September 8, 2015

5 Easy Ways to Beat the 3 O’Clock Slump.

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Ever wonder why we’re so damn tired at three in the afternoon?

Or why it seems natural to siesta at that time of the day?

Well, besides the fact that we drink too many stimulants, eat too much sugar and don’t eat enough protein-rich foods earlier in the day?

I discovered something about this while studying to be a nutritionist.

It has to do with meridians. I’ll keep it short because your kids are probably about to arrive home from school or you still have a 100-page report to fire out and your brain is feeling like jello.

In acupuncture and Chinese medicine, a meridian is a pathway in the body along which vital energy is said to flow. There are twelve such pathways associated with specific organs.

Between 3 and 5 p.m., the bladder meridian should be at its strongest. The bladder meridian governs the nervous system because it houses the nerves along the spine.

If you were to take a nap between these hours, you’d be rejuvenating your nervous system. But unless you live in a country whose work and school schedule is organized around siesta, you’ll probably be at your busiest and further depleting your nervous system at that time.

The small intestine meridian is at its strongest between 1 and 3 p.m., right after having a busy morning and digesting two meals. (I’m making myself sleepy just thinking about this.)

The lung meridian is at a low this time of day as well, and this is when  we receive the least amount of oxygen within the entire 24-hour period.

Yawn!

But the kids want a snack and you have to plan supper and the boss is peeking around the corner of your office with a frown on his face, so do this:

1. Eat breakfast and avoid afternoon carb cravings

If you’re tempted to skip breakfast, don’t. Eat a high-protein meal in the morning to keep your blood sugar levels balanced. That coffee and bagel habit will only deplete your adrenal glands (they’re close to your kidneys) and leave you carving carbs in the afternoon.

By the time your blood sugar drops and your brain turns to mush, it’ll be too late to re-coup your energy with a big meal. And anyway, you’ll be craving caffeine and a donut as your body begs you to elevate those blood sugar levels.

2. Hydrate

Believe me when I say that we are so dehydrated, darling. Those lungs I mentioned earlier? They (not to mention your digestive system) need a lot of water to function properly.

I suggest lemon water. It’s thirst quenching, liver fortifying, cell rejuvenating, not packed with sugar but tasty… Drink it with ice to boost the metabolism.

Fruit, raw veggies and soup also count toward your water intake. Anything with caffeine is dehydrating.

I promise that if you stop at these first two suggestions, you’ll already feel much better at 3 p.m.

3. Eat a small snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon

This will keep your metabolism firing and your blood sugar levels at an optimum. Try trail mix, yogurt, raw veggies, fruit, an energy smoothie, a high-fiber muffin (just be careful—muffins can be high in sugar), a good quality protein bar (Clif Bars and Vega are my go-to’s). And again, hydrate—how about an herbal ginger tea?

4. Move

If you’re at work, turn off your computer, step away from the desk and go outside.

If at home, make sure you take time to exercise. We are pure energy, and energy needs to move!

You’ll be much more productive if you give your brain a rest and kick your heels into gear. If possible, connect with nature at lunchtime or during your mid-afternoon break.

5. Go to bed earlier

Our circadian rhythm dictates that we rise and set with the sun. While that’s obviously not possible for many, keep in mind that every hour slept before midnight rejuvenates us much more than extra hours slept in the morning.

Also, lower your lights in the evening and avoid your phone and computer screen for two hours before bed to allow the brain to decompress before sleep.

6. Nap

If you can, take that nap, meditate, step out to the park, whip out your yoga mat or take a 10-minute savasana break. Nothing can replace a healthy nervous system.

It’s really that simple. These easy but critical steps will have you healthier and energized in no time.

Author: Monika Carless

Editor: Evan Yerburgh

Image: Pixaby / Flickr

Source: Energy Medicine, by Donna Eden

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