As a software trainer, I know one thing for sure. People have a hard time staying awake after lunch. In many of my after lunch sessions I see people nodding off right and left.
There are numerous reasons why this happens, but if you want to be productive in the afternoon the are are four easy steps you can take to change a sleepy and unproductive time into a supercharged productivity session.
The following four steps can really help.
1. Low Glycemic Lunch. One of the main reasons we fall asleep after lunch is that our blood sugar spikes and then drops after a High Glycemic meal. For me this usually hits about 1:30 or 2 o’clock after I’ve eaten a good sized lunch. Choosing what you eat for lunch can go a long way to helping you have a productive afternoon. By referencing the Glycemic Food Index you can modify your lunch to have less of an impact on the rest of your day.
- Sandwiches: Remove half the bread from your sandwich or burger and eat it open faced. This will usually remove about 1/3 of the calories and also remove half of the highest glycemic part of the meal.
- Salads: Remove any croutons and have a dressing that is low in sugar such as Ranch. Small changes here can really make a difference.
- Skip the Dessert: By waving off desert, you’ll not only save yourself a ton of calories, but you’ll have a clearer head and be more alert.
2. Take a Nap. Researchers have found that a 10 to 15 minute nap after lunch can really help supercharge your afternoon. The secret is to limit it to no more than 15 minutes (set a timer if necessary) and also to find a place to rest where you won’t be disturbed. If you work at home, this is relatively easy to do. If you drive to work, taking a short nap in your car can give you privacy. If you are lucky enough to have an office, closing the door for a short snooze can work. Other places, you might have to get a little more creative. To see all the positive effects a nap can have check out this informative article here.
3. Take a Walk. After your short nap a five or ten minute walk will offset any nap grogginess and have you ready to go for the afternoon. Doing some stretching and some jumping jacks can help too.
4. Have a Stimulating Beverage. Enjoying a little caffeine in the afternoon can be a boost to your productivity. I’ve found that having a green tea or one of the cool refreshers from Starbucks in the afternoon, helps me be alert without the mind jumpiness I get from strong coffee. You might experiment with different solutions and record how you feel in a journal or notebook.
Overall: With a little experimentation you can fine tune your lunchtime routine into one that energizes you, instead of causing your head to crash into your keyboard. When I’m able to combine 3 or 4 of these strategies together, I feel much more alert which usually results in a much more productive day! Choose to have a Supercharged Afternoon!
Question: What strategies have you used to stay awake in the afternoon?