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Tuesday, 10 June 2014

How to Avoid Feeling Sleepy After Lunch

by lifehackery

After having a fantastic lunch, you head back to your office and resume your work. A few minutes later, your eyelids begin to droop and you yawn like a hippo. It’s a classic case of post-lunch sleepiness or drowsiness, also known as afternoon slump or afternoon apathy syndrome. During this time, your body shifts its attention from your work to digesting your lunch, which makes you lose your focus and commit mistakes. This phenomenon is natural, but you can do a lot of things to reduce its effects. The following tips should make you feel less sleepy when afternoon arrives.
1. Heavy lunch = heavy drowsiness: Instead of eating a heavy lunch that your body will have to break down more aggressively, start with a heavy breakfast, and then split your lunch into two light meals. This will reduce the focus of your body on digestion and keep you attentive to your work. Your lunch should contain protein and dietary fiber from foods such as poultry, lean meat, tuna, seafoods, nuts, and beans.
2. Exercise: Not enough oxygen circulates through your system when you’re unfit. Daily exercise makes your body more active, which reduces the effects of after-lunch sleepiness. If you don’t have time to exercise in the morning, try to walk as much as you can going to work, or take the stairs instead of the elevator.
3. Start with strenuous activities in the morning: Since post-lunch sleepiness strikes in the afternoon, plan your work such that you will do strenuous activities in the morning, and easier activities in the afternoon. Schedule presentations, meetings, and other important activities before lunch, and easier tasks like sorting papers and sending e-mails afterwards. This way, you’ll accomplish everything without compromising your work.
4. Brighten up your office space: Your workspace greatly contributes to your afternoon drowsiness. Bare or unorganized cubicles encourage boredom and remind you of the monotony of your job. Brighten up your workspace with pictures of your friends or family, flowers, or anything that may provide you with visual satisfaction. Full-spectrum fluorescent tubes are also better than white fluorescent tubes because they simulate sunlight and stimulate livelier response from people.
5. Take a nap: Drowsiness means your body is telling you to sleep. What better way to get rid of your sleepiness than to actually take a short one? A short nap during the day will freshen you up and increase your productivity — that’s why some even call it a “power nap.” In order for a nap to work effectively, however, your head must rest on something, like a back of a chair or a desk.
6. Meditate for five minutes: Scientists believe that meditation rejuvenates the body. When the afternoon slump strikes, quit forcing yourself to do your tasks and just meditate for five minutes. Meditation doesn’t merely consist of closing your eyes and bowing your head, since these activities will just lull you to sleep more. Meditation means relaxing yourself and doing some breathing exercises to circulate fresh air into your system. Listen to positive, motivating music to help you get back to work with more enthusiasm.
7. Get up and take a walk: It’s extremely hard to do anything even remotely physically demanding when sleepiness sets in, but you have to will yourself to get up from your chair and wake up. Take a break and walk around the office or outside for a couple of minutes. Running up and down the stairs for two minutes also boosts your blood circulation, helping you to breath easier.
8. Wash your face: Your body needs outside stimulus to keep its focus during the post-lunch slump. When your face starts to feel numb because of drowsiness, go to the restroom and splash water on your face. Brush your hair, massage your face, or reapply makeup if you want. Once you see yourself looking better, you’ll also feel better, and it’s easier to get back to work.
9. Find something funny: If you’re using a computer, a quick search for a short funny article or a picture online can quickly snap you out of your sleepiness. On the other hand, if your job doesn’t involve computers, you may want to tell your coworker a joke or ask him for a joke to solicit laughter. Humor gets rid of drowsiness like magic.
10. Chat with others: Oftentimes, feeling sleepy is also a consequence of being alone in a cubicle for a long time. To counter it, you must try to see other people and chat with them. As long as your conversation is work-related, your boss won’t see any harm in it.
11. Develop a sleep routine: Cutting down on your sleep to complete your tasks will lead to sleep deprivation. The effects of sleep deprivation have been compared to being intoxicated, including committing mistakes and acting irrationally. Catching up on your sleep during weekends also doesn’t work. Instead, develop a sleep routine by going to bed and waking up around the same time each day.
12. Coffee: Coffee’s effect on sleep is debatable. For some people, coffee helps them get rid of their drowsiness and stay awake for an extended amount of time. Others though feel that coffee dehydrates them or disrupts their sleep at night, contributing to the cycle of sleep deprivation. Be sure that your body reacts favorably to coffee, so that your post-lunch sleepiness problem will not get worse.
13. Coffee substitutes: Instead of grabbing a bite of sugary snacks during the afternoon when feeling drowsy, try these other options:
  • Baked potato: Baked potato gives your blood sugar a quick boost for an energy surge. Make sure that the cream is low-fat to keep it healthy. Eat spicy baked potatoes to help knock the sleep out of you.
  • A glass of water: Fatigue is sometimes caused by dehydration, which is often exacerbated by drinking too much coffee. Instead of coffee, drink a fresh glass of water to give your body plenty of liquids for the rest of the day. Juicy fruits like watermelon can also rehydrate and fill you up with essential vitamins and fibers.
  • Dried dates: Dates are traditionally used in the Sahara as energy meals for camels. They can boost your energy level, and they’re rich with minerals too, including potassium. Eat a bunch of dried dates during the post-lunch slump to bring some life back into your body.
Most of these techniques are just temporary solutions to afternoon drowsiness. Nothing beats regular exercise and a balanced, nutritious diet in keeping your body healthy and lively. If you treat your body properly, it will work like a well-oiled machine whether day, night, or afternoon.

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