I think we all know that feeling, when the afternoon comes around, when all you wanna do is sit down on the couch and veg out – for just a minute. But, at the same time, your mind is whirling with the zillion things you still have to accomplish before the day is done. Sound familiar??
Me too. Turns out, as research shows, our circadian rhythm can take part of the blame! Our brain receives “sleep signals” that are at their highest during the night and in the afternoon! And, of course, other factors such as lack of sleep, not so awesome nutrition, and lack of exercise can play a part as well.
So, you ask, is there anything we can do?? Yes!! Aside from the obvious… get more sleep (yeah, like that’s gonna happen), eat better (ok, now you’re talking craziness…) and work out more – here are a few of our favorite tricks to combat turning into a sloth in the mid afternoon…
#1 ~ Have a snack! Preferably something with a good protein/complex carb balance to give you a good boost and carry you through the rest of your day. We like
- small apple, 1 oz of cheese (like a mozzarella cheese stick), and a handful of almonds
- small apple and peanut or almond butter
- nut mix with dried fruit
- protein smoothie with a 1/2 a banana
- pretzels and hummus
#2 ~ Hydrate! So often, a lack of good hydration can really drag you down, and water will give you great energy! Ideally, you should be drinking half your body weight in water per day (example: 120 lb woman = 60 ounces water). So, drink your water! Add some lemon for an extra perk!
#3 ~ My favorite… Caffeinate! There are lots of great benefits to caffeine, increasing your stamina, post-workout muscle pain, increasing memory, detoxing the liver…. all things we can discuss in more detail another time. Most importantly, a little caffeine can give you a great energy boost! Be careful to make sure you’re not taking in a bunch of sugar at the same time though – like with that Starbucks latte you may be dreaming of now. Give these a try…
- my new favorite, Crystal light On the Go with caffeine – can you say What?! Oh yeah…
- green tea
- a pre-work out – my 2 current favorites… Con-cret Burn or Prime by Complete Nutrition
#4 ~ Get up & Move!! Sometimes all it takes is to get your body moving to bring back an energy burst! My favorite thing to do at 3am, when I am at work and my energy is waning, is to grab a friend or two, and we go walk the halls for a couple of rounds. Wakes us night shifters right up! And, it will work the same for you mid-afternoon.
- Take a walk. Ideally, get outside! The fresh air will refresh you and the bright sunlight increases alertness and signals your brain to not release melatonin ( that’s what makes you sleepy! ) If you can’t get outside, just by getting your heart rate to beat a little faster will give you that energy boost you’re looking for. Head to the stairs in your building and walk up a flight or two!
- Stretch! If you can’t walk, stand up, stretch your arms overhead, tip your head side to side to gently stretch your neck… and take a few deeeeeep breaths!
So, next time you are feeling your forehead bounce off your desk from the afternoon crash, try a few of these tips to energize your day.