7 Reasons You’re So Tired After Lunch and What to Do About It
I’m sitting at my desk, desperately trying to string a sentence together, but I’m so tired. My head feels like cotton wool and a rock has taken up residence in the pit of my stomach. I reach for the coffee, praying it will clear this head fog and get me through this last leg of the day. The phone rings, I answer it and instantly snap at the person on the other end. The afternoon is not going well.
They call it the afternoon slump and it is a killer for productivity in the second half of the day.
But why does it happen and how can you overcome it?
The blood that usually goes to your brain is now going to your digestive system, making higher brain function more difficult.
Solution – light exercise. Going for a quick walk or doing some stretches in your office will help to get that blood flowing again and ward off fatigue.
You don’t get enough sleep at night. Adults need about 7 hours each night to get proper restorative sleep. Less sleep will make you more tired towards the end of the day and add to that the hormone melatonin (a hormone that makes us sleepy) is released after we eat; it’s a recipe for the afternoon slump.
Solution – make sure you are going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. The body thrives on routine.
You don’t eat breakfast.
Solution – eating a low carbohydrate, low sugar, high protein breakfast will help you feel full and give your body plenty of nutrients and fuel to set you up right for the day. Choose things like eggs and greens, chia puddings made with coconut milk or last nights meat and 3 veg leftovers.
You are eating a highly processed carbohydrate rich lunch.
Solution – highly processed, grain rich foods such as bread, pasta, muffins and cakes are broken down into sugars very fast by the body and dumped into you blood stream, giving you a quick burst of energy. But once that sugar is cleared away by insulin, you are left hanging (in an energy sense). Add to that, the sugar cleared from your blood will usually be stored in your liver or as fat cells. For energy and fuel that lasts all afternoon choose foods that take your body longer to breakdown, slow burning logs instead of kindling. Foods like eggs, lean unprocessed meats, oily fish like sardines, gluten free grains like quinoa and buckwheat, and of course vegetables, lots of vegetables.
You’re eating a big heavy lunch.
Solution – smaller portions and eating to 80% full. The bigger your lunch, the longer it takes to digest, which means the longer blood is away from your brain and the larger dose of melatonin is released. A lighter lunch will stop you feeling like an overstuffed python.
You drink with lunch.
Solution – skip the wine. Not that I am averse to a nice glass of wine with lunch and although red wine is very good for you, alcohol is a sedative and will add to that drowsy feeling.
You have more than 3 coffees or tea or cola before lunch.
Solution – drink more water and cut down on the caffeine. Although coffee and tea are full of antioxidants, they do dehydrate you. You would be surprised at how common fatigue due to dehydration is. You need 1 litre of water for every 24kg of your weight. So for an average 70kg person, that is 2.9 litres of water. Plain room temperature water is best, but herbal teas do count too. To boost your energy levels further try herbal teas such as licorice root, green tea, dandelion, ginseng or gota kola. All sound a bit too hippie for you? Simple warm lemon water also does the trick.
The after lunch slump is such a common problem that can dramatically affect your business and overall life. If you’ve tried all of the above and still can’t get over the slump, it might be time to have a chat with a trusted health practitioner.
Have you tried any of these? Did they help? Anything I’ve forgotten that worked for you? Leave me a comment below and check out my facebook page for more awesome healthy tips.
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