afternoon slump - a drowsy dog laying down

Tired during the day? It’s called an afternoon slump – How to get rid of it

Posted by Andile Sicetsha

You probably have had to make drastic adjustments to your daily regiment to avoid that dreaded afternoon slump that often hits you between 13:00 and 16:00.

What is an afternoon slump?

Most people will agree that, often, when the clock winds past 12:00, a sense of fatigue sets in. This is especially the case for people who, due to work or school demands, have to apply concentration and energy towards productive tasks.

This phenomenon has a term, and it’s called the afternoon slump. According to experts in human biology, a lot of this feeling is owed to the way our body is connected to the circadian rhythm.

The latter, in simple terms, is the cycle that control’s your body’s internal clock. Ever wondered why you always wake up around the same time, without an alarm? Or, how at specific times in the day, your body screams for you to remove yourself from all strenuous activity?

In essence, an afternoon slump is a natural biological occurrence orchestrated by your circadian rhythm

Why do you feel tired during the day?

The occurrence of a slump in your day, usually around 13:00 to 16:00, is the result of your internal clock experiencing a decline in alertness.

For some, this period is worse than others. Lifestyle habits play a key role in how you experience an afternoon slump. Your sleep patterns, your diet and daily activity is crucial in determining the veracity of the drop in energy and focus during these times.

This is especially of great concern if you are a worker or a student. Since, it is often between these times that you are expected to function at your peak.

How to get rid of that afternoon slump

So, how do you reduce the impact of an afternoon slump? One way or another, we all experience this in our days. It is a unique experience, though, and it has to do with how we treat our mind and body.

Sleep more, get rid of the alarm

The most prominent factor in afternoon fatigue is lack of sleep. An insufficient amount of sleep severely reduces your mental alertness.

People will tell you that cutting time out of your sleep to add more hours to your day is one way to increase productivity. Sure, you will have more time to do things but your performance is most likely subpar, at best. Especially, in the afternoon.

Adults need at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep a day. It is even better if you leave it to the circadian rhythm to act as the alarm clock.

Adopt this method and you will immediately see an improvement in your focus in the afternoon.

Eat healthily, take a walk every day

The other contributing factors are high carb diets and lack of exercise. Most foods contain high sugar contents and we consume them without caring much about how they impact our alertness.

Digestion alone takes up a lot of energy. Add the fact that you probably don’t exercise much and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a disastrous afternoon slump.

Cutting out simple carbs and replacing them with a variety of nutritious options that contain high volumes of fibre, protein and healthy fats, will go a long way in adjusting your energy levels for optimal performance in the afternoon.

We don’t have to mention how important it is to exercise. Movement as simple as taking a walk every day goes a long way in regulating your circadian rhythm.

In summation, getting enough sleep, about seven to nine hours every day, eating less sugary foods and taking walks regularly are just some of the crucial changes you can apply to your daily routine to boost your levels of focus and concentration during periods of the afternoon slump.