4 Amusing Tricks for Slaying the Afternoon Energy Slump

It’s not always easy to beat the mid-day, mid-week slump.

Posted Sep 22, 2015

Our bodies are amazing machines that follow somewhat predictable cycles of sleeping and waking. Our circadian rhythms generally follow nature, which is what often makes the transition from first shift to third shift work schedules so difficult. We naturally feel driven to get shut-eye at night when it would be harder to hunt prey or avoid hazards in the field. Daylight actually sets off a chemical reaction that encourages us to wake up and get moving. In fact, sunlight is at the heart of one of the 4 tricks for beating that mid-shift slump that drives us to seek out caffeine or Snickers bars, two items that actually will drag us down rather than effectively propping us up. Here are some fun ideas that were promoted by the American Chemical Society (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvEQBURrPow).

  1. Drink water, not caffeine-laden beverages to re-energize and clear the mind. Coffee and other caffeinated drinks may provide you with a caffeine jolt, but the lasting effect of the caffeine or the jitters may ruin your plans to get a good night’s sleep later one! A tall glass of water can help get the brain active again and help you avoid dehydration. Try a glass or two of water first thing in the morning to rehydrate after a night of sleep and at the onset of the afternoon slump and see what happens. Hydration is always a good thing for the body and the mind and it might just keep you from downing those extra calories in soda, chocolate, or imitation sweeteners or flavored creamers that will leave you feeling worse than you might if you cleanse the brain and the body with plain and simple water.
  2. Find an amusing kitten or puppy video to watch when you find yourself dozing off or fading out at work. Oddly enough, according to the American Chemical Society has found that watching these silly, feel-good videos can positively affect your level of focus. This has to do with the hormones that are triggered by these videos for most people. When we watch cute animals, we release oxytocin (the feel good, love, and bonding hormone) and cortisol (the feel bad, stress hormone) production goes down! When we feel good, we can actually focus more effectively. Find a pleasant distraction.
  3. Dance, dance, dance! When we move around, it gets our hearts pumping and our blood moving – and that’s exactly what we need when we hit that “metaphorical slump,” that also causes an actual “slump.” When you’ve been sitting too long at your desk, you may begin to feel aches and pains and stiffness in your back and neck. That’s a sign that you need to work out those muscles and flex those joints. Add some music – another happy hormone-inducing tonic – and you have a quick fix for office slump.
  4. The final suggestion was to get outside and experience some sunlight – it’s been found that bright light triggers our brain to produce hypocretins – the stay-alert chemical that can keep us alert and awake. Go stand in a doorway and bask in the sunshine; if there’s a literal cloud in your world, turn on a bright light and let the brain get a charge from that.

When we have to stay alert to finish a job, it is helpful to have a few different tricks up your sleeve to beat the fatigue that comes from sitting at a desk all day. Relying on coffee or soda can leave you lying awake at night unable to calm down and drift off. Try these easy and natural remedies next time you hit that afternoon fatigue point in your day and see what happens.