4 Ways to Combat a Post-Lunch Coma
We’ve all had moments like these after lunch: head nodding, eyelids drooping and a brain that refuses to think about anything beyond sleep. Yes, it’s the arrival of the post-lunch coma, and it has ruined many a potentially productive afternoon. If you find yourself catching forty winks more often than you’d like during the day, here are some simple ways to chase those sleepy monsters away.
1. Get around 8 hours of sleep each night.
Let’s go back to the most basics first: are you getting enough sleep in the first place?i It’s common sense really: if you sleep more at night, you’ll have more energy for the day ahead. For many of us with packed schedules, we’re used to late nights but do your body a favour by having a routine where you go to bed earlier. Avoid caffeine at night and switch off your smartphone or iPad at least half an hour before bedtime to enhance the quality of sleep.
2. Avoid huge junk food lunches.
It requires an enormous amount of energy to digest food. This means the more you eat at lunch, the more blood will be allocated to your stomach and gut to work on the food you’ve just ingested. This means less blood for the rest of the body, which often causes one to feel fatigue.
What you eat for lunch also counts. If your meal is rich in carbohydrates, it causes a spike in insulin which promotes drowsiness. Ditch the fried foods and aim for high-energy natural foods such as spinach, brown rice, salmon and beans. You may also want to accompany your healthy meal to give your body a Vitamins Bs and Cs for energy and immunity.
3. Go for a brisk 15-min walk after lunch.
Studiesii have shown that going for a short stroll after your meal stimulates the metabolic process, improving digestion, blood sugar control and also gives you an endorphin boost. If it’s not too scorching hot, why not head outdoors? The fresh non-air-conditioned air and sunlight will perk you up as well.
4. Pace yourself.
The fight against post-lunch coma goes beyond lunchtime. To prevent yourself from dozing off, try to get up from your desk every hour whether it is moving around to get a glass of water or doing some simple office stretches such as shrugging your shouldersiii to release the neck and shoulders. This will improve blood circulation while also helping with your focus at work. At the same time, you get a break from straining your eyes at a computer screen which will also help in feeling less tired.
Still feel like snoozing after all this? Here are a few quick-fix measures that might help as well:
- Splash cold water on your face to give yourself a much-needed energy jolt
- Laugh heartily at something: a funny YouTube video or get the office clown to tell you a joke
- A whiff of peppermint oil refreshes the mind and will help promote alertness
iiYasuyo Hijikata, Seika Yamada, Walking Just After A Meal Seems to be More Effective for Weight Loss Than Waiting for One Hour to Walk After A Meal, 2011;4:447-450