Afternoon Sleepiness? Here’s How to Wake Up!

Do you get sleepy after lunch? Many people do, including me. In fact, many countries have a siesta in the afternoon. (Although there are many theories to the origins of this tradition.) It is normal to get tired after eating and also when your circadian rhythms dip. That is biological. But, did you know you can do a few things to wake yourself up? (Or, if you prefer and can, just take a nap. In which case, skip this article.)

photo by tatlin

Many ‘experts’ tout loads of tips and tricks to help wake up from your afternoon dip into sleepyhood. But the solutions that actually work boil down to just 3 areas – sleep, nutrition, and exercise.

Regular and enough sleep at night is obvious. Try to get your optimum amount (typically 7 to 9 hours) and be consistent with the times you go to sleep and wake up. This will take a little time to have an effect on your afternoon sleepiness. Also, note that enough and regular sleep also helps with losing weight and keeping it off.

When it comes to nutrition, a healthy diet will help you feel more energized throughout the day. Stay away from processed foods and too much sugar and high-carb foods at lunch. Higher sugar and fat content foods will make you feel sluggish. Instead, aim for low-glycemic foods like whole grains, lean protein, and vegetables.

And my favorite way to beat sleepiness in the afternoon is exercise. The great thing about exercise as a way to wake up is that it doesn’t have to be a lot or intense to help wake you up. Ideally, get outside and take a short walk. Both the fresh air and exercise will get you going again for the rest of the afternoon.

If you cannot leave to take that walk, you can do simple exercises right where you are. One of my favorite stationary exercises is the air squat. Air squats are simply squats done without weights.

Air Squats – image by kropekk

Do the air squats evenly for a count of 1 second down and 1 second up for 20 to 30 repetitions, or about 1 minute. And, when you get better, aim for 60 repetitions. This will take 2 minutes with the count of 1 second down and 1 second up. You don’t need to do these for more than 2 minutes to help wake you up. Most of the time, 1 minute of this type of exercise will do just fine. Other stationary exercises include stationary lunges, desk-, counter-, or wall-pushups, chair dips, and perhaps side lunges.

As always, check with your physician before you start any form of exercise. And, if you have any physical limitations, perform your exercises within your physical capabilities. A good personal trainer will be able to help you with this.

Good sleeps, good eats, and good exercises will help you beat the afternoon sleepiness!

If you have any secrets of your own for waking up in the afternoon, I would love it if you shared them in the comments below. And, if you want to get an email whenever I post a new article, please sign up to follow my blog. The sign-up is on the right side of the page. Just fill in your email and follow the directions.

Until next time!

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