Why does 3 pm have to feel so awful? You’re going through your day productively and then BAM! You crash.. And you feel like crap right up until about dinner time. How do you stop having a daily mid-afternoon energy slump?
The mid-afternoon energy slump?
Why does the mid-afternoon energy slump occur? It could be for a variety of reasons. But mid-afternoon is a prime time when the imbalances of the day catch up with you. If your body is off-balance, then this is when the problem will show.
If you experience a mid-afternoon slump on occasion, there’s nothing to worry about. You’ll get through the challenge of the day and things will be different tomorrow. If you have a mid-afternoon slump on a frequent basis or everyday, then there’s a problem.
Most often, the mid-afternoon slump is related to diet, and how your body is using energy. And this is literally the time of day when your body runs out of fuel. So today we’re talking about the mid-afternoon energy slump. And how you can move past having it be a daily occurrence.
Eat a good breakfast with protein and fat
The type of breakfast you eat helps determine how you feel for the rest of the day. Let’s say you eat a meal high in sugar and quickly processed carbohydrates – think granola, pancakes or bagels. If you have a blood sugar imbalance, this sets the stage for an energy lag later.
So one of the first things to do if you find yourself consistently experience a slump later in the day is to reexamine breakfast. And switch your easily digested carbs to protein and fat. Think turkey hash, a vegetable omelet, or a high protein smoothie on the go.
Move to a lower processed carbohydrate diet altogether
Notice I didn’t say to give up carbohydrates. But it’s worth examining the amount of processed carbohydrates you consume daily. Even things that sound healthier like brown rice pasta or veggie chips can pack a high blood sugar punch.
Focus on including more low-glycemic carbohydrates in your diet to start transforming your energy levels in the afternoon. Good choices are most non-starchy vegetables, quinoa, and legumes. Things like oatmeal and brown rice are better too, but should be consumed with a bit more moderation.
This might seem like changes you might make if you’re trying to lose weight. And while these two problems can go hand and hand, you don’t need to be overweight to have a blood sugar imbalance. If you’re dragging in the afternoon, this is probably something for you.
Get moving on your lunch break
If you have time to run to the gym, or take a mid-afternoon exercise class, that’s great. But let’s get honest. You probably don’t have the time. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have time to move. What about taking a walk on your lunch break?
A little gentle movement in the afternoon can energize you in a couple of ways. First, exercise releases energizing endorphins. Second, movement helps insulin-sensitivity which improves blood sugar levels and your mid-afternoon energy slump.
Take stress relieving breaks during your day
Adrenal burnout is a real thing. And when your stress hormones aren’t working correctly, you can experience exhaustion at times you shouldn’t. Plus, excess stress hormones in the body contributes to excess insulin. Meaning that stress can also influence blood sugar.
Healing adrenal burnout is a complicated subject. It can’t be solved by anything presented in just a short blog post. But here are some ways to move your adrenals in the right direction and help minimize the mid-afternoon energy slump –
*Take breaks during the day to breath. Focus on a long slow exhale. And as you exhale, picture stress leaving your body.
*Go to bed as close as 10 pm as you can every night. Staying up late was unusual before the invention of electricity. Your body goes on alert when you stay up late, releasing the energy-boosting stress hormone cortisol. This is why you get a second wind. But it’s not good for your stress level or adrenals.
*Consider taking adaptogenic herbs. These helps your body with the stress response. Some examples are ashwagandha, magnolia bar, rhodiola, and kava kava.
Go easy on caffeine
It’s natural if you’re tired in the morning to get yourself going with a cup or two of coffee. But you can start experiencing problems if you’re surviving on a caffeine and sugar rush. Because it’s inevitable that you’ll eventually come crashing down.
I’ve talked recently about alternatives to coffee and ways to balance your caffeine consumption. This is worth looking into if you feel you need more than just a cup of joe to get through. Because a morning caffeine high can quickly lead you to a mid-afternoon energy slump.
Be prepared with afternoon energizing snacks
If you’re experiencing a mid-afternoon energy slump, there’s a good chance that you’re also experiencing hunger. But the worst thing you can do is run to the office snack machine or grab a Frappuccino. Because you’ll just create another caffeine/ sugar crash.
Choose things like a cup of unsweetened yogurt with fruit. Maybe an apple with a handful of nuts. Or consider a hard boiled egg. Things like this can provide some energy while helping regulate any type of sugar crash.
So these are some ways to eliminate a mid-afternoon energy crash. Just make sure to practice patience. True transformation happen when you execute healthy habits for a period of time. So choose daily to take small steps that will lead to better consistent energy throughout your day!
Patricia G. says
Since my job involves a lot of physical activity, exercising after my lunch is no problem! However, if I go to bed close to 10 pm, I will most likely get less than six hours of sleep, since I have to get up around 4:20 am every when I am scheduled for work. So, for me, personally I have to be already asleep by 9 pm if I am going to get decent sleep for the next day. 🙂 I have also noticed that I get the mid afternoon energy slump ONLY when I am not working. Maybe because of less exercise?!
Wow, you wake up so early! I used to wake up at 3 am which was hard, but that was a long time ago now.
OH how I needed to read this today…you and the universe have delivered…lol. I have a mid day slump just about everyday. I am home with a toddler and really don’t take care of myself. I don’t eat well, sometimes very little at all, so I really need to work on my diet. I love a midday frappacino but they upset my stomach. I try to eat hard boiled eggs in the morning and some blueberries but that’s on a good day. I’m making changes starting tomorrow. THANK YOU!
So glad this was helpful!!
I too dread that 3PM time. I try and refresh myself with a bath.Snacking too sounds like a good idea then.
Jillian Bell says
Great tips! I usually eat citrus fruit to refresh myself after lunch. I don’t know that’s a good idea but it helps me a lot. Thanks for the share.
I’ve been saying that I’m going to start doing more moving and walking during my lunch breaks. It’s a must; especially since it helps avoid that slump that comes right after lunch!
I often experience post-lunch sluggishness. As lunch itself seems to be the culprit, perhaps the solution is to eat a much smaller, snack-sized lunch and then have another mini-meal later in the day if necessary – what do you think?
Give it a try – that could very well help!
RoseMary Griffith says
Since reading this, I have been working to stick with a protein shake, yogurt, or eggs for breakfast. The experiment is that I am far less hungry all morning and have had to remind myself to eat lunch! That’s a good change. As we move into a beautiful fall in PA, I am ready to resume my lunchtime walks–you’re right that getting outside like that sure eases the afternoon slump.