheese cubes, to raise your blood sugar levels. A small amount of dark chocolate is also a good option, with high levels of healthy fat and antioxidants.
Go for a quick walk. Walking gets your heart rate up, which gives you levels of energy. Walk around the office or take a quick stroll outside. Sunlight helps you feel more alert and may improve your focus and mood. No matter where you decide to take your walk, research shows that moving around may help you feel less sluggish.
Add physical activity to your day. Exercise is a great way to improve energy levels and engagement. Do some jumping jacks or wall pushups. Use a jump rope or a set of hand weights. Do some yoga or tai chi. Adding these short bursts of physical activity can make a difference.
Avoid relying on caffeine. We’ve all gone out for a 3 pm coffee in the hopes of getting a quick fix. Caffeine blocks a chemical in your body that tells you how tired you are. While it may work temporarily, it has drastic returns. Don’t make it a habit to grab a coffee in the afternoon.
Next time you’re feeling the afternoon slump coming around the corner, don’t stress. Apply these simple steps, and you can achieve better levels of productivity and focus.