Afternoons are usually best spent on a relaxing break, especially after having a satisfying meal. There are many who may be familiar with this situation: experiencing very low energy after lunch. Most of the time, you might get sleepy and can’t focus on your work.
What causes this sensation? How can you boost your afternoon energy even under this condition?
Very Low Energy After Lunch!! What Are The Causes?
The first thing to know is that there are different factors attributed to this phenomenon. One cause is triggered by a certain chain reaction in the brain. This lets the body go to a rest and digest process. Instead of using the energy for your work, the brain redirects it and the blood flow to digesting as well as integrating the food for use in the body. That’s why you have very low energy after lunch. Your body breaks down the nutrients from food during digestion which causes a rise in blood sugar that eventually leads to drowsiness.
Also, the human body has a regular rhythm where individuals would usually feel sleepy between 2 and 3pm. Even in some cultural practices (siesta), this natural phenomenon seems to be observed. In terms of siesta, people believe that they can work better and be more productive once they take the time off after lunch.
Even with these factors, having low energy and feeling sleepy in the afternoon cannot be solely attributed to the functions of the body. Your diet and eating habits can also cause fatigue.
What food causes low energy after lunch?
There are a number of food items that can increase the chances of you feeling sleepy in the afternoon. Start with answering these simple questions to guide your understanding:
- Did I eat breakfast?
- What food did I eat for breakfast?
- What did I eat for lunch?
These three questions can help you identify the cause of your very low energy after lunch. This is because certain types of food can drain your system and make it go into overdrive.
In general, food that are longer to digest produces a slow and steady flow of energy.
On the other hand, food that breaks down easily goes to your body and is ready to burn. This causes that sudden spike of energy that eventually crushes. This quick change makes you sleepy.
Here are the three main components of food that can give you a very low energy after lunch.
For instance, a cup of coffee in the morning can give you a quick jolt of caffeine and sugar but not for long. It is not the kind of energy that you would need to keep going.
Caffeine is the culprit here. Even though espresso is known to boost your energy, it is only a quick fix. In recent studies, longer-term effects of high-caffeine drinks can include cardiac problems, headaches, and even death.
2. High glycemic load
Food included here are white rice, white bread, mashed white potatoes, candy, juice, and cookies. Some individuals choose to take these food items to give a quick energy boost, however, the end result would not lead to more productivity. These carbohydrates increase blood sugar levels fast which then results to the release of insulin that also leads to blood sugar crash and eventually depletes energy levels.
3. High fat foods
High fat content in food is another cause for the after-meal drowsiness. This type includes oily snack like corn chips or cheese curls; then there are fried food and meats with high fat content.
Having very low energy after lunch is not merely because of your body functions, but also due to the food that you include in your diet.
Aside from this, another final factor is the amount of food that you eat. Overeating can put a lot of stress to your system which can drain your energy.
There are other health components that should be checked to fight low energy after lunch. It is important to check with a medical professional so that you can have a proper diagnosis.
Conditions such as diabetes, celiac disease, obesity, food intolerance, anemia, sleep apnea, and underactive thyroid can add to having very low energy after lunch because these increase your post-meal drowsiness.
Steps To Boost Energy
If you already ate the food mentioned earlier, there are still steps to work your way against afternoon slump.
First, get moving
You may opt to take a brisk walk or use the stairs in the office to get your blood pumping. Through this action, you are distracting your mind from the temptation of taking a nap. This can also serve as a warm-up to bring back your energy, and be productive for the rest of the day. Very low energy after lunch should not keep you down. Instead, trying to find steps to go back on track would be a better choice.
Second, drink plenty of water
Getting enough glasses of cold water, either bottled or tap, can help you feel more refreshed. The benefits of keeping yourself hydrated can bring a great result in the long run.
Lastly, you can consider bringing healthy snacks for your in-between meals throughout the day
Make sure that these are food items that can keep your energy steady. You can try to prepare fresh fruits, whole wheat crackers, or a mix of nuts to be your sources of energy. However, remember to eat in small portions, and do not overeat.
Final thoughts on afternoon slump
To completely get away from getting very low energy after lunch, try to have some changes in your lifestyle. For once, you can add in more exercise in your daily routine. Finally, choose to eat pork, poultry, and fish that are sources of lean proteins. Also, add along a healthy portion of fats from seeds, tofu, avocados, soy, nuts, and olives. The nutrients and fiber that you will get from these food items are a good combination in having a slower digestion, and it will also reduce the spikes of your blood sugar. This final lifestyle change can keep your energy levels stable.
All of these are the actions necessary to help you go back on the track of productivity. Feeling low on energy and being sleepy aren’t simply due to natural factors, but also because of your lifestyle.