I don't know about you guys, but I hit a wall every day at work anywhere between 1pm and 3pm. I'm super-efficient in the morning, knocking things off of my to-do list and feeling motivated to take on the day, but once the early afternoon hits, my energy dips and I feel like I'm ready to take a nap. I always imagine it as though my battery starts to run low.
Did you know that about 20% of Americans experience excessive daytime sleepiness that causes them to fall asleep during daily activities like reading or watching TV? Even milder cases of insomnia and fatigue can increase your risk for car accidents and work injuries and make you more vulnerable to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions.
So what can we do to fight the midafternoon fatigue and take back the rest of our day? Here a few things to try at home that may help.
Change your sleeping habits
The number one way to fight feeling tired and sleepy during the day is to get better sleep. And for those of you like me who have trouble doing that, it may be the first place to start.
1. Maintain a regular schedule.
Stick to a consistent bedtime and waking time even on weekends and holidays. Avoid napping late in the day when it could make it more difficult to fall asleep later.
2. Darken your bedroom.
Sleep cycles are closely tied to exposure to light. Taking a walk in the morning sun will wake up your brain, and hanging blackout curtains in your bedroom will make it easier to settle down at night.
3. Upgrade your bedding.
Increase your comfort levels with good quality mattresses and pillows that match your individual needs. Look for a mattress that maintains the natural curves in your back.
4. Block out noise.
Maybe you’re tired during the day because you’ve been listening to car alarms and your neighbor’s stereo all night. Use a fan or white noise machine to drown out background sounds.
5. Work out.
Regular exercise will encourage restful sleep. Focus on aerobic activities such as running, biking, and swimming.
6. Create bedtime rituals.
Soothing practices ease the transition from a busy day to a peaceful night. Take a warm bath and listen to soft music. Put on a plush robe or flannel pajamas.
7. Turn off your phone.
Take a break from brightly lit screens and pop up ads. Put away your phone and other devices at least one hour before retiring.
Get some sun
Exposing yourself to sunlight every day will help keep you alert and full of energy throughout your day. Sunlight also helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle so it helps your brain to recognize that it's time to wake up and be alert.
Splash cold water on your face
This may sound like cruel and unusual punishment for some, but splashing cold water helps to improve your energy level and mental focus thanks to the drastic change in temperature.
Drink green tea/lemon water
Green tea has been proven to help give you a boost of energy and improve mental focus, and the polyphenols in the green tea help you sleep better at night. Lemon water helps your body stay hydrated and flush out toxins at the same time. Being dehydrated makes us feel more tired during the day, so making sure to drink plenty of water helps to feel awake and focused.
Use essential oils
Did you know that trying aromatherapy can not only help keep you focused and more awake, but it also helps headaches and irritability throughout your day as well? Some of the best oils to try are peppermint, rosemary and basil. Try adding a few drops of your favorite on a napkin and sniff it from time to time to keep you awake. You can also diffuse the oil at your desk or in your office, or add a few drops to a bath.