A wave of tiredness, loss of concentration and the seemingly impossible battle to keep your eyes open ? sound familiar? These are the telltale signs for many of us experiencing the impending afternoon office slump.
Mornings are normally fraught. You sit down at your desk, the phone rings and before you know it you find yourself on autopilot – responding to emails, heading in and out of multiple meetings. After lunch your energy levels start to dip. Mid-afternoon comes around – and with it? The feeling whereby you are devoid of energy, enthusiasm and focus.
Here are a suggestions that Dr. Sally Norton believes can help you keep your energy levels high, concentration on a steady level and the afternoon slump at bay:
Ditch the sugar
We tend to turn to sugar for a quick energy boost when we?re feeling lethargic, but it can actually end up making us feel worse. The rapid boost it gives us is swiftly followed by a slump as our blood sugar levels plummet in response to the hormone insulin that is released when we eat sugar. Avoiding sugar wherever we can will actually do wonders for our energy levels. So what can we have instead? Reach for those slower burn energy sources – protein-packed snacks, fats (in moderation of course) and complex carbohydrates such as wholegrains.
Avoid a heavy lunch
One of the main reasons that many of us feel that afternoon slump after lunch is because our bodies are busy digesting our meal. The food that we eat for lunch diverts your blood away from your brain to aid the digestion process, leaving us feeling lethargic. And the more we eat, the longer our bodies may take to digest it. But we don?t need to eat such large portions. Over the past 20 years, portion sizes have increased by around 50 per cent, which makes it much too easy for us to end up eating portions of food that are much bigger than our body needs. A huge triple pack of sandwiches, or large bowl of pasta contain much more energy than our bodies require, so it takes a toll on us when we try to digest them. Instead, try and make sure you?re eating a light, nutrient-packed lunch that will give you all of the energy you need, and keep you feeling full.
Take a break
Too many of us who work in busy office environments end up spending hours on end tied to our desks, often with no breaks even for lunch. However, more hours in front of the computer doesn?t mean more productivity. Taking a break away from the screen, especially to take some exercise, will give you an energy boost and mean you actually get more done when you are at your desk. And studies show that a bit of exercise (even a brief half hour walk at lunchtime) increases our energy in many ways ? from building up muscles to boosting our mood and self-confidence.
Grab a cuppa
Caffeine is often demonised as an addictive drug that should be avoided wherever possible. In actual fact, in moderation it can be a useful pick-me-up, can improve physical performance and appears to have health benefits too. For example, it may improve mental performance and reduce the risk of Alzheimer?s and diabetes. So grabbing a coffee after lunch could help you to feel perked up. Just avoid it later in the afternoon, as it takes time to clear from the system and may affect your sleep.
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