Wednesday, 6th September

The 3pm Slump and How To Avoid It

You rise and shine to a slice of freshly squeezed lemon in hot water. You practice your sun salutations and do a little stretching, then breakfast on a delicious green smoothie before cycling to the office. A handful of nuts and seeds keeps you going till lunchtime when you tuck into a healthy tuna salad. So why on earth do you feel the urge to raid the biscuit tin the second the clock reaches 2:59pm?

Man struggling to work

It’s the dreaded 3pm slump. And even the most virtuous of us is not immune to its wicked charms. Which is why you can’t resist reaching for a bar of chocolate for that fast sugar high, only to be rewarded with an energy crash half an hour later.

The reason is simple.

“Low energy levels are entirely down to your circadian rhythms and the way your body responds to what you’re eating.”

The good news is, it shows that your body clock and blood sugar levels are all working normally (levels of the stress hormone that makes you wind down and prepare for sleep drop naturally in the afternoon). The bad news is, your attention span and productivity levels will take a nose dive along with your energy reserves. Thankfully, we have a few tips to help.

Sleep more, slump less

The more tired you feel during the day, the more prone you’ll be the 3pm slump. The quick fix is to make sure you’re getting a good 8-hours of quality, rejuvenating sleep. So, reach for the Benenox at bedtime and you might not need to reach for those biccies at work!

Exercise for a natural high

Sugar releases dopamine, which is what produces that energy-boosting sugar rush. But the endorphins released when you exercise work in a similar way. Take a brisk walk to beat those sugary cravings and keep your energy levels nicely balanced.

Food for thought

What you eat has a huge impact on how you feel. Try to avoid empty carbs – those foods that are high in sugars and low in proteins. Things like white bread, cakes and pastries, sugar drinks. They’ll make your sugar levels spike initially, but they’ll plummet a few hours later, leading to a corresponding crash in energy.

Foods that are high in fats, such as red meat and fried foods, digest slowly. If you eat too many in one go, you’ll feel tired as your body will have to work harder to digest them.

The answer is to eat a balanced lunch with equal amounts of protein and carbs. Think chicken with brown rice. or turkey on a wholemeal roll. It will protect your blood sugar levels from exaggerated peaks and troughs – and your waistline will thank you too.

Keep hydrated

Don’t mistake dehydration for sugar cravings. Instead of reaching for that sugary can of pop, try drinking one or two glasses of water instead. It could be you were just thirsty after all.

The last word

Apparently, Wednesday is the day that most of us experience afternoon fatigue and it lasts for an average of 47 minutes. So, follow our handy tips and make sure ‘hump day’ doesn’t turn into ‘slump day’!


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