Here’s the thing about wanting to take a nap in the early afternoon: It’s completely natural. Your energy level dips right around seven hours after you wake up, causing you to crave some shuteye. On top of that, there are things that make an afternoon slump worse, like eating a carb-heavy lunch or sitting still for too long at your desk.
That said, most people can’t settle in for an afternoon nap every day. That’s when you need a quick way to boost your energy. Here are some simple strategies that do just that.
- Have an energizing snack. Food, after all, is energy, so it makes sense that eating something will help you feel more alert. But don’t reach for something in the vending machine. Go for some healthy, complex carbohydrates mixed with protein—that way the food will be digested quickly (giving you instant energy) but will also give you a boost until around until dinner. A few options: whole-grain cereal with milk, raw veggies (think carrots and celery sticks) and cheese cubes, or an apple with peanut butter.
- Skip the latte. You might be tempted to get some coffee, but caffeine this late in the day can impact your night’s sleep. Go for green tea instead—it has less caffeine and is packed with antioxidants.
- Fill up your water bottle. Being dehydrated can make you feel more sluggish than normal, so keep a large jug at your desk. Guzzle a few cups in the morning, refill the bottle at lunchtime, and then sip on a few cups in the afternoon.
- Go for a quick walk outside. This does two important things: It gets your heart rate up, which gives you energy, and exposes you to sunlight, which can help you feel more alert.
- Try a quick fix. When all else fails, do some things that you typically do in the morning like washing your face, brushing your teeth, or changing your shirt. You can even try to smell something energizing, like citrus, peppermint, rosemary, or eucalyptus.