Saturday, August 28, 2010
Beat the Afternoon Slump!
This probably sounds familiar: 4pm roles around and your body is tired, your head hurts and you feel like you should be getting into bed instead of putting in another hour of work or running your kids to soccer practice. When body temperature decreases, many mental and cognitive skills wane as well. "Body temperature rises in the morning, peaks around noon or one o'clock, and then, in the afternoon, drops slightly," says Michael Smolensky, Ph.D., director of the Center for Chronobiology and Chronotherapeutics at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. Typically, between 5 and 7 P.M. your temperature and energy peak again; from there they gradually decline, dropping you into sleep at night.
There are much better solutions to this problem than to reach for sugar or caffeine. Here are a few:
- Get a good night's sleep: eight hours a night is the recommendation...so make an effort to get than in as often as you can.
- Eat small, nutritious meals: if you aren't eating breakfast, that is definitely playing a part in your fatigue. Also, if you are eating too big of a lunch with too many carbs, you will get tired in the afternoon. Try keeping it a moderate size and getting some good protein with minimal carbs. That will help keep you energy up
- Take a little walk: exercise energizes you, even if you think you are too tired to do anything. Especially going outside and getting some sunlight can help
- Manage your tasks: Try to organize your to do list so you do the things that require the most mind and energy strength in the morning, and the less demanding tasks in the afternoon.
No one likes the afternoon slump, but there are things we can do every day to help increase our productivity during that time. Take a power nap if you need to, and do your part to enhance your energy!