How to Avoid Feeling Sleepy after Lunch
If everyday you struggle to get any work done after lunch because the carpet beneath your desk looks so comfortable that you want nothing more than to curl up and fall asleep on it, then you suffer from food comas. Truth is, however, feeling drowsy after a meal is completely natural and known as the “post-lunch dip”.
The urge to go to sleep about seven hours after you’ve risen from the depths of your duvet is completely normal. But the modern workplace doesn’t quite subscribe to this phenomenon, demanding continued exertion even when your eyelids are struggling to stay apart. In an effort to help you stave off the post-lunch dip, we look at some of the ways you can avoid feeling sleepy after you have a meal.
Eat a healthy breakfast
While many people claim not to have time to eat breakfast, it’s important that you never skip this meal. As the first meal of the day, it sets the energy standards for the rest of the day and can make or break your worth habits. Give your body a sustained energy boost by chowing down on wholegrain breads and cereals, fruits and yoghurt. Not only will you feel less tempted to eat unhealthy foods later in the day, but it will also help fight off the drowsiness that you experience after lunch. Some studies even go so far as to suggest that regular consumption of cereal reduces coritosal, a hormone known to cause stress, which is just another reason not to miss out on a bowl full of breakfast.
Watch what you eat at lunch
What you consumer at lunchtime can play a big role in the resulting sleepiness you feel afterwards. Avoid fast food as it’s packed full of sugars, fats, salts, flavour enhancers and preservatives – all of which may taste great, but are nothing more than an unhealthy fuel for your body. Also avoid sugar and flour, as you will experience more of an energy slump than anything else. Doctors recommend avoiding pastries, pasta, pizza and other baked goods, as they will bring on drowsiness and leave you feeling flat.
Eat high-protein food for lunch
When you eat low-carb, high-protein foods at lunch, you will feel more awake and lower any drowsiness that comes from an influx of insulin as a result of a carb-rich lunch. The increase in insulin stimulates higher serotonin levels, which is associated with sleepiness. It’s important that you combat the post-lunch dip with low-carb vegetables such as sprouts, lettuce, bok choy, mushrooms, avocado, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, tomatoes, carrots, pumpkin, and others, while also including beans, nuts, soy and whole grains for a sustainable energy boost.
After lunch, stay away from the caffeine
Contrary to popular belief, caffeine can be a contributing factor to your after lunch sleepiness. This is because of its tendency to have less and less impact over time, requiring you to up the dosage just to feel the same effect. While upping your caffeine intake is already a rather unhealthy thing to do, having too much caffeine in a day will also see you crash after it wears off. Get through the afternoon by drinking water so that you remain well hydrated throughout the day. The added bonus, is that this will give you a reason to stroll to the water cooler every so often – which will also help to fight post-lunch drowsiness.
While your day job may not allow for you to get out after lunch and do some light exercise, there are ways around this. If you can’t take a walk around the block, regularly take trips to the water cooler or visit your co-workers desks with your queries rather than sending an email. Invest in a standing desk to keep you from being sedentary throughout the day and, instead, leave you more alert and capable of focusing on the tasks at hand. However you choose to incorporate light exercise after lunch, you will be able to get your blood flowing and fight fatigue.
Robyn Porteous is a writer adept at turning caffeine into content. She writes freelance for Varidesk, a standing desk solution that sits on top of your existing desk and allows you to switch from sitting to standing in 3 seconds. More of her writing can be found on her Google+ page.