How To Avoid The Mid-Afternoon Slump
We’re biologically wired to be sleepy in the afternoon, but a few simple tweaks to your daily habits can boost energy levels.
Marie Antoinette (played by Kirsten Dunst) takes a nap to avoid the mid-afternoon slump
Do you find yourself craving a little 3pm snooze, even on the days you’re in the office? You can blame your 24-hour body clock *shakes fist at circadian rhythm* for that mid-afternoon slump. Sleep, it seems, doesn’t just come at night – there’s also a short period in the afternoon when your body actually craves it. What’s more, science says your internal temperature dips between 2pm and 4pm, which increases the urge to sleep and is why your couch/desk/hallway/any flat surface looks so inviting around that time.

If you can, sleep specialists recommend you squeeze in a 15-minute power nap to revitalise and reenergise. However, if it’s not an option (say, you’re in a meeting, getting a pap smear or driving at high speed), you can try these 3 energy boosters instead.


1. Good Day Sunshine

Is there anything that beautiful, big, burning ball of sunshine in the sky can’t do? Granted, it can kill in large doses, but just the right amount – around 10 to 15 minutes a day – is all that’s needed to leave us feeling invigorated. Soak up some of the sun’s blue light in the morning to really wake you up, and a walk at lunchtime on a bright day can have the same alerting effects as two shots of espresso, without the coffee breath or the jitters.


2. Nap & Sniff

Just as some scents can lull us to sleep, others can have remarkable effects on waking us up. Our sense of smell is directly linked to the part of our brain that controls all of our unconscious actions and how tired or energised we feel. To combat that mid-afternoon dip, peppermint, lemon, orange or grapefruit are all great scents to increase energy. Try using the oils in a diffuser, smelling them straight from the bottle or applying them to your pulse points with a fragrance rollerball.


3. Listen Carefully

A recent study published in Neuroscience Research reveals that you can stimulate certain types of brainwaves with sounds. Generally speaking, low-frequency waves are linked to ‘delta’ and ‘theta’ states which can improve sleep, while higher frequencies reportedly boost your brain waves into a ‘gamma’ or ‘beta’ state which may make you more alert, focused, or better able to recall memories. Try the app, Mindicine. It is said to target beta brainwaves – associated with alertness and critical reasoning – using soothing sounds in short, five-minute blocks.


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