It's 2 PM Again
Here we are once again arriving at the dreaded 2 PM slump. We've all experienced it—the sudden drop in energy, the struggle to stay focused, and the overwhelming desire for a nap. I remember angling my work space away from my boss so I could get a 2 min power nap without being noticed.
Don't worry; you're not alone! It turns out, this mid-afternoon dip in energy is a natural phenomenon caused by our body's circadian rhythm. There is a reason it isn't unique to only a few people. Entire societies have built in remedies like siestas and after lunch down times in order to better cope with this natural phenomenon. Unfortunately siestas don't exist everywhere around the world. Let's dive in and learn a bit more about the 2 PM slump and what can be done about it.
1. Understanding the Circadian Rhythm:
Our bodies follow a natural internal clock known as the circadian rhythm. This rhythm regulates various physiological processes, including sleep-wake cycles, hormone production, and body temperature. One of the common features of the circadian rhythm is the "afternoon slump," typically occurring between 1 PM and 3 PM. So it is something we all experience as humans.
2. The Science Behind the Slump:
The 2 PM slump is not merely a result of laziness or lack of motivation. It's a biological response influenced by several factors, such as:
- Natural Dip in Alertness: Our body's core temperature tends to drop slightly during the mid-afternoon, making us feel less alert and more inclined to feel drowsy. This is the "bang your head against the wall" feeling.
- Post-Lunch Digestion: After a meal, our body directs energy towards the digestive process, diverting resources from other functions, leading to a temporary decrease in energy levels. Well fed, and feeling dead.
- Natural Sleep-Wake Patterns: Our bodies are programmed to experience two periods of sleepiness within a 24-hour cycle: one during the late-night hours and another during the mid-afternoon. Thus the nodding off, just don't hit your head on your keyboard and accidentally send an email full of aaaaaaaaaaa's.
3. What can be done?:
Now that we understand the science behind the 2 PM slump, let's explore some playful yet effective action items to help you conquer it:
- Move Your Body: Take a short walk or engage in light stretching exercises to increase blood circulation and boost your energy levels. Physical activity stimulates the release of endorphins, which can help combat fatigue. This is especially good directly after you eat. Go on a walk, doesn't have to be long but a mile is great to get food and blood moving through the body.
- Optimize Your Workspace: Create an environment that promotes productivity. Employ natural lighting if possible, declutter your desk, and consider incorporating plants or natural elements to enhance your mood and focus.
- Mindful Breathing: Practice deep breathing exercises or meditation for a few minutes. This simple technique can help relax your mind, reduce stress, and increase mental clarity.
- Take a 20-min nap to recharge. If you are working from home this is very simple to do. Prepare your lunch the night before so all you have to do is heat, eat, and then take a power nap.
- Power Up with Cacao: Consider a cup of Téo. Our cacao drinks contain natural compounds like theobromine, which can enhance focus and alertness while promoting a positive mood. They also have Lionsmane mushroom and Ashwagandha, both known to improve mood and focus. This gentle lift can help you stay in the zone until you finish the day, without keeping you up all night.
4. Embrace a Balanced Lifestyle:
It's essential to address the underlying causes of the 2 PM slump by adopting healthy lifestyle habits:
- Prioritize Quality Sleep: It is essential that you're getting enough sleep each night by establishing a regular sleep schedule and creating a calming bedtime routine. No screens 30 minutes to 1 hour before bed, and for the first hour of the morning. Aim for at least 8 hours of good sleep.
- Nourish Your Body: Consume a nutritious breakfast and lunch to provide sustained energy throughout the day. Include a mix of complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats to maintain stable blood sugar levels. Treats are fine but know that highly processed foods and sugars tend to spike your energy levels, and then let you crash. Balance in all things.
- Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate: Dehydration can contribute to feelings of fatigue. Stay hydrated by drinking an adequate amount of water throughout the day. Make sure the fluids you are consuming have the needed trace minerals your body needs.
The 2 PM slump may be an inherent part of our circadian rhythm, but it doesn't have to derail our productivity and focus. By understanding the science behind it and implementing these simple yet effective techniques, you'll be well-equipped to manage the slump and get through your afternoons with a bit more energy and focus. So, the next time you find yourself in the midst of the 2 PM slump, remember the power of cacao ;) , the benefits of movement, and the importance of a balanced lifestyle.