Everything you wanted to know about the afternoon ‘slump’

You know that period between lunchtime and hometime when all you want to do is crawl under a blanket and watch Stranger Things on Netflix? It turns out, you’re really not alone when it comes to that complete lack of energy. They call it the afternoon ‘slump, ’ and it’s far more common than you might think. So, what is this complete productivity killer? And what can we do about it? Here’s everything you need to know about the dreaded afternoon ‘slump’ and how to put an end to it once and for all.

What is the afternoon ‘slump’?

If you’ve ever felt more tired, groggy or unmotivated after lunchtime, then it turns out you’re experiencing the afternoon ‘slump.’ It can happen anywhere between midday and 2 pm, and you’ll find that everything seems like a chore. Some people may even experience changes in vision, muscle weakness, or falling asleep at their desk! The afternoon slump is a totally real phenomena, and scientists have spent years trying to work out exactly what it is that causes it.

What causes the afternoon ‘slump’?

So far, there are two potential reasons for this lack of energy after lunch. Many believe it could be due to what we eat, especially as many of us have carbs for lunch. This can cause an energy spike but a quick comedown that leads to us feeling tired and sluggish after we’ve eaten. The other, newer research, suggests that as humans our brains stop seeking out rewards at around midday. We are programmed to seek out rewards, whether it be learning, monetary, or even food. For some reason, our brains don’t expect to be rewarded in the morning or evening which means we have more motivation to seek something good out. However, at around midday (lunchtime), we’re actively expecting a reward of some kind and therefore our brains sort of shut down. Finally, there could also be a medical reason you’re feeling lethargic, so make sure you rule out issues like metabolic disorders or lack of sleep.

How to beat the afternoon ‘slump’

So, now we have some kind of idea what causes this lack of productivity in the middle of the day, is there anything we can do to combat it? There are a couple of tips and tricks that can help you feel more motivated after lunch, here are just some of them:

Protein over carbs. If the cause of your afternoon ‘slump’ is because you devoured something carb-heavy for lunch, consider going for protein in the middle of the day instead. Tuna, eggs or chicken all go well in a salad and will stop you getting the carb comedown in the afternoon. Get some Vitamin D. Sunshine can really help if you’re feeling sluggish, so try eating your lunch outside. Just 10 minutes in the sun can boost your Vitamin D levels and give you that burst of energy for later on in the day. Minty fresh. The scent of mint is known to help increase energy levels, so brush your teeth, chew some gum, or get yourself some peppermint oil to rub on your hands.

Unless there is an underlying medical reason for your afternoon ‘slump’ then you’ll be pleased to know it’s totally normal for our brains to feel sluggish after lunch. Now you know why, you can start trying out some of our useful tips for beating that feeling and remain productive all day, every day!