Deal With Post-Lunch Sleepiness

The New York Times tackles that daily productivity killer called the post-lunch dip — you know, the pull of the yawn toward an afternoon power nap after lunch.

Q. What is happening in the body that it craves rest after lunch? A. First, the 24-hour cycle of the body, or its circadian rhythm, is naturally in a resting phase at this time. In the afternoon, it happens to converge with another physiological cycle—known as homeostatic—that measures the amount of time spent awake and that is also pushing for a rest. Add the effects of food, which can also induce drowsiness, and an overpowering desire to sleep may result.

What's the best way for one to overcome the urge to nap after lunch? Unsurprisingly, to take a short nap. But if your company doesn't have sleep pods installed at the office, ditch the caffeine, which can affect your ability to get to sleep that evening. Instead:

Simply get up and move around the room. If you need to talk to a colleague at another desk, this could be the ideal time. It also helps to arise at the same time every morning, Dr. Dinges said. He has found that getting up earlier than usual—even as little as a half-hour earlier—magnifies drowsiness in the afternoon.


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