How can you avoid a post-lunch afternoon slump?

In our office we always find that as soon as we've eaten at lunchtime we feel sleepy. How can you avoid the afternoon slump?
Asked by Judy-J

14 answers

Top answer
Hi Judy (and colleagues)
Gosh, I remember that feeling when I was an office worker. Would've paid good money to slide under the desk for a nap.
Since you haven't said what it is you eat i can only reply from experience and some knowledge. Mostly it happens due to a high carb intake at lunch which initially spikes your sugar levels, causing insulin release, which then dips and leaves you perhaps craving sugar/sweets/chocs/cake ... (I could go on :-))) and feeling tired.
Carbs are everything that isn't protein and fat. So think bread as in sandwiches, pasta, crisps etc.
Solution eat good quality fish, meat protein with salad for lunch and these will provide sustained energy to see you through till 4pm when you should all have some nuts/seeds to keep levels high until your supper some hours later.
Obviously blood typing and food sensitivities will vary with people so this is a generic advice.
Fresh air, moving about with some exercise, deep breathing should also help allay feelings of fatigue.
Hope that helps.
Google blood type diet, Paleo diet, Specific Carbohydrate Diet etc for more information.
Search Treatwell for Nutritional Advice & Treatments near you
In addition to the great nutritional advice given already I would emphasis that getting some exercise and fresh air can really help.
This could be simply taking a seat outside to focus on your breathing for a few minutes. Take a deep breath in and follow with a long exhalation. Try this a few times and follow with a brisk walk, it doesn't need to be far - just enough to boost your circulation.
........and a little late but funnily was just getting this related blog over - see my post here at
Also lots more on this very subject in my book The De-Stress Diet - see link below.
Charlotte x
Hi Judy,
The answer as some have pointed out is to avoid sugar spikes resulting from carbohydrate intake though particularly from anything processed.
My advice is to forget snacking, it's a modern habit totally unnecessary if you get the correct start. That is get up half hour earlier if needed, get the frying pan out..slap in some ghee, coconut oil, butter or any animal fat you have around, though not vegetable or sunflower oil. Now get carried away with a full English, though not the traditional as there are things in there that are particularly bad, namely hash browns, baked beans, toast, fried bread, bread. However the following are fine:
Eggs (free range)
Sausage (gluten free)
Garlic, chilies, ginger to taste
Start the day like this and your body inc. brain will function as designed plus there will be no hunger pangs or falling asleep half way through.
Good Luck!!
Mike - Paleo Works
A bit of ginseng (korean) before the meal which shouldn't be heavy.. or come down for few minutes, close the eyes and wait good news ;), for now ..later find somebody who will balance your body according to your constitution (may there is a question if you're tired from excess or deficiency etc.)
I agree a lot of people live on carb-rich lunches because they are quick and portable (bread, crisps, crackers, biscuits, chocolate bars etc), but anything with a high carb count will spike your blood sugar and then send it shooting back down again later.
Many people also try to pep themselves up with caffeine, but caffeine actually further lower the blood sugar, unbeknownst to most.
I would say lay off the carbs and caffeine and eat protein rich food (fish, chicken) instead. Water can also help a lot - dehydration makes us feel sluggish too.
Take a mid-afternoon break, and, if you can, get active. A brisk walk around the block is great to get the blood circulating again. Moving your body will certainly help you feel more energised if you've been sitting down for a lot of the day.
I would suggest having a healthy breakfast and lunch. Avoiding things like sugar and wheat will be beneficial. I used to find myself getting sleepy after lunch when I ate wheat. Most people, if not all are intolerant to wheat (in varying degrees). For more information read my blog posts on my website.
I'm going to add a slightly different angle.
My philosophy is that the way society is currently structured is detrimental to our well-being. Not just the obvious things like working patterns, commuting, low pay and childcare issues causing high level of stress & anxiety, but also more basic physiological matters: we aren't designed to walk on concrete, and spend 8 hours a day sitting at desks and staring at monitors - such things are not good for the human body.
The afternoon slump is part of the NORMAL functioning of the human body. We all have inherent body rhythms, and fighting against these is one cause of persistent low levels of energy and ultimately dis-ease.
This slump becomes more noticeable in hot weather - which is why people in many countries take afternoon siestas. But the fundamental need for an afternoon rest is still present for us Northerners. Of course it varies from person to person: our rhythms are not identical, and some people peak in the morning, others in the evening.
So rather than fighting the fatigue, my recommendation is to take a power nap. Just a 15 minute snooze is enough to allow the body to rebalance.
Of course, 15 minutes won't be enough if you're full of carbs & sugars. As others have said, protein & salads are a good choice - though you'll probably need some carbs in winter.
Give your body what it *needs* - and don't fight it!
I agree with all the great advice already given. But don;t forget the most important meal of all. Breakfast. Try to make time for it in the morning,it's so worth it. Go for slow release complex carbs, that will keep you going till lunch, and maybe some fruit and nuts mid morning. Do this and your hunger won't get the better of you later in the morning, when your most likely to grab the quick fix, and finish up slumping in the afternoon.
As already suggested try chicken ,fish, fruit, veg sticks, or veg and fruit juices. if you most have some form of bread at this time of day make it wholemeal pitta, nice slow release for energy to take you through to supper, but only small amounts
Part of an afternoon slump is due to a shift in blood sugar levels as many of us digest carbohydrate rich lunches - sandwiches, noodles, rice, pasta salads. In this warmer weather, we all want a siesta too; which is quite normal. In the mediterranean, rather than fight this natural shift in our waking/sleep cycle; they take a nap. However, in the UK we rarely have that luxury and try to push through it reaching for a coffee or sugary snack instead.
Though it is remedied by changing lunch to good sources of protein e.g. eggs, fish, white meats or even tofu; with moderate amounts of carbohydrate. Change your environment, get out of the office into the open air and natural daylight; which stimulates the pineal gland and delays the release of melatonin. Take a few deep breaths, reoxygenate the body and go for a short walk. Remember to hydrate, especially in the warm weather.
I know these suggestions echo those already shared and are fairly general. However, without knowing specifics of your diet it is difficult to make a more specific assessment. For further guidance call me on 07751485204.
I can't add much to excellent advice already given. There are lymphatic points round the shoulders which can also help if you give them a rub, but moving around and doing a bit of cross crawl exercise also helps...
Taking a beverage or a supplement with caffeine is the easy way. However, listening to one track of your favorite upbeat get going music on an iPod etc can stimulate the mind to be task ready after lunch.


Great advice, just put on some music and it definitely helped!
drink plenty of alkaline water !! see my homepage
If you are a office with 10 + people i can provide you with an ionizer free of charge for one month. basically the ionized water is a powerful anti-oxidant which fights the toxins in your body, with the result to have more energy and you need less sleep during the night. Try it out, it helped me to get rid of my acidosis high level and joint pain etc.
call me on 07894666330 if you have any questions
Thank you
hi Judy
I totally agree with Helena, that's exactly what I would say too!
My site is all about low-carb living so definitely worth checking out - I have meal plans giving you ideas from waking to sleeping so that obviously includes lunches, and snacks. Its called the Joyful Eating Club
Good luck with more lively afternoons! Get some music playing too if you can, it shifts the energy - I love Hairbrush Divas for some sing along fun!
with love to you all