Beating the drowsy 'post-lunch dip'

July 15, 2011 4:56:59 AM PDT
Avoiding the so-called "post-lunch dip," is a challenge some workers struggle with on a daily basis. It's the overwhelming desire to sleep during the early afternoon, particularly after lunch. Doctors say that several factors can trigger such slumps.

"If we're already sleep deprived, we're probably going to feel a little bit more of that crash in the afternoon more than regularly," the Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Tina Waters said. "It doesn't necessarily have to do a lot with what we're eating."

But doctors also say if your lunch is high in fat and carbs, the urge to sleep can be compounded. A 20-minute power nap is ideal, but for most workers sleeping on the job is not an option.

So what can you do to stay awake?

  • Caffeinated drinks are the fix of choice for most people.
  • Try snacks high in unrefined carbohydrates -- like a banana -- or high in protein like yogurt or nuts.
  • A whiff of peppermint or peppermint gum can also provide a pick me up.
  • Exposure to natural light can help, too.
  • The best way to fight the slump is get up and move.

    "Getting some physical activity, stretching your legs, moving around a little bit, get your heart rate going again, just to increase the blood flow to everything in the body," Dr. Waters said.