Beating the 2 o’clock slump

Dennis Wong, YOR Health
3 min readAug 10, 2017

We’ve all experienced the dreaded “2 O’clock Slump”. The 2 O’clock Slump is the nickname given to that period just after lunch when many of us simply lose energy and drive. We lead fast-paced lives, getting up early and perhaps not eating the right foods (or eating too much at the wrong times of the day). Before you know it, everything you’ve accomplished during the day comes to a grinding halt. What can you do about this slump?

What is the 2 O’clock Slump?

Sometimes called the 2:30 Feeling, the Afternoon Slump, the Afternoon Food Coma, and other humorous names, the science behind the midday loss of energy is a combination of several factors. The first is the human body’s natural sleep cycle. Because many of us get up early for work and probably stay up too late the night before, our natural cycle is letting our bodies know that rest is needed. Melatonin is the chemical signal that tells the body it is time to sleep. When this chemical is released, we suddenly feel sleepy.

Some cultures in Europe and Asia build in a short nap time to the workday to account for this natural loss of energy; forward-thinking companies in the United States may even offer nap rooms or “nap pods” for their employees.

The next major factor influencing the afternoon slump is our diets. Let’s face it: few of us eat the foods we are supposed to, especially at work. Lunches high in carbohydrates are a serious contributor to afternoon sleepiness at work — scientists even have a name for the phenomenon: post-lunch hypoglycemia. As a pick-me-up, many workers resort to sweets and caffeine, but these simply delay the inevitable, and may even make the sleepy sensations worse.

What’s going on? Simply, we have trained our bodies to use carbs for energy rather than fats. Every time we stuff our faces with cookies or cake to give ourselves a touch of artificial energy, we’re reinforcing this negative training. Next time, rather than reaching for the bag of candy hidden in your desk, a snack of avocado, nuts, or other foods rich in “good fats” can help you maintain adequate energy levels throughout the day.

Essential Oils to the Rescue

Short of taking a nap at your desk, the proper diet can help eliminate energy dips during the workday. Another great resource to combat the 2 O’clock Slump is essential oils, distilled from natural plants and providing the stimulation we need to finish out the day strong.

Citrus and mint essential oils are the key to unlocking the power of this natural remedy. Citrus scents like lemon and grapefruit are energizing, while cool mint and eucalyptus provide a mental and physical recharge to our senses. Essential oils can be used topically or diffused in an aromatherapy diffuser to fill the office with positive energy and vitality (your coworkers will thank you!). Topical users should apply essential oils sparingly. Remember that a little goes a long way. Before you know it, you’ll be back to your productive, energetic self, and the afternoon slump will be a thing of the past.

Bare living is the YOR Health way.

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Dennis Wong, YOR Health

Hello, I am the CEO of the progressive health company YOR Health, and here are my stories.