Experiencing That 3pm Energy Lull?
Do you ever experience a lull in energy in the afternoon, usually around 3pm?
If so, you are not alone. Most people experience a drop in blood sugar and energy levels during the middle part of the day, and find themselves searching for a quick pick me up to get their energy back up. The most common go-to foods include sweets, such as candy and chocolate, or caffeine, such as coffee, teas and soda.
While providing you with that quick burst of energy, the problem with these go-to foods is that your blood sugar spikes up really quickly, but then rapidly drops again shortly thereafter, leaving you craving the next pick me up and resulting in a cycle of energy highs and lows. In addition, these foods are also mostly devoid of any nutritional value and thus don’t make your body feel full and satisfied (but are not necessarily low in calories), so your body keeps craving more. You’ll find yourself struggling with willpower just to keep yourself from overindulging.
So what are you to do if you find yourself craving that 3pm pick me up? The key is to think BIG-picture and long-term. Below are 3 essential areas you need to pay attention to if you find yourself experiencing that mid-afternoon slump:
1. Take a look at what you’re putting into your body. Do the majority of your foods come from boxes and pre-packaged foods? A diet that is balanced in whole grains, vegetables, legumes, protein, and fruits will provide you with lasting energy, due to the balance of nutrients, vitamins and minerals to support your body in optimal health. Eating whole, unprocessed, unrefined foods provides a steady, lasting source of energy throughout the day, instead of highs and lows. Specific foods that aid in increasing your energy include: complex carbohydrate foods and those rich in the B vitamins, such as brown rice and seaweed; and foods rich in vitamin C, magnesium, zinc and iron, which can be found in dark, leafy greens, sprouts, and vegetables, such as yams and squashes.
2. Keep your caffeine levels in check – Do you find yourself drinking cup after cup of coffee, tea or soda, just to get yourself going through the day? Again, while providing you with a quick burst of energy, it’s only for a short period of time. If you do drink caffeinated beverages, make sure to at least double the amount of water you drink to every cup of caffeine you consume. You may find that you do not need as much caffeine, and your body will gradually find its natural energy rhythm again over time.
3. Make sure to get enough quality rest – With everyone’s busy schedules these days, it’s not always possible to get the full 7-8 hours of sleep each night, but you should aim for this as much as possible. If you have a presentation or early morning meeting and are unable to get the 7-8 hours of sleep the night beforehand, make sure you’re able to “catch up” on sleep the following night. Continuous lack of sleep can cause your body to crash sooner or later, contributing to the 3pm slump, so even if you eat a pretty healthy, balanced diet, you may find yourself binging on sugary foods and borrowing energy from caffeinated beverages just to keep yourself going, all of which can lead to more serious health problems over time.
If you’re sitting at your desk and find yourself starting to get tired, try getting up and going for a quick 5 minute walk outside. The fresh air will invigorate your senses and movement will increase blood flow and oxygen to your body, helping you to feel more awake.
Put these 3 energy boosting essentials in practice and you will steadily find your energy levels more even and sustainable throughout the day!