I used to loathe afternoons. Ever since I can remember, I have had to fight daily afternoon fatigue from post-lunch food coma or from working hard at school all day. Whatever the reason behind the tiredness and constant temptations to nap, thankfully, there are many natural solutions to help revert or even prevent the afternoon slump. If you ever need an afternoon pick-me-up, replace your afternoon cup of coffee and pick up one of these real refreshers instead.
Whether eating an orange or diffusing a citrus blend of essential oils, studies have shown that citrus has a whole range of health benefits for humans. When inhaled, citrus essential oil researchers in Chemistry Central Journal report it reduced lung inflammation in patients. When eaten, the same research report states that citrus flavonoids has the ability to prevent starch digestion. Eating starchy foods is associated with chronic fatigue. So orange or grapefruit juice is the perfect beverage to go with a starchy lunch of potatoes, bread, rice or pasta.
Melatonin is a hormone our body naturally produces to help prepare it for sleep. Melatonin production increases when you don’t have enough sun exposure because your body thinks that it’s nighttime. Absorbing direct sunlight for 15 to 20 minutes will slow down your body’s melatonin production. Take a break or work in a sunny spot if you have access to it. Even better, take a walk outside while you do a call or after lunch to slow down your body from producing melatonin.
Eucalyptus or peppermint oils
The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition reports that eucalyptus and peppermint oils have been shown to fight fatigue and help keep the body energized. Diffuse peppermint and essential oils in your space or try a balm that includes it as a main ingredient, like Dr. Bronner’s Arnica-Menthol Magic Balm or Le Labo Camphor Balm. Warm a bit of balm between your fingers and dab it onto your forehead and temples. There will be a cool and tingling sensation and a pleasant smell that should wake you right up.
Dehydration is a common cause of tiredness because it reduces blood flow causing your body to overwork so it can compensate for the loss of water. To avoid dehydration, keep a reusable bottle full of water near you and take small sips of it constantly throughout the day. Taking regular sips is easier than reminding yourself to drink 6 to 8 separate glasses of water each day. If you struggle to get your daily dose of H2O, try one of our 10 tips to drink water everyday.
You can easily try any one of these solutions for the price of a couple cups of coffee to make your afternoons more energetic and enjoyable. Scientists have found that citrus, sunlight, eucalyptus and peppermint oils, and water are all non-volatile, which means they don’t have a negative effect on the human body when taken in moderation or their recommended doses. So you may want to collect all of them and switch it up each day.
As always, discuss your health concerns with your doctor, who can help you determine if there are any other health reasons for your energy lows in the afternoon. Together with their guidance, natural solutions like these might just make it easier to get through the day.