It's 3pm, you've had a big day so far, and you have 2 hours until the end of the day. The slump sets is, so you grab a coffee and/or a sugary snack to get you through the longest 2 hours of your life. And the same happens the next day, and the next day.
Often, you aren't tired, your brain has simply run out of fuel. Your tank is empty so the brain reduces its output and you slow down. According to science, our brains run on glucose and can burn up about 120g daily, that's 60% of the entire glucose consumption in your entire body. And that's while resting! Now you know why you crave sugar towards the end of your day.
It once was once thought that fatty acids fuelled your brain, apparently not. Ketone, produced by the liver, fuels the brain also, but only in starvation. (With new technology comes new discoveries and we can now learn more about our bodies and how to look after them.)
So, how can you get past that 3pm slump? Here are five quick fix suggestions on refuelling your brain when you get tired, lethargic, fatigued;
- Move it - moving around will produce endorphins, increase oxygen flow, produce neurons in the brain, burn off cortisol, and much more. A 15-minute fast-paced walk at lunchtime will get you through the afternoon.
- Hydrate - 80% of your brain consists of water, you need water for your brain to function properly. Pure water, not coffee, tea, sodas, or any other fluid that might contain diuretics which will dehydrate you even further.
- Smile - The 'feel good' neurotransmitters dopamine, endorphins and serotonin are all released when we smile. The muscles in your face tell your brain that you are happy. This not only relaxes your body, but it can lower your heart rate and blood pressure.
- Look forward to it - Looking forward to good things coming up in the future will generate similar chemicals to those produced when you smile. Look forward to something coming up at the end of the day, in the weekend, a holiday coming up, a significant event, anything that makes you smile when you think about it.
- Nap time - a short 15-minute nap allows your brain to rest and recover. This is technique doesn't work for everyone, some people will wake up feeling worse than before they had their nap and may be cranky for the afternoon. Additionally, not all employers will want their staff sleeping on the job...
There you go, simple things to energise your brain. Don't grab that chocolate bar, grab the water bottle instead, and smile while you do so.