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How to avoid the 3pm slump and optimise your productivity at work

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The 3pm slump is a feeling which many of us know all too well. Feeling fatigued, craving energy-dense foods or even losing focus with reduced productivity as it gets closer to the end of the day? There are a few simple steps that can prevent this.

  1. Eat regular meals and snacks
    Eating regularly not only helps with appetite regulation, but also helps to maintain your energy levels and focus. By eating regularly and preventing a crash in energy levels, you are more likely to maintain productivity for longer. For many of us, this involves scheduling a regular afternoon snack between lunch and dinner to allow you to continue working efficiently until it’s time to go home.
  2. Include a source of protein and low GI carbohydrates with your meals
    In addition to eating regularly, ensuring your meals contain protein and slow-acting carbohydrates will keep your energy levels and focus in-check throughout the afternoon. Protein and fibre both play a key role in keeping you feeling full and satisfied. Low GI carbohydrates are processed slowly giving you a slow and sustained rise and fall in blood sugar and thus energy levels.
  3. Drink enough water
    Whilst commonly overlooked, adequate hydration is another key to managing both energy levels and focus. We recommend trying to spread this evenly throughout the day, such as aiming for a glass with each meal and/or snack, or keeping a drink bottle on your desk which you can sip on throughout the day.
  4. Be mindful of caffeine intake
    It’s no secret that caffeine can support your energy levels by preventing fatigue, however over-consumption can have a negative impact on energy, sleep and appetite. It is recommended to limit caffeine intake to less than 400mg/day and to aim for 8-10 hours between your last caffeinated beverage and going to sleep.
  5. Ensure you are getting enough sleep
    Poor sleep quality and/or quantity can leave you feeling fatigued from the time you wake up. This generally leads us to reach for energy-dense and caffeine-rich food and drinks to give us the readily accessible energy our body needs. While this can help in the moment, this often leads to a cycle of high energy levels followed by a crash, worsening the usual 3pm slump. If you’ve had a bad night’s sleep, following the above tips will help you to get through the day more easily without compromising the following night’s sleep too.
  6. Get some fresh air
    If you’ve been sitting at a desk all day with limited time for food, fluids, or a break, a walk outside may help you out of the 3pm slump. Not only is it a good opportunity to reset mentally, but it brings some physical activity into your day and gets your body moving.


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