Is Afternoon Fatigue Influencing
Your Job Performance?
By Dr. David Tanton
Millions of Americans have very productive mornings; catching up on
e-mails and voicemails, attending meetings and completing projects
left over from the day before. Then the clock strikes noon, and they
head to lunch. Following lunch, they return to their offices, often
feeling tired, drained and less-than-productive. While the morning
was filled with efficiency, now energy is plummeting fast and the
afternoon slump has set in!
can contribute to afternoon fatigue, but feeling alert can be
critical to both your job performance, and your job security. Let’s
evaluate what causes the afternoon slump, and start to make it a
thing of the past. Following is the formula that will make the
eat for lunch is important. Following a heavy meal especially,
an increased amount of energy will be diverted to the stomach
for digestion, leaving less energy for your brain.
combination of foods you consume is also important. For example,
meat and starches in combination are slow to digest. Then,
eating fruit, or drinking fruit juice with a meal, will greatly
increase the digestion time as well. Thus, fruit or fruit juice
should be consumed at least 30 minutes before, or 2 ½ hours
following a meal. Eating a lighter lunch, and chewing
thoroughly, speeds up digestion.
If you are
finding it difficult to stay awake at times, and are taking
medications, that could very well be your problem. Of the 200
most prescribed medications, 175 (87.5 percent) listed “fatigue”
or “drowsiness” as possible side effects!
thyroid (hypothyroid), low blood sugar (hypoglycemia),
dehydration, or insufficient oxygen can all influence your
mental capacity, and your ability to remain alert. The
hypothyroid condition is surprisingly common, as well as the
most often misdiagnosed, or improperly treated condition. Your
thyroid is rather like your I.Q. There is a range that is
considered normal, although borderline-low is still considered
as acceptable by most doctors. Your thyroid function influences
how efficiently food is metabolized, and oxygen is utilized. The
most common symptoms associated with a hypothyroid condition are
fatigue, depression and inability to concentrate – all critical
to our performance.
caused by insufficient red blood cells, is one well-known
contributor to fatigue. Anemia can result from a low thyroid
condition, as well as a deficiency of vitamin B12 or
folic acid. And of the 180 most commonly prescribed medications,
61 percent depleted folic acid, 70 percent depleted vitamin B12
and the majority actually depleted both! Taking a high-potency
vitamin B-complex such as B-100, along with 50 mg of Coenzyme Q10,
twice daily, (upon rising and at noon), can help maintain your
energy level, and prevent fatigue throughout the day.
Sleep Is Critical: Insufficient sleep is a concern for every
employee, as it can lead to industrial accidents, or work-related
errors. Adequate sleep plays an important part regarding efficient
retention and recall. During sleep, the demand for our resources is
greatly reduced, allowing healing and regeneration to take place.
Thus we will be healthier, and more productive, if we get adequate
sleep. Surprising as it might seem, you won’t accomplish more by
sleeping fewer hours, as you will actually be less productive during
The influence sleep
deprivation might have on you as an employee could vary, depending
on your particular profession, and position. For example, it is
especially critical for any manager, whose communication skills are
important in order to adequately motivate employees and help
maintain their job satisfaction. Employee turnover, and re-training,
is something every company should attempt to keep to a minimum.
if insomnia is a problem, try avoiding diet sodas containing
aspartame (NutraSweet™ or Equal™), as they can block the formation
of melatonin and serotonin, contributing to both insomnia and
depression. Some people drink alcohol to relax in the evening.
Although they may fall asleep easily, they don’t stay asleep, and
normally wake up between 2 and 4 a.m. Excessive alcohol or drugs,
such as Valium™, or SSRI antidepressants such as Prozac, completely
inhibit the important REM sleep, when the most regeneration takes
place. Some people claim that tobacco calms them down, although
nicotine actually mimics the effects of adrenaline, promoting
insomnia. Hunger can definitely disturb your restorative sleep,
(especially a concern with hypoglycemics). A protein snack before
retiring should help. Taking 6 mg. of melatonin before going to
sleep increases your chances of getting a good night’s rest.
Attitude Makes All The Difference!
plays an important role in developing job satisfaction. Nothing
contributes to drowsiness faster than boredom, which can often be
eliminated with a minor attitude adjustment. You might consider
striving to become Employee of the Month – every single month. And
avoid stress whenever possible. If you feel you are in hyper-drive,
and thus have difficulty focusing, try taking the amino acid L-theanine,
made from green tea. It stimulates the calming amino acid GABA in
the brain, and produces the more mentally productive alpha waves,
which helps you stay focused. L-theanine is especially beneficial
for a Type-A individual, or anyone working at a stressful job.
might help to pretend that you are a silent partner, as your
motivation and performance plays an important part in your company’s
success, and your job security. Always have a cheerful up-beat
attitude, and be a team player. It’s amazing how rapidly time passes
when you develop the proper attitude. If you are required to spend
time away from home, you might as well make sure it’s quality time.
is the kind of individual every manager is looking for. And when it
comes to advancement, they are the first to be considered, and the
last the company would want to lose when laying off employees due to
incorporating these recommendations, your afternoons can be every
bit as productive as your mornings, and rather than “crashing” after
work, you can finally spend quality time with your friends or family
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