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Afternoon Slump Got You Down?

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don't let the afternoon slump get you down MM Productions/Lifesize/Thinkstock

The afternoon slump — We all know it. For some of us, we usually know it’s coming. For others, it’s a foggy haze that manages to sneak up from out of nowhere.

You know the feeling — Your eyes glaze over, energy levels are down, and suddenly, that end of the day deadline seems unreachable.

The good news is that it happens to the best of us. And, with a little help, we can tackle this foggy monster and get on with our afternoons.

The first steps to beating the afternoon slump is to figure out why it is occurring, by asking yourself a few questions:

Did I get enough sleep? Am I drinking enough water?

What did I have for breakfast? Am I well-nourished or am I fueling myself with processed, packaged “food”?

Although the afternoon slump is often triggered by the natural flow of our circadian rhythm, there is hope for managing its severity.

Eat a lighter lunch
Make sure that your lunch is full of whole foods, rich in live enzymes.

Avoid processed foods that will require a lot of energy for digestion. Avoid sugar and other processed foods that will wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels.

Although the vending machine may be the easiest place to get a quick boost of energy, it will only cause a crash later.

We all know how easy it is to stay awake when there’s hope of treats in the future. Instead of scarfing down your lunch in one sitting, try to graze throughout the day.

It will keep your metabolism working, your energy levels up, and your self-control on point!

Eat your Bs
According to Psychology Today, “compounds in the B complex are needed for everything from the healthy maintenance of brain cells to the metabolism of carbohydrates, the brain's source of fuel.”

B vitamins are essential for energy, which is why they're so often found in energy drinks! Non-meat eaters are much more susceptible to a B deficiency. Eat your Bs!

Take a walk
Nothing conquers the slump like its arch enemy. Moving around by getting some exercise will require more breaths, and increase the oxygen to your brain and body.

Try a quick breathing exercise at your desk to increase oxygen intake. Better yet, try some breathtaking exercises!

Pushups, jumping jacks, calve raises, or dips
Depending on how lax the setting is, get a little workout in to wake yourself up. If the office is too awkward, try stepping outside or doing other low key exercises.

Try these stretches.

Take nature inside
Consider keeping flowers at your desk. According to Prevention, “researchers found that volunteers who kept a vase of vibrant flowers on their desks, along with green plants elsewhere in the office, generated more creative ideas than those in a vegetation-free setting.”

A separate Kansas State study found that women who typed with flowers on their desk were less stressed than those who had none.

Whatever the cause may be, there are many ways to beat the slump. Taking care of yourself on a daily basis by consuming enough water, eating clean, and exercising will help sustain your energy levels all day long.


11 Fast Fixes for Instant Energy - Prevention.com. (n.d.). Prevention: Healthy Living Tips, Fitness, Recipes, Diet, Beauty. Retrieved June 4, 2012, from

Afternoon Slump - Avoid and Prevent Mid-Day Sleepiness | Mark's Daily Apple. (n.d.). Mark's Daily Apple. Retrieved June 4, 2012, from

Avoid afternoon slump | Health & Wellness. (n.d.). Journal Online | Daily news from the Philippines. Retrieved June 4, 2012, from

Vitamin B: A Key to Energy | Psychology Today. (n.d.). Psychology Today: Health, Help, Happiness + Find a Therapist. Retrieved June 4, 2012, from

Reviewed June 5, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment3 Comments

Great advice although I'd disagree slightly with the meal advice. Focusing on natural forms of protein, while opting for the least amount of carbohydrates at lunch would minimize energy drops & mid-afternoon brain fog. Protein & fat give stable energy and blood sugar levels to help to maintain consistency throughout the day.

When eating primarily protein and fat, there is far less need to graze throughout the day (for energy or otherwise), which is key to preventing weight/fat gain.

June 15, 2012 - 10:59am
(reply to World Vitae)

That's great advice, thanks for the input!

June 25, 2012 - 9:57pm

Good article with good tips. The energy drink market would not be as big as it is if this didn;t affect all or most of us.


June 5, 2012 - 10:25pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.