At the start of your daily routine, you may solve your morning sleepiness with a cup of coffee or breakfast. That might keep you going until your midmorning snack or, eventually, lunch.
You may start out feeling like it’ll be relatively easy to keep up your energy when you have an entire day of work to tackle, but do you ever notice things start to slow down after your lunch break?
It’s natural to feel less energetic after a busy morning, but you still have to work through the end of the day.
Around 3 p.m., it can seem like you’ll never make it back home!
Instead of fighting the urge to fall asleep at your desk every day, try these six proven ways to slay that afternoon slump. Whether you have a packed schedule or a laid-back day ahead of you, you’ll stay awake and alert well through dinner.
1. Walk around the block
Think back to when you spent much of your time walking. It might have been in college, when you walked to your classes from your apartment. Maybe you walked your new dog around your neighborhood multiple times a day. During those times, it would have been much more difficult to get tired and fall asleep while you moved.
You can easily enjoy the same benefit by taking a quick stroll at work. Trek around the office if it’s large enough, or walk around the block during your five or 10-minute break. When your body starts moving, your increased blood flow and heart rate will wake you right up and leave you exhilarated for whatever you need to accomplish next.
2. Try a creative activity
After you feel your usual afternoon slump begin, consider what you’re doing. Are you staring at the same presentation you’ve been working on for two hours? Take a break for a few minutes and do something creative.
A Harvard study found doodling improves your focus and energy, even if you only have a few minutes to draw. It engages a different part of your brain that helps you wake up. You might prefer to write a stream-of-consciousness journal entry or fill out an adult coloring book page. Try whatever creative activity interests you to see how it helps.
3. Listen to upbeat music
When you hear a catchy, upbeat song, it’s hard not to jam along and dance in your seat. Grab your headphones and listen to up-tempo music if you want to wake up in your office chair. Once you start your chosen playlist, you’ll increase your daily productivity because the music energizes you and helps you focus.
4. Sit in the sun
As soon as you begin to feel sleepy in the afternoon, sit in the sun. Even if you’re inside by a bright window, the sunlight will boost your serotonin production, making you happier and ready to work. Something as simple as opening the blinds by your desk can make a significant difference in your day.
5. Enjoy a nutty snack
You might be a food-driven person who schedules their day around when they eat. If so, a healthy afternoon snack could be the most useful trick for waking yourself up. Choose a treat centered on almonds or cashews. Unlike peanuts, they won’t spike your blood sugar and cause a sugar crash later on. You’ll also gain natural, healthy energy from the omega-3 fatty acids, which your brain will use to work more efficiently.
6. Get good sleep
It’s important to get sufficient sleep every night since a lack of sleep affects your body in more ways than lowering your energy. Make sleep a priority in your schedule, and make it a habit to shut down electronic devices early enough at night that they won’t disrupt the quality of your sleep.
If you’re getting 8+ hours of sleep and still feeling tired, you might want to visit a doctor to see if an underlying disorder could be causing your sleep issues. For example, did you know that of the over 90 million people who snore at night, about half get diagnosed with sleep apnea? Sleep apnea is a chronic disorder that disrupts your breathing, causing poor sleep even when you get enough of it. A quick chat with a doctor could solve your temporary exhaustion and help you find the cause of a more significant issue.
Try something new every day
There are many different ways to slay the afternoon slump and even stop it from being a problem in the future. Try a new trick every day to see which ones work best for you. Eat an energizing snack, do some doodling or take a quick walk. Once you find what helps you, you’ll never dread your old 3 p.m. sleepiness again!