5 Ways To Avoid The 3 O’Clock Crash At Work


Isn’t it a little ironic that your energy only drops after lunch when you need to be at work?

Like many others, I have indulged in an afternoon nap on days where I had a spare hour, but without feeling like it was totally necessary. Yet at every job I’ve had, I’ve always hit a big wall at around 3 o’clock.

I’ll be staring at my computer screen and suddenly feel overcome by a big wave of exhaustion. This can be a serious obstacle when it comes to being productive for the rest of the day. For a while, I tried rushing through work in the morning so that I didn’t forget anything when I lapsed into my post-lunch stupor.

This was neither productive nor enjoyable.

The work day is a work day because you’re suppose to stay productive for the duration, so I sought out a cure for the afternoon-nap craving.

Here are some of my tried and tested methods for knocking down those 3 o’clock walls.

1. Watch what you’re snacking on

Cookies, chips, donuts, basically anything that is satisfying a sugar or carb craving is also going to give you a hell of a sugar hangover later in the day.

If you want to fight off hunger, then high-protein foods are the key to staying awake and alert until you get home. Snack on things like fruit, veggies, hummus, cheese and keep processed and sugary foods for the weekend, when you can indulge and then enjoy the nap that will inevitably follow.

Supplementing an already healthy diet with vitamins such as vitamin B and iron can also help keep you awake throughout the day.

2. Hydrate

If you find that hunger is making you crave the sweet stuff then try drinking instead of eating. I’m not talking about coffee or sodas, but water.

Good old H20 can be a good way of a) waking you up and b) filling you up. Research shows that if your body has just 2% less water than it needs then you’ll feel fatigued. This adds up when you think about the fact that we can survive for a week or more without food, but only survive for a few days without water.

3. Take a break

Not taking a sufficient break at lunch time can also mean a bigger crash in the afternoon.

If you’re constantly working at a computer then the screen can exhaust your eyes, making you feel more tired than you actually are. Giving your eyes a 20 second break from your computer screen every 20 minutes is a good rule of thumb.

Also, make good use of your lunch hour. If the weather is good then eat your lunch outside or go for a walk or a run. It’s a great chance to clear your head and get some exercise in if you can.

4. Check out your sleep habits

If you’re following these tips already and you’re still hitting the wall then ask yourself, are you getting enough sleep, really? As young adults, we need between 7 and 10 hours of sleep a night, depending on what we do during the day. Count how many hours you’re getting each night and decide if you maybe need to rethink your sleep schedule.

5. Get your blood pumping

Offer to do a coffee run for the office, run up and down the stairs a few times, do some simple stretches – any of these will get your blood pumping and refresh you enough for the rest of the day. The increased circulation will help you regain some of the energy you’ve lost already and it never hurts to give your eyes that extra break from the screen.

How do you keep energized at the office?

 Photo credit: Svein Halvor Halvorsen