Beat the Workday Slump

by Elin Östman, Ph.D.

It’s not uncommon for people to feel tired during their workday — whether it’s just trying to hide an embarrassing yawn during an after-lunch conference or staying energized throughout the workday — and there are several causes to that workday slump. Too little sleep, stress and a blood sugar roller coaster caused by unhealthy food and drinks are some examples. Here are some tips employers can keep in mind to help their employees (and themselves) beat the slump and stay energized all day. 

It starts with getting enough sleep, eating a healthy breakfast and, maybe, a quick walk outside for some fresh air. Other factors are well within the scope of the workplace property and policies:

Take micro breaks. Individuals will feel better if they can stand up, stretch and look away from their work for a while — even another quick walk outside. Maybe get a group together; it´s much more fun to do it as a group. (In some countries, a short afternoon nap is considered to enhance productivity.)

Have well-lit work sites. A dim light will make a person drowsy. It’s important that the workplace have enough light. 

Plan the day. Let´s face it — we all have ups and downs during a workday. But if we regularly find ourselves yawning in specific situations or at specific times of the day, it may be time to do something about it. Try re-scheduling those slow meetings just after lunch and doing something a little more active instead.

Withstand the cravings. When energy is low, the body screams for sugar, and it easily becomes a bad habit. Giving in to those sweet treats will cause an instant rush of energy, followed by the opposite shortly after — and then it´s all on repeat. Slump, craving, slump, craving, zzzzz. Better to have a glass of water, a cup of coffee or tea, or fresh fruit instead of that candy.

Avoid sugary drinks. Drinking water instead of a soda with the meal takes away a lot of sugar and the energy ups and downs that it causes. Reducing the blood sugar spike after a meal can help a person stay sharp and energized the whole workday, in the short perspective, and, as an investment in the longer run, avoid those blood sugar spikes and lows.

Elin Östman, Ph.D., is a former associate professor and senior lecturer in applied nutrition at the Food for Health Science Centre of Lund university in southern Sweden — whose 20-year career comprises ground breaking research on the preventive potential of foods and healthy diets against lifestyle-related conditions — and the chief scientist of the Swedish company behind Good Idea, a functional sparkling water proven to reduce the blood sugar spike after a meal by, on average, 25 percent.

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