Have you ever catch yourself yawning after lunch, and desperately wanting a quick nap? You are not alone!
Feeling sleepy and drowsy after lunch, or more known as post-lunch dip, is actually a natural condition. However sometimes this can hinder your productivity. How if you fall asleep or yawning continuously during your after-lunch meeting?
No need to worry, you can prevent this from happening. But before we get to the tips for energy after lunch, let’s explore why you feel sleepy after lunch.
Your insulin level spikes
According to nutrition and fitness expert Luke Coutinho, when you eat more than what your body require, your insulin levels spike. The increased insulin level causes your body to produce sleep hormone and it travels to your brain where it gets processed into serotonin and melatonin—which is also a sleep hormone.
It’s actually time to rest
It is normal for humans to want to go to sleep about seven hours after they have awakened. The 24-hour cycle of the body or circadian rhythm is naturally in a resting phase during or after our lunch time. In the afternoon, it happens to coincide with homeostatic—that measures the amount of time spent awake and that is also pushing for a rest.
Lack of exercise
You might’ve been thinking that the less you move, the more energy you can store for other activities. But your body doesn’t work that way. Humans need to keep moving with regular exercise in order to maintain a good energy level throughout the day, thus reducing feeling drowsy. Improving your physical state provides longer-lasting energy and allows for a good night’s sleep.
Part of experiencing sleepiness after eating is related to the amount and quality of sleep you get each night. When you feel full after lunch, your body becomes more relaxed and physically begins to unwind. This can be avoided by maintaining a regular sleep pattern.
Having sleepiness or drowsiness after meal may be caused by a food allergy or intolerance to a particular type of food. This is usually the case if you have drowsiness along with irregular bowel movements like diarrhea or constipation along with bloating and gas.
Health condition troubles
If you feel that you always feel sleepy after meal, it might indicate an underlying health issue such as anemia, sleep apnea, celiac diseases, or thyroid issues. Do not wait for long to discuss this problem with your doctor.
You can fight the post-lunch energy dip and power through the afternoon by doing these things:
Eat smaller portions
Large meals require longer time and energy for your body to digest, and gives you that uncomfortable feeling. Use smaller containers when you bring lunch from home, and if you dine out it is better to ask for half portion of the meal. In addition, avoid processed and starch-filled foods and enjoy complete carbohydrates and high-protein foods for your lunch.
Don’t skip lunch
Just because food is one of the culprits behind the sleepiness, it does not mean that you have to skip lunch. You should never go more than four or five hours without eating. So, aside from having fewer portion of lunch, keep healthy snacks ready on your table.
Get some exercise during lunch hour
Drowsiness post lunch may be due to lack of exercise. Physical activity on lunch hour improves blood flow, providing oxygen and nutrients to muscle tissue and naturally increasing energy. You don’t have to spare your lunch time for running on treadmill or go to a 30-minute spin class; you can just simply take the stairs instead of elevator, walk around your building, and stretch. University of Toronto researchers found that not taking break during lunch can increase fatigue and decrease productivity.
Have you ever heard that chewing gum can increase your focus and concentration levels? A study at St. Lawrence University found that students who chewed gum right before—but not during—a test performed better than those who did not chew gum, especially on portions that tested memory and recall. Five to ten minutes of chewing is enough.
Play your favorite music
Listening to your favorite music while you work can actually increase your productivity. Make sure that the music is motivating and boosting your energy, not the kind you listen at spa or meditation center (that will make you feel relaxed). However you need to check your company’s music policy before hitting play button.
Get enough sleep
When you feel sleepy after lunch, maybe it’s because you only got a few hours of sleep the night before. Adult people need an average of seven to eight hours of sleep per night to function properly.