13 Ways To Avoid And Overcome Midday Slumps (Aside From Giving Up And Conking Out On Your Desk)
Let me tell you a story: Once upon a time, there was a human who worked in a job. They slept a moderate amount the night before, appropriately caffeinated themselves, settled into their desks and did Important Human Stuff for 4-6 hours. Then, all of a sudden, the hero of our INCREDIBLY EXCITING, AWARD-WINNING story felt...kinda...meh. Sleepy. Out of it. Blonkers, which is not a word, but if you've been there, then you probably understand what I mean. Does this story of the midday slump sound familiar? That's because it's basically the struggle we all share. We are all victims of the Great Mid-Afternoon Energy Drop, even the best of us, and together, we are all responsible for the terrifying and impressive expansion of our overlord Starbucks. The problem with the midday slump? Once you're there, you're there, and your brain might as well be pudding that is broadcasting white noise over its ear speakers.
Well, the good news is you're not alone: Our brains and bodies betray us all on a nine-to-five basis. But the ways you've been coping with it might actually be sneakily making everything even worse, and that is the opposite of what you need when you are one slight dim of the lights away from cruising into Snoozeville. But don't worry! If you can stay awake long enough to read this article, I can help you (or at least, the science people who did the actual research on this stuff can). BEHOLD! The many ways you can get over your afternoon schloop:
1. Enforce a bedtime on yourself (duh)
Guys, I know how tempting the internet is. Believe me. The internet is my job, my soulmate, and pretty much every other unhealthy thing in between. But the internet also makes us mindlessly stay up past midnight on a weekday, and our 3PM selves are deeply suffering for it. You might not even feel super tired in the morning, but trust me, by the afternoon, the sleep deprivation will strike. Here are some tips on enforcing your own bedtime.
2. Go on a walk during lunch
It doesn't even have to be a long walk. Even just ten minutes around the block can oxygenate your muscles and brain, perking you up that much more to get through the day. It also helps you cope with work stress a lot more effectively.
3. Eat every 3-4 hours during the day
Pfft, like someone needs to give me an excuse to eat more snacks. Sharp drops in glucose levels can be the sneaky culprit for your sleepiness, and you can prevent them from happening by keeping healthy snacks on hand to much on during the day.
4. Drink some green tea
Not only will it wake you up without keeping you up all night (*side-eyes coffee*), studies show that green tea improves working memory, and can make you an ever more efficient worker. Basically, green tea gives you super powers, so drink it always. Hooray!
5. Eat protein-rich food at lunch
The nutrients in protein-rich foods like meats, low-fat cheeses, fish, or beans will help block serotonin, the sleep-inducing chemical in the brain. Plus, it'll discourage you somewhat from gorging on refined carbs alone (basically my M.O.) and crashing later.
6. Splash some cold water on your face
Yes, it seems like a total movie cliché, but if you're already in the "I cannot go on with this day" danger zone, this is a worthy trick to try.
7. Stay super hydrated
Even being a little dehydrated can make your mind start to wander, and dehydration is super sneaky; You might not even notice that you're experiencing it. It's a little up for debate exactly how much water you "should" be drinking. I've heard a few researchers say you should only drink when you're thirsty, and others claim that women need at least nine cups a day, but at the very least, try swigging an an extra cold glass to prevent the ZZZZZs.
8. Eat a smaller lunch
This isn't necessarily an "eat less" scenario, because with proper snackage, you can end up eating just as much throughout the course of the day. But if you have a filling lunch, odds are, the signals to your brain are gonna be all, "Welp, now that all us organs down here worked extra hard to digest this, we might as well be unconscious!"
9. Try a standing desk
If you're the kind of person who can focus while standing up (as I type this I am literally sitting in a position that a sad pretzel would sit in if it were a human), the increased blood flow is a great way to keep yourself feeling alert. An old co-worker of mine used to put a box under his lap-top. TA-DA! Standing desk.
10. Listen to some sweet jams
Specifically, listening through your headphones can perk you up by making you focus more on the task at hand.
11. Stick to one to two drinks the night before
Adulthood is such a buzzkill. I mean, every now and then you're going to end up getting #WeekdayTurnt and your body is just gonna take one for the team, but obviously, sleepiness is caused by hungover-ness, and blah blah...don't drink the whole bottle on a school night if you can help it, is what I'm saying.
12. Keep your screen further away from you
Computer Vision Syndrome is a legitimate condition that makes you feel tired even when you're not. I mean, with most jobs these days, you're going to be staring at a computer screen no matter what, so it's not like there is an escape from this mortal peril. But make sure your screen is at least a foot away from you, if not more.
13. Take an actual nap if you can
Taking a 20-minute nap can refresh you like whoa (just make sure it doesn't go on any longer than that, or it'll just make you sleepier). If you're in a position where you can take a quick snooze in your car at lunch, crack a window open and go for it. Cats do not have a trademark on midday sleeping, and you'll thank yourself later.
Images: NBC; Giphy (10)