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How To Get Over The Afternoon Slump

March 17th, 2012 · 2 Comments ·


Everyday, when it is 3 o’clock in the afternoon, your shoulders slump, eyelids become heavy, text on computer screen become dim. Many people, especially office workers, have mid afternoon slump. After you wake up in the morning, your energy and alertness are at the full bar. However, a dip will happen in the afternoon as it is expected in your biological clock which regulate your sleep/wake system. Nothing wrong with a slight reduction in energy and light yawning. Each of us differ in the degree to which this afternoon slump hits. If you find yourself unable to focus on your work or fighting to stay awake while you are driving, you may want to do something about it.

How To Get Over The Afternoon Slump

  • When you feel the slump hitting you, stand up. Walk away from your desk. Go outside and see the sun. You can also wash your face. After 5 minutes, you should be refreshed.
  • In fact, if you dare, do some push-ups. Do another fifty tricep dips with your air. Intense exercise will get your heart pumping blood and definitely make yourself awake for the next one hour.
  • Take a nap. I have seen some people take nap on their place, either by sitting on the chair or with head on their arms resting on tables. Unless your office provides you with EnergyPod, you may find it hard to go for a cat nap. Assuming you are allowed to take nap, do not sleep for more than thirty minutes and you should not do it after 4 PM.


  • Listen to music. Music energize you, but avoid hard rock songs which may you feel jittery. Listen to music with motivating lyrics. You can also talk to your colleague. In short, aural stimulation will make you awake.
  • Apart from that, you may need mental stimulation. Rather than twiddling your thumbs and fighting yawns, keep yourself busy with work. Schedule meeting or conference phone call after your lunch.
  • Some people resort to coffee or tea hoping to get an instant boost. I will not recommend you to rely on the caffeine in long term because you may get addicted to them. Caffeine is what I considered as fake energy source.
  • Also, avoid sugary snacks. Contrary to belief, sugar increases tiredness, even though it may give an instant boost which is not long lasting. Go for fresh fruit or snacks like nuts and seeds instead.


How To Prevent Afternoon Slump In Long Term

  1. Eat A Balanced Lunch
    • Do not eat heavy lunch. If you have to eat a lot, make sure you minimize high carbohydrates food such as large plate of rice of, bread or noodles. This type of lunch will induce a huge surge of sugar in your bloodstream which in turn stimulates the production of the sugar-lowering hormone insulin. When the blood sugar level is lowered down for few hours, your brain and body energy will stall. A better lunch is the one which gives slow and steady release of sugar into the blood stream.
    • So, make sure your lunch has good balance of protein and carbohydrates. Go for complex carbohydrates. Generally speaking, meat or fish with vegetables and just not mainly bread, potato, rice or pasta will help your blood sugar level maintained throughout the afternoon.
  2. Sleep
    • If you do not have good sleep for consecutive nights, you are most likely to have afternoon slump. No matter how many cups of coffee you drink, you will still have strong nap tendency. It means that you have seriously deprived yourself of good sleep for nights. Listen to your body – it is telling you to stop staying up late and maintain a regular sleeping pattern.
    • Check out How Much Sleep Is Enough and How Can You Sleep Better?
  3. Brighten Your Office
    • If you are sitting in a small cubicles with tall partition and dim light, you may feel drowsy after looking at your computer screen for hours.  You should brighten up your workspace.  Have your pictures of family members, friends or flowers at your desk.  Organize your files nicely.
  4. Exercise
    • When you are not fit, you tend to feel tired.  So, you should exercise to get enough oxygen circulates through your system. Daily exercise reduces the effects of after-lunch sleepiness.
  5. You Need a New Job
    • I once stayed in a company for more than 5 years. Day in day out, I have been doing similar tasks and found them really boring. Now, with a new job which I have to face customers pretty often, I seldom notice myself crashing out in the afternoon. Sometimes, your energy level is related to the amount of work on your desk. When you have enough stuff to work on, you are occupied and you feel that the company needs you. The motivation and commitment come into play then. So, more work is good for employee too, sometimes!


Hopefully, you find this article helpful in overcoming the afternoon slump. No more nosediving and yawning.



Category: Health

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2 responses so far ↓
  • Yin Teing // Mar 17, 2012 at 10:28 PM

    True, out of sheer exhaustion, I have taken naps in a compactor room where they kept all the confidential documents. I asked for permission from my friend who has the access to allow me to go in to sleep for 15 minutes. I’ve also taken catnap at some unused meeting rooms.

    Then I realised I was worn out from the stress and negativity and try to make conscious effort to lighten up.

    You are right, if the job has more distraction, it’s hard to feel sleepy. Mundane office paper work can really bore the daylights out of people.

  • Tom Parker // Mar 20, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    Great post Mun. One trick I used at my last job was to just go and get a glass of water when I felt tired. It might not sound like much but getting away from the computer, having a short walk to get the blood flowing and then rehydrating with a glass of cold water really helped perk me up and keep me going for those last 2 or 3 hours.


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