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7 Ways to Beat the Midday Slump and Fight Fatigue

Many people feel tired and sluggish in the afternoons and may be tempted to reach for an energy drink or their sixth cup of coffee that day to fight the midday slump. It can be hard to focus on work and think strategically when you do not have energy, but there are ways to fight it, without caffeine.

Stay hydrated and eat well. It may seem obvious, but ensuring you are well-hydrated (by drinking water, not soda) and eating food that is packed with vitamins and nutrition can boost productivity.

Take a sniff of citrus fruit. According to Huffington Post, research has indicated that smelling a crisp scent can boost your mood and promote mental stimulation.

Take breaks, and work in segments. Huffington Post also notes that it may be easier to complete a task if we work in 90-minute segment bursts. "The human body is hard-wired to pulse. To operate at our best, we need to renew our energy at 90-minute intervals — not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally," Tony Schwartz, president of The Energy Project, the publication.

Get up and move around. Harvard Business Review notes that any physical activity, even for just 10 minutes, will “temporarily boost your alertness and energy levels.”

Take a power nap. It may be frowned upon if you suddenly put your end down and sleep while at work, but according to a NASA study, napping can improve cognitive function, mood, reaction time, and memory. Business Insider reports that research conducted on pilots who slept in the cockpit for 26 minutes indicated that their alertness improved up to 54 percent, and job-performance improvements were up 34 percent. That said, there is still some debate about what the optimal time for a nap should be, and the publication notes that NASA suggests naps of 10 to 20 minutes.

Listen to music. Music has the ability to influence our moods, and according to the Huffington Post, it may provide the temporary escape you need, to return to work feeling more refreshed.

Don’t drink caffeine. One of the easiest solutions for an energy boost would be to reach for a coffee, right? But the boost you get is only temporary. Harvard Business Review spoke to Christopher Barnes, an assistant professor of management at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business, who revealed that this is not the solution. The reason being that caffeine simply masks “the effects of your low energy,” Barnes says, by "blocking a chemical that tells your body you are tired." The more coffee you drink, the less it will benefit you, so drinking coffee rarely will have a far better effect than if you make it a habit.

That said, feeling like your productivity is slowing in the late afternoon is completely normal, according to Lona Sandon, Ph.D., who is also the clinical nutrition program director at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. She told the Journal of Accountancy: "Even if your job is more mentally than physically demanding, the body can feel physically drained" in the middle of the day. "The lethargic feeling could be your body telling you that your brain needs a break."

[Image via Shutterstock]

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