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The 3pm Slump

You had a decent sleep, you started your day well - perhaps with some exercise, a healthy breakfast. You've done a good morning's work and had a healthy lunch. So far, it's been a great day! Then the afternoon starts to dra-a-a-a-g, it seems that the clock is even going that possible? Your eyes are getting heavy, your attention span is waning, your ability to retain information and your cognitive skills have plummeted. What on earth is going on?! 

If you were up early, by around 2-3pm your body is screaming for a nap. Or something. Maybe a slap across the face, a glass of cold water thrown in it? 

The Australian Sleep Health Organisation explains "The timing of our need for sleep is based on two things.  The first is how long we have been awake.  The second is our body clock.  If we stay awake all night we will feel more tired at 4am than at 10am.  Scientists call the time between 3am and 5am the ‘dead zone’. It’s when our body clock makes us ‘dead’ tired"

By mid-afternoon, most of us have been up around 7-8 hours. Feeling sleepy around this time can be a natural reaction by our internal body clock.

I'm up during the week around 5am so around 2pm I start to hit my slump. If I am doing physical work such as making products or recipe testing it's not quite so bad, but if I am writing or doing work on the computer.....I just want to curl up under my desk like George Costanza and nap the afternoon away. I actually do know of someone, who will remain unnamed, who has scattered paperclips on the floor behind the door to the office and then lie down and nap. If someone tried to open the door, said napper would be bumped by the door and they could pretend to be picking up paper clips! 

Desk Sleeping


The danger when we fall into this slump is we snack. On the first thing to hand. We are so tired, our defences are low and we reach for quick fixes such as sugar or coffee. Neither will help. They merely send us onto a roller coaster of highs and lows. We can all recognise the one in the office who has been hitting the vending machine, with their wide eyes and manic laughter.

So what can we do to help get past this slump? My favourite ways are: 

  • Have a healthy breakfast
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Get outdoors at lunch - fresh air will do you wonders, even if it's raining, and the sunshine if there is any, will help reset your internal clock
  • Move. If you're falling asleep at your desk get up and walk over to a colleague instead of calling or emailing them. Get the blood flowing! 

Some workplaces provide fruit, but mainly the vending machines or any food available to purchase in offices, are sugar laden, full of carbohydrates and lack any nutrition at all. Being healthy is not difficult, it does take some organising though. Which is fine mostly but sometimes life just happens and when the snacks aren't prepared and that tiredness hits, we reach for the closest thing. 

Two lovely Melbourne ladies, Angelica and Dorothy, have come up with a perfect solution, The 3pm Box.

This range of snack boxes has all of your healthy snack needs covered. From one off purchases, work place catering, travel boxes, share boxes and the Love Box! There are a few reasons why I love what these ladies are doing. They check all the ingredients in the products they source. They choose organic where they can, all snacks are refined sugar free, they are free of artificial colours and flavours and 95% of their products are vegan friendly. 

The 3pm Box

All these things are very much aligned with Freya's Nourishment and it's such a delight to see this business doing what they do. 

So what do Angelica and Dorothy suggest we do to tackle the 3pm slump? 

  • Make an "I was thinking of you phone call" 

Tear your eyes away from the computer and feed your soul. Call a loved one, a best friend, someone near and dear. Tell them you are thinking of them and bring a bit some calming energy to your space around your desk. 

  • Laughter Yoga

Ok, so you might be laughing AT this and not with it, and I too immediately thought of forced laughter....but! Laughter is such great medicine. Nothing on earth beats laughing so hard your sides ache, you nearly wet your pants and tears are streaming down your face. If you can't get to a Laughter Yoga class, have a joke with your favourite colleague and get those endorphins coursing through your body! It will wake you up, and make you feel better than you have in a long time! 

  • Stretch! 

You can do these sitting at your desk, or walk into the kitchenette if you need some space. The girls' favourite desk stretches can be found here - go on, get the blood flowing and ease up those tight muscles! 


What's your favourite way to survive the 3pm slump? 


High levels of stress will also drain you and can be debilitating for your body.  Although these reasons here can be the reason for many of us, the best thing you can do is listen to your body. You know your own body best and if something doesn't feel right please get it checked out. There could be underlying metabolic disorders present. This post is not to be taken as medical advice, please look further into any issues you may have. 

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