Are you constantly feeling tired in the afternoon? The post-lunch dip in energy and feeling tired is more common than people realise. In fact, it can be caused by a number of lifestyle factors. Read our handy tips below to beat the energy dip.
Some of the main causes of daytime sleepiness include poor blood sugar alance due to caused by an excess of glucose levels or an extreme dip in glucose levels. A lunchtime meal that is too rich in simple carbohydrates such as sugar, white bread, white rice/pasta, skipping a meal or eating a meal that has no carbohydrates at all can contribute to poor blood sugar balance. This can lead to an excess of or an extreme dip in glucose levels.
Poor sleep can contribute to daytime sleepiness and our brain may want a nap in the early afternoon. On average we need 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
In sports, a decrease in performance results from dehydration, the same can happen during the daily routine. Hydration includes drinking water but is also reliant on minerals to maintain a balance in fluid, these minerals are often called electrolytes.
Other lifestyle factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol intake and sedentary behaviours can induce daytime sleepiness.
How do I overcome the afternoon slump?
Tips to improve energy levels include:
- Taking a lunchtime walk is re-energising and can help to manage stress. Getting outdoors and enjoying some sunshine exposure also has a beneficial effect on the hormones that regulate the human sleep-wake cycle.
- Eating different coloured wholefoods and choosing natural carbohydrate sources which will release energy more slowly. Try roast root vegetables and spiced tofu or scrambled eggs with spinach, tomatoes and sweet potato.
After your morning coffee/tea, try adding an electrolyte minerals to water or herbal teas which are hydrating.
- Take a supplement
If daytime sleepiness is prolonged and you have improved your lifestyle for sleep, it may be that your diet does not provide enough of the nutrients that support energy production and sleep. Try incorporating magnesium or a B complex supplement to your routine.
Author: Jenny Carson, Consultant Nutritionist at ethical vitamin company Viridian Nutrition. She holds a BSc honours degree in Nutritional Science and is a Master of Research (MRes) in Public Health.