Sigh, it’s happening again! After a great lunch from *insert your favourite restaurant here*, all you want to do is put your head on the desk and sleeeeep. If you can relate, I promise you’re not alone. It’s called ‘Postprandial Somnolence’ aka the ‘Itis’ and it’s a natural process. But, if you handle it well and fix your diet, you can lessen its impact on your productivity.
On a fundamental level your body has 2 modes – ‘slow’ and ‘go’ – controlled by nerves all over your body. When you eat, your body goes into ‘slow’ mode so it can focus on breaking down the food you just put in. In addition to that, there are food groups that cause a release of hormones in the brain that influence sleep and drowsiness.
Here are some tips to fight all of that:
Make sure you eat a solid breakfast
If you have a relatively heavy but balanced breakfast – meaning you include protein (meat, dairy, soy), carbohydrates (bread, ground provisions, oats, cereal), fruits and maybe a multivitamin – you’ll have enough energy to hold you over until lunch time, and then some.
Maybe try eating less for lunch
Carbohydrates and proteins trigger the brain to produce 2 hormones that influence drowsiness – and serotonin is one of them. It stands to reason that the more of it you eat, the more these hormones will be released, and the sleepier you’ll get.
So, then, for lunch you could have something light, like half of what you would usually have, and save the rest for dinner or a snack later on. Or you could have some fruits, or nuts, etc.
You’d still have enough energy left to take you through the rest of the day.
Help to fix your diet by getting up and moving around
Take a short walk, have a good laugh, chat with your friends or coworkers, and do something to get you somewhat active and engaged a few minutes before returning to work.
Stay hydrated my friends (with water)
Staying well hydrated helps with overall your blood flow and movement of food through your digestive system. 3 to 4 bottles of water – the 500ml ones – per day is fine.