Your last sip of coffee was hours ago, and now your eyelids are drooping. Before you reach for the chocolate or head for the vending machines, wake up! There are better ways to prevent afternoon exhaustion than a sugary treat you’ll quickly regret that you had. While most of us can’t pause for a nap, here are a few tips anyone can do to keep from feeling like a zombie until dinnertime.
Put a plant in your office
Just a little dose of green can help wake up your brain. US researchers found that volunteers who kept a vase of vibrant flowers on their desks, along with green plants in other areas of the office, generated more creative ideas than those who worked in a vegetation-free setting.
Don’t OD on caffeine
Instead of guzzling a vat of coffee on the way to work, rely on much smaller servings of caffeine throughout the day. “When you quickly drink a large coffee, the caffeine peaks in your bloodstream much sooner than if you spread it out over time,” says psychologist Dr Harris Lieberman. And yes, the same goes for soft drink. “There is about as much caffeine in one can of Diet Coke as there is in a shot of espresso,” says nutrition expert Dr David Clayton.
Take a lunchtime walk
Sunshine helps you wake up in the morning; likewise, a dose of natural light later in the day can blunt an energy dip. Step outside for a short walk around noon, before you feel sluggish - the combination of sunlight and heart-pumping exercise can’t be beat. If you can’t get outdoors, sitting next to a window and looking out is the next-best thing.
Avoid fat, sugar, and grease
Your brain uses glucose as fuel, so when your blood sugar takes drops, your mental abilities can plummet as well. To keep this from happening, steer clear of refined carbs that send sugar levels haywire, as well as fatty foods, which will weigh you down. Instead, make sure each meal contains a balance of whole grains, monounsaturated fats, and fruits and vegetables. And if you think you can’t possibly make it through the afternoon without snacktime, opt for a banana with a tablespoon of peanut butter for a dose of the energy-boosting minerals potassium and magnesium.
Drink more water
“Half of the people who come to me complaining of fatigue are actually dehydrated,” says internal medicine specialist Dr Woodson Merrell. Staying hydrated is one of the simplest ways to keep energised and focused. Aim to refill your glass every hour or two.
First published: 7 Aug 2019