Feeling exhausted post lunch is not normal; lifestyle tweaks you need | Health - Hindustan Times
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Feeling exhausted post lunch is not normal; lifestyle tweaks you need

By, New Delhi
Apr 26, 2024 11:46 AM IST

Feeling sleepy after lunch isn't exactly normal and may hint you need dietary modifications. Here are reasons of post-meal fatigue and ways to fix it.

Feeling post lunch fatigue or a dip in your 6energy levels in the afternoon could be an indication that you aren't eating a nourishing meal and might be eating a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar. While everyone registers a slight dip in their energy levels and feels sleepy after having a meal, a complete crash in energy levels could also affect your productivity. Eating the wrong foods, over-eating, and a natural dip in body's circadian rhythm are some of the reasons why people may encounter a dip in afternoon energy levels. Besides as per studies there is a hormonal shift our body undergoes after eating as it leads to release of various hormones and neurotransmitters that activate parts of nervous system responsible for digestion. This can lower our energy levels and make us feel sleepy. (Also read: Drink sattu with lemon on empty stomach for these 10 amazing benefits)

If you're hitting that afternoon slump hard, it could be a sign that your lunch isn't giving you the fuel you need,(Freepik)
If you're hitting that afternoon slump hard, it could be a sign that your lunch isn't giving you the fuel you need,(Freepik)

What is post-lunch fatigue and is it normal?

"Post-lunch fatigue isn't just a 'normal' part of your day. Your body's energy levels should be steady, not plummeting after a meal. If you're hitting that afternoon slump hard, it could be a sign that your lunch isn't giving you the fuel you need," says Nutritionist Bhakti Arora Kapoor in her recent Instagram post.

Eating a heavy meal, high on fat and carbohydrates and low on fibre can lead to post-lunch slump. To digest the food, the body has to work extra hard, and you feel sleepy as a result of blood flow being directed towards the GI tract; hence you feel sleepy.

As per research, tryptophan, melatonin, and other phytonutrients promote sleepiness. Rice, chicken, wheat, potatoes, sugar and baked goods can influence melatonin production in our brain. Melatonin is a hormone that can control your sleeping and waking cycles.

"Feeling the urge to nap every afternoon? It's a clear sign that your body isn't getting the fuel it needs. This energy drain can wreak havoc on your productivity. You might find yourself resorting to sugary snacks and endless cups of coffee just to stay afloat," says Dr Kapoor.

How to prevent this post-lunch crash?

Dr Kapoor suggests evaluating your lunch choices. "Are you loading up on refined carbs and sugars? Opt instead for balanced meals rich in lean proteins, healthy fats, and fibre-packed veggies. These nutrients provide sustained energy and keep you feeling fuller for longer," she says.

"Also, pay attention to portion sizes and meal timing. Eating too much or too close to your afternoon tasks can leave you feeling sluggish. And don't forget to stay hydrated! Dehydration can also zap your energy levels," adds Dr Kapoor.

How to balance your blood sugar levels

When your blood sugar is dysregulated, you are so much more likely to experience energy dips, sugar cravings and even anxiety (it also plays a huge part in hormonal issues) The nutritionist says balancing blood sugar levels can also help prevent the post-lunch dip and feel energetic.

  • Increase your protein intake and start your day with a high protein breakfast
  • Eat more fibre rich and low GI foods
  • Stop drinking coffee on an empty stomach
  • Lower cortisol levels
  • Move more, especially straight after meals (a 10-minute walk is enough)
  • Pair foods appropriately
  • Stay hydrated
  • Balance your mineral levels
  • Focus on getting good quality sleep
  • Consider a high-quality magnesium supplement.

Remember, feeling revitalised post-lunch is possible. It's all about nourishing your body with the right foods at the right times.

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