The Science Behind the 3pm Slump & How to Get Over It


Sometimes you just have ‘one of those days’ at work. You know the one — the day where you come in full of energy, with a whole list of things to do, but somewhere between lunch and the end of the workday, your energy slowly starts to ebb away. Your brain can’t seem to focus properly; you feel yourself getting really tired and somehow you can’t seem to type a coherent sentence.

We’ve all been there, sometimes more often then we’d like. However, science is on your side: the mid-afternoon slump is a very real phenomenon.

What does the science say about the 3pm slump?

A lot of why we feel tired, restless and unable to focus around 3pm has to do with our sleep pattern. Our sleep is dictated by what is called the circadian rhythm, also known as the body clock and sleep homeostasis.

The circadian rhythm is what regulates physiological and behavioural processes, including temperature control, hormone production, alertness and sleep.

Sleep homeostasis is when your body tries to keep everything in balance. So, the more your alertness decreases, the more your need for sleep increases. This tends to occur about 12 hours after you’ve been in deep sleep — for most people that tends to be around 2-3am.

So, that 3pm slump is really just your body saying you’ve been alert for too long and need a bit of a breather to bring back balance to your body.

What Can You Do to Make it Better?

Even though this is a natural biological occurrence, there are a few things you can do to help your brain feel less foggy when that 3pm slump hits.

Listen to Upbeat Music

Research has shown that music does help improve cognitive performance like energy levels and creativity. Listening to certain types of music can effectively alter brainwaves — fast, upbeat music makes you more energetic, whereas slow, soft music calms you down. And if you’re listening to songs you already know, turns out it can give you an even bigger boost.

Give yourself a break

Take a little breather and walk around the office, watch a funny video or maybe even a have a 10-minute UNO game with your co-workers. Doing something fun and exciting can increase your blood pressure, heart rate and levels of feel-good dopamine which contribute to an energy boost.

Have a little snack

Turns out snacking is a great way to boost your energy. But you don’t want ones that have a high sugar concentration. What you want is a mix of unrefined carbs, protein and fat to keep your blood-sugar and energy levels up until dinner.

This is where Snackwize comes in to help you!

Finding the right healthy snacks for your office can be a bit of a challenge. You want something the staff will enjoy but still be good for combating that 3pm slump. Snackwize curates a healthy snack box for the office, perfect for some munching when that slump hits you. Delightful, yummy treats that are still full of nutritional value, even your CEO will pop by for one of our snacks. Get in touch with us today to organise your first delivery and watch that slump hit differently this time around.

Conor Reynolds