By Dr. Amanda Wiggins, owner of Clean Mixes.
Yawn. Afternoons can be a low energy time of day. Our attention fades, our bodies feel heavy and our motivation shrinks as we wade through the tasks at hand.
Whether you work at a desk, in the field or surrounded by kids, when the afternoon rolls around, many of us start wanting to prop our eyelids open with matchsticks.
So what's the best way to power through this energy-sucking time of day?
We've delved into the science to bring you this latest blog with tips to help you avoid the afternoon slump, plus we're sharing a gorgeous new recipe for an epic afternoon pick-me-up treat.
If you're searching for healthy snacks for work, look no further than Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Balls, also known as rocket fuel for your afternoon! Thanks to the @tasty.twinsss for this gorgeous recipe and pics (keep reading to see the recipe)!
So what exactly is the afternoon slump? According to the National Sleep Foundation, our sleep cycles are controlled by two systems - sleep/awake homeostasis and the circadian body clock.
Our circadian biological clocks regulate the timing of periods of sleepiness and wakefulness throughout the day. Adults’ strongest sleep drive occurs between 2:00-4:00 am and in the afternoon between 1:00-3:00 pm.
There is variation person-to-person in these cycles, and they can be more pronounced if you are sleep deprived.
If you frequently suffer the dreaded afternoon slump, here are three tips and a recipe to help get you through.
- Eat a balanced breakfast and lunch. Eating foods high in refined carbs and/or sugar results in a blood sugar spike which is followed by a significant slump in energy. So if you're a person who skips breakfast only to gorge yourself on carbs and sugar at lunchtime, you are very likely to come crashing down the other side as your body produces a big spike in insulin to cope with the incoming sugar.
TIP: Eat a balanced breakfast and lunch that are higher in protein, veges and good fats, with a small amount of low GI starchy foods (such as kumara, wholegrain bread, brown rice or quinoa).
- A 2017 study found that short periods of activity were more effective at boosting energy levels than caffeine consumption. In another interesting study, it was shown that even mild dehydration results in lower mood, increased perception of task difficulty, reduced concentration and headaches.
TIP: Get up and move then drink some water!! Even if it means doing star jumps on the spot with your colleagues wondering what the heck you're up to. Walk around the office, around the block or up some stairs, then drink water. To echo the famous words of a well known brand, just do it.
- Listen to music (no complaints here!). In one study, researchers found that "music can enhance performance on a variety of cognitive tests, these effects are mediated by changes in emotional state, and the effects generalize across cultures and age groups.
TIP: Pop your earbuds in and turn up the tunes!
Another important factor for powering through the afternoon is what you eat for an afternoon snack.
Indeed, you may be searching for healthy snacks for work and we have a recipe idea that may help! High in good fats (from nuts) and fibre and relatively low in sugar and carbs, these Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Balls will help fuel you through your afternoon.
We recommend making these ahead of time and storing them either in the fridge or freezer. Take one one bliss ball with you to work each day for your afternoon snack. You'll be the envy of your colleagues and will power through your afternoon. Recipe is courtesy of the @tasty.twinsss.
CHOCOLATE CHIP PEANUT BUTTER BALLS
- Make up the Clean Mixes Chocolate Chip Mix as instructed on the packet.
- Roll your mix into balls the size of ping pong balls, and leave to set in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- To make the peanut butter chocolate icing, combine 1/2 cup melted dark chocolate, 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter and 1/4 cup coconut cream.
- Drizzle the chocolate peanut butter icing over the top of each ball, and add a sprinkle of peanut on top too.
(OPTIONAL: you could recreate this recipe with any other nut butter too - cashew, almond, whatever you like!)