The Lazy Hour: What Causes It?
The lazy hour
We’ve all been there: you just had your lunch and come back to your office… Only to feel super tired and unable to focus on work at all. This usually lasts for about an hour, and we have given it a name: The Lazy Hour.
The Lazy Hour is a phenomenon that occurs right after your lunch break, and it happens to EVERYONE. That’s why we went on a mission to find out ways to understand and fight it.
The main reason you're sleepy
Experiencing sleepiness after eating is quite natural for all people. When you have lunch, the blood flow to the stomach area increases. Consequently, the blood flow to the brain reduces and hence you get a little drowsy.
Digestion is one of the highest energy-requiring processes in the body, so avoiding sleepiness completely is not possible. But you can fight it and reduce it to a minimum by understanding the main causes of it.
What slows down your digestion
Now you know that you’re sleepy after lunch because your body is trying to digest the food you just ate. So why not pay attention to what you’re actually eating? Diet is extremely important when trying to plan your most productive times of the day.
To make your body digest food faster, you should eat fewer simple carbs, and say no to pizza, pasta, and burgers for lunch. Opt for lean meat, fish, and vegetables instead. And try to trick your inner child to eat fruit or yogurt instead of a fatty doughnut for “dessert”.
Size and timing matters
A major contributor to your laziness after lunch is overeating. This happens because of inadequate portion sizing and the rush to finish your meal quickly. Instead, you should eat slowly – it takes 15-20 minutes for our bodies to realize they’re actually full.
Also, there is fair evidence that caloric restriction can enhance wakefulness. So, eating a lighter lunch may help. Pay attention to your portion sizing and don’t pile up everything in the cafeteria on your plate. Try to eat 30% protein, 40% carbs, and 30% good fats. That’s the way the Zone diet works. This ratio keeps your insulin stable and with no sugar peaks you will feel less sleepy after eating.
The most important meal of the day
A major contributor to your overeating during lunch is skipping breakfast. Too many people nowadays do this in favor of getting more sleep in the morning or for other reasons. One study even shows that a shocking 25% of Americans regularly skip breakfast.
Breakfast is arguably the most important meal of the day. Why? Because it breaks your overnight fasting period and kickstarts your metabolism. This means you will be more likely to burn calories faster after lunch, and thus shorten the time The Lazy Hour lasts. Here are some great and simple breakfast ideas to kickstart your day.
Another major contributor to you feeling tired after lunch is sleep deprivation. It occurs when you don’t have a good night’s sleep. This is the main cause for your digestion to slow down and your overall well-being affecting your ability to focus.
You should never underestimate the power of quality sleep. The better and more consistent your sleep patterns, the more you will be able to focus not only during The Lazy Hour but during the workday overall.
While sleep requirements vary slightly from person to person, most healthy adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day for at least a week to start noticing positive changes.
One of the most simple reasons for your lack of focus after lunch is dehydration. Surprisingly, many people become dehydrated because they get so busy that they simply forget to drink. Another reason is the lack of flavor in water and the habit of drinking sugary drinks instead.
Another way to stay hydrated is to carry around a refillable bottle. If you choose a design that is appealing to you, you’ll be more likely to remember to drink. (Plus, this is a great way to reduce plastic waste and thus help the environment!)
For some people drinking plain water is hard because of a lack of taste. This can be easily solved by using bottles like Sharpro BPA FREE & FDA APPROVED Water Infuser Bottle. These types of bottles allow you to infuse your favorite fruit and berries into the water to add some flavor and vitamins.
The 8x8 rule
Whichever tactic you use, make sure you drink adequate amounts of water. There are many different options on how much water you should be drinking every day. Health authorities commonly recommend the so-called “8×8 rule”: eight 8-ounce glasses, which equals about 2 liters, or half a gallon.
Once again, the water-tracking apps help a lot with this rule.
Your workspace environment
It is proven that environmental conditions, such as temperature, CO2, and humidity in your workspace can make you drowsy, especially after lunch.
We have written about the effects of inappropriate microclimate before, and it is a major contributor to the lack of focus after eating. Lunch break is usually taken during midday, which means that CO2 levels have probably risen above the average, if not being cautiously monitored.
An inappropriate humidity level also is a straight contributor to you feeling clammy, too warm, drowsy, and sluggish. And you are more sensitive to these conditions right after having a meal. The same goes for sensitivity to temperature changes. Temperature preferences vary greatly among individuals and there is no one temperature that can satisfy everyone.
Nevertheless, an office that is too warm makes its occupants feel tired; on the other hand, one that is too cold causes the occupants’ attention to drift, making them restless and easily distracted.
Summary: The main causes of Lazy Hour
- Your digestion activates after eating, reducing the blood flow to your brain;
- You eat the wrong foods that require too much energy to burn calories fast;
- You overeat because of wrong portion sizing and timing;
- You skip breakfast and thus make yourself more hungry, leading to a higher risk to overeat during lunch;
- You don’t have a good night’s sleep;
- You don’t drink enough fluids and become dehydrated;
- You don’t monitor the environmental conditions of your workspace and thus are not aware of its effects on you.