Published On: Thu, Aug 14th, 2014

Tired? 6 natural ways to remedy your afternoon energy crash

Energy-CrashesWhen you hit that lull mid-afternoon, your energy sinks, your focus declines, and your productivity suffers, but it doesn’t have to with these six ways to overcome the afternoon slump. You can have a rockin’ afternoon full of energy, great mental clarity, and impress your boss with how much you get done when you start following these tips.

1. Switch to tea after your first cup of coffee The caffeine in coffee and tea work in very different ways. Coffee produces a quick rise in alertness, even jitteriness, followed by a sharp decline as those effects wear off. Tea also contains caffeine–though far less than coffee–but more importantly, it is paired with the amino acid L-Theanine. L-Theanine slows the release of caffeine, to create a more moderate, but prolonged effect. Working together, this means they increase focus, improve reaction time, and benefit memory and mental clarity. More importantly, the smoothing effects of L-Theanine mean no coffee crash.

2. Reduce sugar and starch consumption at lunchtime. Sugar, starches, and other high glycemic foods will spike blood sugar, such that you may have more energy for a time (e.g. sugar rush), but as insulin does its work, blood sugar falls again, often to lower levels than before eating, and you’re left feeling lethargic and sleepy. Minimize sugar and starches to stay off the blood sugar roller coaster.

3. Have protein with your lunch. While sugars and starches will create a spike and subsequent fall in blood sugar, protein acts as a stabilizer, providing more consistent energy and blood sugar over a longer period of time. But don’t over do it either–eating a heavy meal at lunch will draw resources to your digestive tract, drawing energy away from the limbs and brain, making it more difficult to concentrate. Eating a light, but balanced, satisfying meal will help you be at your best during that afternoon meeting.

4. Take a walk outside. Being inside all day can be very draining. Our bodies need sun exposure for many critical processes, including managing the circadian rhythm, which tells our bodies when to be active and when to sleep. Stagnant indoor air can also be depleted of oxygen, which can make you feel sleepy as your body works harder to get oxygen. Go outside, get some fresh air, move your body, take deep breaths, and feel the sun on your face and arms.

5. Drink more water. The human body is 60% water, and water is fundamental to countless physiological processes, including digestion, nerve functioning, and concentration. Your brain relies on water to quickly and efficiently relay thoughts and transmit information. Therefore, if you’re struggling to focus and suffering from brain fog, you just might be dehydrated. Getting up and going to the water cooler will also help your energy as your blood begins pumping more actively.

6. Sleep more than 6 hours per night. If you’re only sleeping 5 hours per night, doing everything on the above list isn’t going to combat your afternoon slump because your body is desperate for more sleep. You may think you can survive on less, but eventually your need for sleep will win out until you’re dozing off in meetings. So make sure you’re getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep each day, even if you have to take a nap to reach that number.

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