Do you ever get that feeling like the height of your afternoon is being chopped down by a wave of unshiftable tiredness and fatigue? Suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere, the urge to kick back, relax and rest the eyes for a moment or two becomes your only desire.
It’s a difficult and especially limiting experience to cope with, especially so if your ‘to-do’ pile is stacking up to the ceiling. But where does this strange and sudden sleep sensation come from, and why does it always seem to strike at the same hour every day?
Stay tuned, because today we’ll be delving into the 2:30 feeling and examining what place it currently has in the hybrid working models of today; hot off the SMUG press!
What is the 2:30 Feeling?
Your day may have been set up by a good night’s rest, and bolstered by a stern cup of coffee right before you dipped out the door for work, but no matter where the day takes you, there’s no escaping that midday afternoon dip in energy levels, when all there is to do is fight the urge to sleep and adhere to the calling demands of a modern lifestyle.
Although not strictly limited to the exact time mentioned in its name, the 2:30 feeling is a feeling of fatigue, as if all your once-trusted bursts of morning energy suddenly evaporated into nothing but exhaustion, typically setting in between the hours between one and three o’clock in the afternoon.
Yet in another cruel twist of fate, the feeling has a habit of striking just after the lunch hour, weighing you down as you make the crawl to the end of the day. The 2:30 feeling leaves the body void of energy and the mind empty of focus, making everyday tasks almost impossible to complete.
Throughout the rise of ‘work-from-home’ models which have become commonplace within most organisations over the course of the past few years, it was easy to slip away for a 20-minute power nap, or to perhaps turn to your favourite blood-pumping exercise routine to revive your body’s lust for life.
But today, the great return to the office has made handling the onset of the notorious 2:30 feeling rather more difficult, as being stuck at your desk with your boss now just a few feet away doesn’t make for the best opportunity for a sneaky sleep.
What’s more, because the feeling usually strikes within or just beyond the lunch hour, there’s limited opportunity to how much you can actually do, but with that being said, there’s never no solution to the problem; especially with SMUG around!
What Causes Midday Fatigue?
The Natural Rhythm
Although sleep does recharge the body’s batteries, its batteries don’t work like the ones you’d find in the back of the television remote; running until all the way flat. Instead, the sleep cycle instinctively runs in segments, requiring small boosts of sleep every four to six hours.
If you’re waking up in the early hours of the morning, this lull will be scheduled to arrive by mid-afternoon. Some cultures adhere to this natural dip by advocating a strong napping culture, such as in Japan for example.
What you Eat
Ever noticed how you feel tired after every meal? We’ve mentioned how the 2:30 feeling has a habit of striking just after lunch, and there’s a very good reason for why this happens.
Biologically, the energy the body redistributes immediately after a meal to digest and process the food can divert blood flow away from other areas of the body; most notably the brain, which causes that familiar fuzzy, fatigued feeling right after a bite to eat.
In addition to when you’re eating, what you’re eating is also very important too. A lot of ingredients, like nuts, cherries and white meats, are natural sources of the sleep hormone melatonin, and will actively make the body tired when consumed in even the smallest quantities.
Lack of Movement
Whether you’re working from home or having a day in the office, there’s no denying the general absence of movement in the everyday desk job. And it’s true, your chair may slowly be killing you. But breaking the picture down paints a very interesting reason as to how this translates into the 2:30 feeling.
Essentially, lipoprotein lipase is a special type of enzyme within the body that works to turn fat into energy. However, this enzyme is pushed into its most dormant, inactive phase during long periods of physically inactivity; including the eight hours a day you spend sitting at your desk.
Which in layman's terms means that sitting and remaining stationary prevents your body from maintaining and distributing its energy sources effectively.
How to Escape the 2:30 Feeling
Despite the various limitation we discussed above, there are many ways in which you can avoid the mid-afternoon slump entirely; whatever your day entails.
We love the wet stuff, and think that everyone should know just how great it is to stay hydrated. Benefits include delivering fresh oxygen and energy to the cells, waste management and superior joint care. When the feeling of fatigue starts to set in, reach for your collapsible water bottle for that instant and convenient feeling of freshness.
Get the Body Moving
When the feeling of midday fatigue starts to fog the mind, fight that feeling by getting the body up and the blood pumping, directing fresh, oxygen-rich blood into those tired muscles.
If you’re working from home, we’d definitely recommend joining our five-minute energy-packing workout sessions here, or if you’re in the office today, try to leave your chair for five to 10 minutes at least once an hour, taking time to engage in light phases of short exercise; more on that here.
Let the Light In
Although we’ve spent many years advocating the benefits of complete and utter darkness - you may be familiar with our multi-award-winning 3D Contoured Blackout Sleep Mask range - today we’re actually telling you to let the light in when you’re feeling tired.
This is because blue light, of which the sun is the world’s biggest natural source, will naturally suppress any feelings you may have of tiredness. Find out more about sleep’s difficult association with light here.
Focus less on the time that you’re eating and more on the quality of what you’re eating. To beat the 2:30 feeling, look to include lots of slow-burning ingredients into your meal plan that’ll release energy into your system gradually over time.
Oats, fresh fruits and whole wheat products all excel in this department, and it’ll take you even further when balanced out with a moderate diet of carbohydrates and proteins.
If you Can, Take A Nap
Although our evaluation of the 2:30 feeling has so far been very office-based, given the recent return to traditional working schedules, it’s important to note that napping remains one of the best remedies to this problem. It’s an area of sleep that SMUG has pioneered now for a number of years.
So, if at all possible, try to make arrangements that will allow you to escape to a quiet corner for a moment or two. If in the office, perhaps there’s a spare meeting room you can slip into, and if you’re still working in a hybrid environment from home, of course, there’s nowhere better to score some much-needed sleep than in the comfort and covers of your own bed.
It’s naturally going to be very bright outside at 2:30 in the afternoon, so don’t forget to have your SMUG 3D Contoured Blackout Sleep Mask to hand, or if you’re looking to take more of a different approach that still guarantees total darkness, try out our other selections of sleep masks.
When it’s hot and stuffy in the summer, we personally like to reach for our cooling and kind of skin Satin Sleep Mask.
Your 2:30 Feeling Tool Kit
Collapsible Water Bottle - Nothing like the refreshing, awakening and life-affirming benefits of water. Hydration is hip, just like this cooler-than-cool water bottle.
Soothing Body Wrap - These bad boys can absolutely be heated, but did you know that they’re also fantastic when they’re cooled. The invigorating experience of a cooled body wrap on your tired body in the heat of the summer = bliss!
SMUG Sleep Mask - You’ll never nap quite the same way again. Stray beams of light are no match for the sealing, solving, spellbinding design of our sleep masks.
The Ultimate Workout Guide - We were incredibly lucky to work with some of the industry’s leading experts to put together this ultimate step-by-step guide to the perfect home workout right in the height of lockdown, and although we’re thankfully much freer now, it’s still our go-to mid-afternoon exercise session.
Unfortunately, that’s all we have time for today, but we hope that, with these steps under your belt, the dreaded 2:30 feeling won’t be crossing your path again any time soon!
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