Struggling to Stay Awake at Work?

If you attend  meetings at work  you are likely to eat at these gatherings.  Stop for a moment and think about the types of meals served at these gatherings. Except for the odd times, I will hazard a guess that for the most part they include selections from my list of high-stress foods. Think about the breakfasts served. You are more likely to be served sweet buns, croissants, turnovers or some sweet/salty/fatty combination. Rarely will you find healthier alternatives. Check out Solutions for Health the list of high-stress foods and for healthy substitutions.

Think about your afternoon meetings. If a snack is provided, it is more likely to be some a baked product. You will be served up a sweet fat combination. It is not uncommon to have cookies or muffins, which are more like mini-cakes than they are muffins, for your afternoon snack. You eat them along with copious amounts of coffee or juice.

The Afternoon Dump

An hour or two later, you can hardly keep your eyes open, never mind  concentrating on what is being said at the meeting! All you can think about is how much you would love to take a nap. Surprised? You should not be. High-stress foods are called that because they decrease your energy level. They can also increase your chance of dehydration, because of their high sugar and caffeine load. Finally, because of their high fat content, your brain ends up being deprived of adequate oxygen.

How could this be just from having a high- stress meal? Well, these meals need a lot of energy to digest or to break down, so, your body increases the amount of blood that flows to your stomach. This increases the digestion of your meal, but in so doing, deprives your brain of its maximum amount of blood supply, which contains the much-needed oxygen.

This explains why you are unable to concentrate on tasks well, and why you have very little energy to take you through the day after eating a high- stress meal. Overall, you will not be able to function at your peak.

Solutions for Avoiding the Afternoon Dump

1. Eat breakfast that is made up of real foods. Pass on highly processed fast foods, various packaged foods.

2. Eat a light lunch, example, pass on steaks, burgers, fried foods and pastas covered in heavy sauces.   Instead, choose foods that are whole and unprocessed and plant-based

3. Get enough protein ( see Solutions for Health section on portions) a meal without protein will cause you to take the “afternoon dive ”

4. Stay hydrated, part of your strategy to stay hydrated should include drinking at least 4 cups of plain water each day, 2-3 cups milk/d,  1-2 cups caffeine-free herbal teas unsweetened and 7-10 portions of fresh fruits and vegetables per day. ( See Solutions for Health on portions)  Being hydrated will give you more energy to go  through your day.

For more valuable information on how to live your healthiest and happiest life, visit

Your weekly coach,

Phyllis Reid-Jarvis, RD,CDE,Coach

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0 Replies to “Struggling to Stay Awake at Work?”

  1. I have tried the above and it worked. It took a couple of days to get rid of the sleepy feeling but I have been feeling great since. In addition to using the above, one aspect I had to adjust was my portion size. Spreading out meals strategy has been amazing for me.

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