stress

How to Beat The Mid-Day Energy Slump

woman meditating

Even when she sleeps well, Tiffany sometimes gets sluggish around 10 and 2 during the workday. She’s not alone. Many people get tired around these times as well. That’s because it’s usually been a few hours since breakfast or lunch and your blood sugar levels may be dropping. But before you head for the office vending machine, follow these steps to make sure something other than hunger isn’t causing that energy drop.

Step #1: Drink some water. Caffeine from your morning coffee can leave you dehydrated, and dehydration is often mistaken for hunger. Rather than grab a soda or another cup of coffee, drink a big glass of H20 and refill it throughout the day. Many of us forget to have water outside of meals. But your body needs water even if you’re working at a desk all day.

Step #2: Get up. If you’ve been sitting for an hour or more, stand up and walk around. Sitting in one place for an extended period of time makes many people tired. Just a short stroll outside or a few laps around your office floor can help get oxygen-rich blood to your body, reviving you from your slump. In fact, Tiffany found that getting up from her desk every hour keeps her from getting that sleepy feeling.

Step #3: Breathe In. Focus on taking deep breaths. When you get busy or stressed, you may take shorter breaths and the lack of oxygen can make you tired.

If none of those things help and you need a little snack, try eating a small amount of protein and some complex carbohydrates. The protein will boost alertness and the complex carbs will slowly raise blood sugar levels. Try a piece of string cheese and an apple, a few almonds and a pear, or a container of Greek yogurt with fresh berries. Keep these types of snacks handy so you won’t be tempted by the nearest candy bar.

Through her Des Moines-based nutrition company, SK Health Communications, registered dietitian Stephanie Karpinske writes and develops recipes for magazines, books, supermarkets and food companies. She is the author of Read Before Dieting: Your 4-Step Plan for Diet Success and writes a blog about healthy eating, foodnuti.com. She’s coaching the Lehman family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.