by PSU Editor 0 comments
It’s early morning and you’re feeling pumped, firing on all cylinders, getting through the to-do list, answered all your emails and you’ve even churned out a report. Then, shortly after lunch, you slump. Why?
The afternoon slump is your body responding to two things
- the natural circadian rhythm — that internal clock that tells us when it’s time to wake up and when it’s time to go to bed
- the highs and lows in blood sugar levels determined by what you eat.
Paradigm Switch nutritionist, Christine Blanchard shares the following:
“Each organ has a particular time of the day when it has its peak of performance. For example, the stomach is 7-9 am – the time when ideally we have breakfast. 1-3 am is liver time which can pinpoint detoxification issues if people wake at this hour.
Between 1-3 pm energy moves to the small intestine and we go from the speedy Yang energy to the slower Yin phase, allowing the body to absorb nutrients. For about an hour after we eat, our blood rushes towards our digestion, away from our brain and muscles, making us feel tired and unfocussed.
This is why ideally all the hard work should be done in the first half of the day, leaving easier or fun tasks for the afternoon. If you can structure your day like this, you’ll be more in tune with your body’s natural rhythms.”
Recent studies suggest the sugar and other carbs in food directly affect a specific group of brain cells that play a key role in keeping us awake. Those cells located deep inside the brain turn off when they sense a large amount of sugar in the blood, leaving us feeling sleepy.
Unfortunately, the demands of modern life require you to be on the ball all through the day. So here are a few simple ways you can trick your body into staying alert and avert the mid-afternoon crash.
Avoid eating too many empty carbs and fatty foods.Fats are slow to digest, so we become tired as our bodies work harder to process them, while carbs often create a ‘spike’ in energy making us plummet a few hours later, when we experience a “crash” in energy levels. “A lunch of protein and vegetables or salad and some healthy fats is preferable, if we are to minimize the afternoon slump,” adds Christine. Choose nuts over fries!
Take a brisk walk.
Try this instead of reaching for another coffee. A little bit of exercise is often all it takes to encourage blood flow, boost creative thought, help the brain think more clearly and increase energy levels again.
A couple hours of bright light early in the morning helps set our circadian rhythm for the day, which increases our alertness, performance and even helps to regulate weight.
Tags: afternoonslump, alert, diet, energy, focus, health, lifestyle, nutrition, recharge, revive