You can take effective steps to prevent the afternoon slump.
Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images
If you find yourself battling midafternoon fatigue -- having a tough time keeping your eyes open and trying to keep your mental focus -- it's time to re-examine your lunch routine and food choices. While a number of factors, such as insufficient sleep and health issues, could affect your energy level, diet plays a key role in maintaining stable blood sugar levels and providing lasting energy throughout the day. By making a few changes in your eating and lifestyle habits, you can help prevent post-lunch tiredness.1.
Eat a smaller lunch. Your body spends a great deal of energy digesting food. In fact, the normal rate of energy use by your body increases by 25 to 50 percent after a meal, thereby creating feelings of tiredness. Eat a good breakfast to avoid the temptation of overeating at lunch, which could overwhelm your digestive system.2.
Eat the right kind of lunch. A balanced meal helps keep your blood glucose levels in a normal range, helping to keep your energy up, thus preventing the sluggishness associated with low blood sugar. Include protein, carbohydrate and a small amount of fat at lunch. Grilled fish with brown rice and a small green salad, for example, provide your body with long-lasting energy that helps keep your body fueled throughout the afternoon.3.
Avoid loading up on the carbs at lunch. According to University of Illinois, big meals heavy in carbohydrates tend to raise the blood concentration of tryptophan, which has tranquilizing properties that can bring on feelings of tiredness. Many processed and refined carbohydrates like doughnuts are also loaded with sugar, which can cause your blood glucose levels to rise quickly and then drop, leaving you fatigued.4.
Drink a glass or two of water after lunch to hydrate your body. Fatigue can be a symptom of dehydration, which many people fail to recognize. Keep a bottle of water at your desk and drink it not only after lunch, but also throughout the day.5.
Take a walk after lunch. Exercising helps prevent fatigue by providing your cells with more energy for fuel, circulating oxygen throughout your body and reducing stress hormones, which could also contribute to feelings of fatigue. According to Harvard Medical School, even a brisk walk is helpful.