6 Natural Ways to Beat the Afternoon Slump

There’s nothing like afternoon fatigue to throw off a productive day. Despite getting plenty of rest and eating a healthy lunch, many of us simply run out of steam at 3 pm. If a trip to the vending machine is part of your daily routine, it’s time to find new, natural methods to stave off the afternoon slumps.

  1. Do yoga

Regular exercise can boost your energy long term, but doing yoga can be a great way to get a quick boost in the afternoon. Try doing a few basic poses in your office or at home. It can help get your blood flowing, stretch your body, and center your mind to start focusing again. “Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently,” says the Mayo Clinic. “And when your heart and lung health improve, you have more energy to tackle daily chores.” Downward dog, here we come!

2. Drink, drink, drink

Dehydration can be a huge fatigue factor. “It turns out that even moderate dehydration, which results in the loss of as little as three percent of your body weight, can make you feel mentally sluggish and mess with your concentration,” wrote contributor Eliana Osborn. Try sipping cold water all throughout the day. If that’s still not cutting it, you can eat hydrating fruit or make a natural energy drink.

Sometimes guzzling water all day can be a chore for our tastebuds. To switch it up, eat foods high in water. Some of these hydrating foods include melons, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, carrots, celery, and broccoli. Grocery store energy drinks are often full of sugar and chemicals, but you can make fatigue-fighting drinks at home. Taste-test a few different recipes to find what works best for you. You can’t go wrong with the perfect blend of fruits and natural sweeteners.

3. Snack smart

It seems healthy foods are always part of the golden ticket that helps us feel better. When you start to feel snoozy, eat snacks high in protein, fiber, and iron. These foods, combined with hydrating fruits and veggies, should do the trick.

Protein helps keep your blood pressure up. Some quick snacks could be a handful of nuts, lunch meat, or a protein bar low in sugar.

High fiber foods can stabilize your blood pressure and help you feel full. Go for a small cup of beans, an apple, or berries.

A lack of iron almost always results in fatigue, and spinach is one of the best sources of iron. If your body is prone to low iron, or even anemia, munch on a spinach salad or green smoothie to get some serious snooze-fighting power.

Prepping your snacks in the morning will help motivate you not to reach for sweet, fatigue-inducing sweets that offer only a temporary surge of energy.

4. Check your Magnesium

While it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough of all the essential vitamins your body needs through a daily multivitamin and overall well-balanced diet, there are a few vitamins you should pay close attention to when it comes to staying alert. Magnesium is one of them. It helps regulate your adrenal glands, which are directly related to how tired or awake you feel. If you just can’t beat the afternoon fatigue, try getting your magnesium levels checked. You can increase magnesium through supplements and by eating magnesium-rich foods like whole grains, seeds, nuts, and leafy vegetables.

5. Take a break

Sometimes we just need to break up the routine. If you can’t keep your eyes open, go for a walk, call a friend for a few minutes, check the news, listen to music, or plan the rest of your week. This change of pace can help your mind rest and help improve your attention span to whatever you were working on before.

6. Eat a mint

There’s nothing like a little mint to wake you up. Whether you pop a few mint candies after lunch, add some mint leaf to your salad, massage minty lotion on your hands, or rub a little peppermint oil on your temples or under your nose, mint is sure to keep you more alert and refreshed. “Such smells make us more vigilant, leading to greater energy,” says Pamela Dalton, Ph.D., MPH, a senior research scientist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia.

While staying awake in the afternoon is easier said than done, these natural tips should do the trick. If you’re still not able to fight the fatigue, despite getting a full night’s rest and having a well-balanced diet, then it might be time to talk to your doctor.