9 Tips On How to Curb the Afternoon Slump and Stay Focused

It’s 12:50 pm and you’ve just finished a lovely lunch with your colleagues and are heading back to the office to work on the report that your boss asked you to finish. You sit down on your new ergonomic chair and feel energized by the mini-party you had at lunchtime.

You log into your PC and then, suddenly it hits you – low energy levels dip, blurry vision, and trouble focusing. Yep, it’s the dreaded afternoon slump.

Every day, people all over the world between the hours of 1 pm and 3 pm hit a wall. It’s the void between the morning charge and the late afternoon push. A full stomach demands more blood and our body gives in to it, taking it away from our brain.

Lo and behold, we find ourselves struggling.

If you can relate, this article’s for you. But even if you can’t, the tips you find in this article will help boost your energy levels and allow you to perform at peak performance longer and more effectively.

6 Main Causes of Afternoon Slump

Let’s get one thing clear: the afternoon slump is a very real thing for most people. But—and it’s important to remember—it doesn’t have to be that way.

Before we get into the secrets of avoiding the afternoon slump, let’s first talk about its six main causes.

1. Circadian Rhythms

Humans are wired this way. Our circadian rhythms make us most sleepy from 1 pm to 3 pm and 2 am to 4 am.[1] The early afternoon is also the hottest time of the day, which is why many countries in South East Asia start school early, to allow children to head home before 2 pm.

Growing up, many people in the Latin world enjoyed siestas—aka the afternoon nap. It didn’t make much sense to me at the time, but having played around with numerous time management techniques over the past 10 years, I can say that a short 30-minute siesta really helps boost my energy levels and productivity.

It turns out that I’m not the only one who enjoys a good nap. Winston Churchill, Leonardo da Vinci, John F. Kennedy, Albert Einstein, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Usain Bolt, and Lebron James are just a few of the big names that indulged in naps.

2. Poor Sleeping Habits

Again, we’re humans, not robots. Our body demands rest. While our bodies are built slightly differently, most people need between seven and eight hours of rest a night.[2]

The problem is most people shortchange themselves when it comes to sleep. They try and squeeze in another episode of Game of Thrones or a few more games of Fortnite.

Teenagers are often most guilty of this, but adults are just as bad. The problem is that adults don’t have the unlimited energy levels and recovery speed that children possess.

3. Poor Eating Habits

We’ve all heard the expression, “you are what you eat.”

I remember a time when tennis stars had a very limited window where they could compete at the top level. In the 1990s, anything over 28 was considered old in the tennis world. Then, along came players like Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal who changed everything.

Their diet was a big part of their success allowing them to extend their winning years well into their late thirties.

4. Dehydration

Our body consists of up to 60% water.[3] We need water to flush out our systems. It helps us avoid brain fatigue and gives clarity to our thinking. Yet, most people choose to consume coffee and soda.

Rather than giving our body what it needs, people instead try to hijack our systems and boost our focus with caffeine and sugar. While this can work in the short-run, it’s not an effective long-term solution and ends up doing more worse than good.

5. High Levels of Stress

Our body and mind build stress. When we experience stress, a hormone called cortisol goes into active mode, therefore leaving us to feel depleted and exhausted. [4] Therefore getting adequate rest is important to managing different levels of stress.

6. Metabolic Disorders

It’s possible that you have an underlying metabolic disorder such as pre-diabetes or insulin resistance. If so, you’ll find yourself suffering more just after lunch if you’re not getting the food that your body needs. These are indicators to speak with a health care professional.

9 Tips on How to Curb the Afternoon Slump

So, now that we know why it occurs, let’s look at how to curb the afternoon slump and stay focused.

1. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

We only get one body, so it pays to take care of it. As I mentioned early, to perform at peak levels, most people require between seven and eight hours of sleep a night. It’s possible that might not be enough for you or that it’s too much.

We’re not all built the same, but statistically speaking, that’s the sweet spot: seven to eight hours.

2. Practice Hachi Bun Mei

Hachi Bun Mei is a common concept in Japan. It basically means that you should eat until 80% full.[5] In other words, stuffing yourself at lunch is a recipe for disaster if you’re looking to avoid the afternoon slump.

Being slightly hungry keeps us awake. We’ve all had big lunches only to feel sleepy soon afterward and that’s because our body is sending blood to the stomach to digest it all. Then, the inevitable brain fog occurs.

So, the next time you find yourself wondering if you should finish off the huge sandwich you got for lunch or whether to keep it for later, do the latter. You’ll thank me.

3. Get Some Fresh Air

If there’s one lesson we should have learned from Covid and the lockdown, it’s that we need to get out from time to time.

Fresh air is an underrated productivity hack. Too often, we find ourselves in front of screens these days. Many of us spend more than half our working hours in front of a screen, only to pick up our iPads or iPhones during our breaks and on the train home.

Spend time away from the digital world and get some fresh air. It’s remarkable how much a 30-minute walk after your lunch break can do for your health and sanity, not to mention productivity levels.

4. Stretch

For most people, their lifestyles have become “sedentary.” For those unfamiliar with the word, it simply means to be inactive.

We need to counter our lack of movement with stretches at the bare minimum. Sitting at a desk all day long won’t help your energy levels. Instead, every 30 minutes, take the time to stand up, walk around a bit, and do some basic stretches. It’ll make a huge difference.

5. Practice Yoga

Stretches are good, but yoga is better. Unfortunately, you probably can’t do it right there in the office after lunch.

Yoga should be done first thing in the morning before you start your day. It’s remarkable how different you’ll feel when doing just a 20-minute session each morning.

6. Eat the Right Kinds of Food

There are good foods, and there are wrong foods. Fast food, energy drinks, caffeine, and carbs are just a few of the things that can doom your health if overdone. Instead, think salads, protein, and greens.

Read this article for tips on healthy eating: 15 Healthy Eating Tips from a Professional Health Coach

7. Say Affirmations to Yourself

Affirmations are extremely powerful. It’s easy to get pulled down by all the negativity we come across during our work, which can easily exhaust us. It can start to affect your mind, especially as the day drags on.

Saying affirmations is a way of boosting your mind with positivity. “I can handle anything that comes my way” is a good example of an affirmation. 

Read this: 30 Daily Positive Affirmations to Boost Your Motivation

8. Smell Peppermint Oil

Smelling peppermint oil has been known to invigorate and improve mental function. Simply rubbing peppermint oil on your hands and patting your face gently is an easy way to give yourself a small healthy energy boost.[6]

9. Meditate

We’re all logged into the matrix in one form or another. It has become a way of life. That’s why we need to do things that allow us to get away from it.

Meditation is all about clearing our minds and taking control of our thoughts. It’s another underrated technique that can help you deal with the stresses of life.

Here’re 7 ways to start meditating.

Final Thoughts

The afternoon slump is inevitable, as it’s practically a part of our DNA. But with a few simple changes to your lifestyle, you’ll be amazed at how much you’ll be able to avoid it and, in the process, boost your focus as well.

Featured photo credit: Miikka Luotio via unsplash.com

Reference

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The World Economic Forum does not have its own paramilitary force

An Instagram post which claims the World Economic Forum (WEF) has its own paramilitary force armed with military-grade weapons is not correct. 

The post features a photograph of a man in uniform with two patches on his upper left sleeve. The lower patch depicts two ibex, along with the wording “World Economic Forum Police” and “2022”. 

The caption accompanying the post states: “The World Economic Forum has it’s [sic] own paramilitary force complete with @wef BADGES and armed with military-grade weapons. They are harassing and detaining journalists at-will [sic]. By what authority do they operate? Who do [sic] commands them? Do Swiss authorities have any say?”

How is the WEF meeting in Davos policed?

The most recent annual meeting of the WEF—an international, non-governmental lobbying organisation that says it is “committed to improving the state of the world”—took place in Davos, Switzerland, between 22 and 26 May. 

According to the Swiss government, responsibility for the safety and security of the local population and international visitors during the event falls under the auspices of the Graubünden police who operate in the canton—a subdivision of the country—where Davos is located. The police were also supported by up to 5,000 members of the armed forces, according to Switzerland’s Federal Assembly.

Closer examination of the photograph in the Instagram post also shows that the upper patch on the arm of the officer is that of the Graubünden police. This is one of a number of patches worn by members of the force. 

A spokesperson for the police in the Graubünden canton told Reuters that the use of such badges “serves the team spirit for use around the annual meeting”, and added: “The WEF organisation does not have a police force”.

It is clear from the photograph that neither of the badges are permanently attached to the officer’s uniform, but rather affixed to a strip of velcro. 

Such patches are made available to those officers from Graubünden who undertake duties in Davos during the WEF. Though the basic design remains the same, the colours used for the WEF police patch are changed each year. Examples from previous years can be found here.

The patches are considered to be collector’s items by some and are offered for sale online, such as this 2009 example

The Instagram post also suggests members of the media have been harassed and detained during the event. This may relate to an incident involving American journalist Jack Posobiec, who released a video on Twitter of members of his team interacting with local police officers, entitled “detained at Davos”. However, the police told the fact checking organisation PolitiFact that at no point was Mr Posobiec detained or arrested.

Full Fact has checked numerous false claims about the WEF in the past.

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The FDA did not say Covid-19 vaccines are causing more heart attacks

A claim that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said heart attacks are 71 times higher following the Covid-19 vaccine than following other vaccines, and that the vaccines are killing two people for every one they save is not true.

This claim appears in a tweet by British entrepreneur and former Made in Chelsea star Francis Boulle, posted in September 2021 and recently shared on Facebook by members of the public. The tweet, which links to a recording of a virtual meeting of the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) and states: “FDA in their virtual meeting yesterday: ‘we were falsely mislead by (Pfizer) about the safety of the vaccine…Heart attacks are 71x higher than other vaccines…the vaccines are killing two people for every one life saved’”.

This quote did not come from an FDA or VRBPAC official. The virtual meeting, which took place on 17 September 2021, included an open public hearing session, where members of the public could make their own short presentations.

The above claims were made by a member of the public named Steve Kirsch, an entrepreneur who established the Covid-19 Early Treatment Fund (CETF) to invest in research on the potential of already-approved drugs to treat Covid-19.

According to the MIT Technology Review, over the course of 2021 Mr Kirsch regularly promoted conspiracy theories and inaccurate claims about the Covid-19 vaccines and other treatments for the virus.

During his presentation given as part of the open public hearing session, Mr Kirsch claimed that “VAERS shows heart attacks happen 71 times more often following these vaccines compared to any other vaccines”, and that “even if the vaccines had 100% protection, it still mean we kill two people to save one life.” This is not true.

Data does not show Covid-19 vaccines are linked to more heart attacks

Mr Kirsch said that his claim that heart attacks happen 71 times more often following Covid-19 vaccines compared to any other vaccines was based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS).

VAERS is an open reporting system that allows anyone to log an adverse event—that is, an unexpected medical event after vaccination—on its database. It is not a reliable source of data for measuring the true prevalence of side effects.

As of 27 May 2022 the VAERS database includes 4,547 reports of heart attacks following the Covid-19 vaccine, and 600 reports following all other vaccines, though some of these may have happened outside the United States. There have therefore been around 7.5 times as many reports of heart attacks happening after the Covid-19 vaccine than after other vaccines.

However, this does not mean that the Covid-19 vaccine is responsible for more heart attacks than other vaccines. We’ve explained before that VAERS reports do not necessarily indicate that a health problem which occurred after vaccination was directly caused by the vaccine, and the larger number of VAERS reports for the Covid-19 vaccine does not mean that the vaccine is causing more health problems than other vaccines.

No evidence has been found to suggest that Covid-19 vaccines directly cause heart attacks. As we’ve previously written, a small number of cases of myocarditis and pericarditis (heart inflammation) have been linked to the Moderna and Pfizer mRNA vaccines. 

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has said: “These reports are very rare, and the events reported are typically mild with individuals usually recovering within a short time with standard treatment and rest.”

We have checked multiple false claims linking heart attacks to Covid vaccines. The British Heart Foundation says there is no evidence of an increased risk of death from cardiac arrest following vaccination. 

No evidence that Covid-19 vaccines kill more people than they save

A major study of VAERS data published by the CDC in March 2022 found no link between receiving two Covid-19 vaccinations and the number of deaths reported after vaccination in the US.

The study found that in the first six months of the vaccine rollout, 4,496 people who had been vaccinated later died  but it uncovered “no unusual patterns in cause of death among the death reports received.”

As the study mentions, the CDC has noted a “plausible causal relationship” between the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and a rare serious adverse event of blood clots in large blood vessels, which occurs at a rate of around 3.83 cases per one million doses of the vaccine, and has resulted in approximately nine deaths.

In the UK, the MHRA has said there is evidence of a likely link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and a very rare type of blood clot occurring with low levels of platelets. As of 18 May, it had received reports of 81 deaths.

It is difficult to be certain about how many people the Covid-19 vaccines have saved. In November, a study from the World Health Organisation Regional Office for Europe and  European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control estimated that 470,000 lives had been saved in people aged 60 and over across 33 countries in Europe since the start of the vaccine roll out. In England alone, it estimated that 157,000 deaths had been averted.

US healthcare foundation The Commonwealth Fund has estimated that the vaccines averted over one million Covid-19 deaths in America up to November 2021.

Image courtesy of Brano

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Bill Gates hasn’t launched artificial breast milk

A post on Facebook claims that Bill Gates has launched an artificial breast milk company, just as the US experiences a shortage in baby formula. 

The post also makes claims about Mr Gates’ investment in Covid-19 vaccines and US farmland. The full post states: “Bill Gates is amazing. He launches artificial breast milk right as formula shortage hits America; he is the largest investor in “V” and there’s a pan_demic; he is the largest owner of land in America and there’s a food crisis. It’s like he’s clairvoyant.”

The implication of the post appears to be that Mr Gates is somehow involved in the events in question: a baby formula shortage, a pandemic and a food supply crisis. There is no evidence that this is the case.

Bill Gates hasn’t ‘launched artificial breast milk’ 

Mr Gates, via his investment firm Breakthrough Energy, has twice invested funding in Biomilq, a start-up working to reproduce human breast milk outside of the body—once in 2020 and again in 2021

As a number of other fact checkers have reported, it is misleading to imply that Biomilq’s product is currently a viable alternative to baby formula, which could mean Mr Gates profits from the recent shortage of formula in the US. 

The Biomilq website is explicit about the fact that its product remains in the early stages of development, and a spokesperson for the company told AFP: “We currently do not have a product on the market and won’t for four to five years. We are currently at a research and development phase.”

The Gates Foundation has invested million into the Covid-19 vaccines 

While it partially obscures the language around vaccines and the pandemic, the post claims that Mr Gates is the “largest investor in ‘V’ [vaccines]”. 

It isn’t clear what exactly the author means by this. For example, they could be stating that Mr Gates was the “largest investor” in vaccines in general prior to the pandemic, that he is the largest investor in Covid-19 vaccines as a whole, or that he is the largest investor in one specific vaccine. 

Without knowing this, it’s difficult to check whether or not Mr Gates is in fact the “largest investor” in vaccines. What we do know, however, is that the Gates Foundation has spent hundreds of millions of pounds funding the Covid-19 vaccine effort. 

These include $20 millon (£16 million) in funding to advance candidate vaccines and $200 million (£158 million) in funding to Gavi, the vaccine alliance, to support Covid-19 vaccine purchasing. Gavi, which was partly founded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, helps to vaccinate children around the world.

To put the Gates Foundation’s spending on Gavi into context, the organisation provided 9% of total funding for the period from 2021 to 2025, out of 11% total funding to Gavi provided by foundations, organisations and corporations. In comparison, the UK government provided 16% of total funding over the same time period, and the US 24%. 

The Gates Foundation has also made available up to $300 million (£237 million) in forgivable loans to support the manufacture of Covid-19 vaccine doses, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars-worth of forgivable loans to support the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines, treatments and diagnostic tests. 

Aside from Covid-19, the Gates Foundation also has a team dedicated to vaccine surveillance and development for vaccines against a number of diseases such as pneumonia and polio.  

Bill Gates may be the largest owner of farmland in America

As reported in January 2021, Mr Gates and his wife Melinda are the largest owners of farmland in America, with approximately 242,000 acres. 

As Snopes reports, a 2021 report collated by the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Agriculture Statistics Service states that there are 895,300,000 acres of farmland in the United States, meaning the Gates’ land accounts for around 0.03% of total farmland.

Following the Gates’ divorce in August 2021, it is unclear how much land Mr Gates himself continues to hold, and whether Mr Gates remains the largest owner of farmland in the United States. 

Photo courtesy of Masaru Kamikura

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No evidence monkeypox is an agent of biological warfare

A TikTok video shared on Facebook claims that monkeypox is a biological warfare tactic “against us by our governments”. 

The person in the video points to pages about monkeypox in two books about biological warfare agents. But the infection is included in these textbooks because of its potential for being used as a warfare agent. It does not mean that any occurence of it is really biological warfare by the World Health Organisation, International Monetary Fund, Bill Gates or “our governments” as the video claims.

We have found no evidence of monkeypox being used as a biological warfare agent previously. There have been some reports that Russia had previously looked at using the virus in this way, but there’s no evidence that the current outbreak was caused by biological warfare.

What is monkeypox?

As of 26 May there have been 106 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the UK since the first were detected early this month. 

Monkeypox symptoms include a high temperature, headache, and muscle ache, followed by a rash that often starts on the face before spreading to other parts of the body. It’s transmitted via close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding.

The disease was first discovered in 1958 in monkeys kept for research, and the first human case was recorded in 1970. There have been several monkeypox outbreaks in humans in the past—both in some African countries where the disease is endemic, and in other countries that it has spread to

Monkeypox being included in textbooks about potential weapons of biological warfare does not mean the current cases are biological warfare

The man in the video opens a textbook called “Biological Warfare Pathogen Perspectives” which is described as covering “aspects such as the molecular biology of the pathogen, differential diagnoses, treatment options and decontamination measures for thirty-five weaponized (or potentially weaponized) biological warfare agents.”

He points to an entry on monkeypox, which describes the disease, but does not appear to say it is being used as a biological warfare agent. 

The second book he opens is the “Handbook of Chemical and Biological Warfare Agents” by D. Hank Ellison. He turns to a page on monkeypox which also describes the disease, but also does not say it is being used as a chemical warfare agent.

We found a higher quality version of the video on TikTok (not the original though, which appears to have been removed). If you pause it, you can read the entries more clearly. Neither say the virus is being used as a biological warfare agent.

Monkeypox is included on a US government list of “Select Agents and Toxins” which “have been determined to have the potential to pose a severe threat to both human and animal health, to plant health, or to animal and plant products”.

Grant McFadden, a virology professor at Arizona State University with expertise in poxviruses, told Politifact that monkeypox being on this list essentially meant scientists had to “go through an extreme amount of bureaucratic licensure” to work with it in a lab.

He also told Politifact there was “really no connection to reality” that monkeypox is being used as biological warfare.

Image courtesy of the CDC

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In 1989 in Tacoma, WA, Army Ranger…

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