Struggling to get your work done after lunch because you’re tired and can’t focus? You’re not alone. The afternoon slump is a common problem for many of us and it turns out, our attention spans take a natural dip in the afternoons. It happens because our bodies have an internal alert system that strengthens and wanes throughout the day. So that midday grogginess may not be from eating a heavy lunch or sitting through a boring meeting, it could just be a brief lull in power of the alerting signal, according to Harvard’s Healthy Sleep site.
But the real question is how do we perk up so we can get more work done? Instead of fighting your way through the fatigue, try one of these science-backed ways to boost your energy to get through the rest of the work day.
- Drink some water- Put down the coffee and start sipping water. Dehydration makes us tired and it’s easy to forget to keep drinking when you’re staring at screens all day.Researchshows that even mild dehydration levels can negatively affect cognitive performance, cause poor concentration and short-term memory problems, so drink up.
- Get outside- When you feel sluggish after lunch, sunlight can help. Studies havefoundexposing the body to more light can improve alertness, but if you’re stuck inside, you can still turn up the lights in your work space.
- Talk with someone- Connecting with a coworker or a friend can help boost energy levels in the afternoon, too. If you find yourself regularly yawning at 2pm, try scheduling independent work in the morning and work that connects you with others in the afternoon.
- Snack your way through- If you need a pick-me-up, brain foods like broccoli, grains, lentils and eggs can help improve concentration. And knowing you have a snack waiting gives you something to look forward to in the afternoon.
- Make time for an activity that refreshes you- If you’re physically and mentally drained by the time the afternoon rolls around, you may just try to plow through work without a break. But clinical psychologistAdjoa Oseiadvises taking a few minutes to do something fun for you that will motivate you to get through the day. It could be taking a walk or watching funny cat videos, as long as it helps revive you for the rest of the afternoon.