Your body isn't built to be alert and productive 8 hours straight. Your levels of the hormone cortisol go up and down all day, which can leave you feeling sluggish in the afternoon. Take a walk to get your blood flowing. Even if it's just around the building or the block, the change of scenery will also reenergize your senses.
Do you skimp on your morning meal or skip it altogether? If so, you're missing out on important nutrients that help you concentrate, problem-solve, and be productive. It may also cause you to overeat at lunch, which can spike blood sugar. This leaves you tired and hungry a few hours later.
Yoga is all about slow movements and deep breaths, both of which get your blood moving. It also helps you release any tension you're holding in your body. You don't have to get on the floor. Just back away from the computer and do some neck rolls, shoulder rolls, and a few seated side bends. Remember to breathe.
Your body runs on water. When you don't get enough, everything slows down. Drinking a glass of water will not only make you feel less tired by carrying nutrients and oxygen to your cells, it also helps keeps your blood pressure and heartbeat in check.
Eight ounces of brewed green tea has slightly more caffeine than soda, and all of it's natural. Green tea also has plant compounds called catechins that give you a powerful antioxidant boost.
Tiredness is your body's way of telling you it needs something. And that something might be as simple as a break. It's tempting to keep working. But when you give your mind and body a few minutes away, you'll be more focused and productive when you return.
Don't underestimate the power of light. At a core level, your body takes its cues from light to know when to wake up and when to go to sleep. If you're feeling tired during the workday, bright sunlight or a light therapy lamp can help you feel awake and alert.
If you have a desk job, most of the action happens in your mind. Your arms may move a bit on a keyboard, but your lower half stays static. If you alternate between a sitting and standing desk, it keeps your body and blood moving.
These keep your body fueled and offset energy dips in the afternoon. This is a good time to get vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a solid hit of protein in: Reach for yogurt, a piece of fruit, or crunchy vegetables.
Like caffeine, sugar gives you a quick, easy boost, but you'll pay for it later with low blood sugar and a big drop in energy. Get healthy amounts of sugar naturally from fruit or drinks with 100% fruit juice.
Give in! A quick nap could be just what your body needs to reset and feel refreshed. Set a 15-minute timer and shut the door to your office or recline the seat in your car. Aim to get your nap in before 3 p.m. so it doesn't mess with your nighttime sleep cycle.
Ever notice how a song can boost your mood and wake up your whole body? Music tells your brain to produce more dopamine, the hormone that helps you feel pleasure. It also helps your blood flow more freely. Think of it as audio caffeine.
It's not about how many bubbles you can blow. The physical act of chewing gets your heart rate going and increases blood flow to your brain. This wakes your body up and makes you more alert.
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- Cleveland Clinic: “Afternoon Slump? 5 Ways to Restore Your Energy,” “12 Yoga Poses You Can Do Wherever You’re Working,” “Green Tea Extract: Pros and Cons for Energy, Weight Loss and More,” “Why Light at Night Can Interfere with Your Sleep,” “Are Standing Desks Better for You?”
- University of Rochester Medical Center: “Overcoming Your Midafternoon Energy Slump.”
- Johns Hopkins Medicine: “9 Benefits of Yoga.”
- Harvard Health Publishing: “How Much Water Should You Drink?” “Another Benefit of Drinking Green Tea or Coffee.”
- Mayo Clinic: “Caffeine Content for Coffee, Tea, Soda and More,” “Napping Do’s and Don’ts for Health Adults.”
- Michigan State University: “Breaks During the Workday.”
- Sleep.org: “How to Beat the Afternoon Slump.”
- Mayo Clinic News Network: “Avoiding the Afternoon Slump.”
- Harvard Health Publishing: “Dopamine: The Pathway to Pleasure.”
- Northshore University Health System: “9 Health Benefits of Music.”
- Penn State University course website: “Does Chewing Gum While Studying Help You Remember?”