common client concerns, answered: the 3pm crash

24 March 2016

In my practice I definitely encounter some unique situations, but there are those reoccurring questions and concerns it seems like everyone battles with.  In this new series, I will break down some general burdens and address the real stuff we probably have all at one point or another had to deal with.  First up:

“How to do I prevent a 3pm crash?”
Typical symptoms: mid afternoon fatigue and low energy, difficulty concentrating, craving for chocolate or sweets, the need to run to the vending machine, the nearest Starbucks or toward the plate of cookies/cupcakes your co-worker brought in.


Balanced eating

I stress to anyone that will listen the importance of balancing blood sugar levels throughout the day.  By adding quality protein (think nuts, seeds, organic eggs), good fats (avocado, olives, nuts) and fibre (veggies, beans, sweet potato) to meals and snacks while avoiding simple carbohydrates (white sugar, white rice, white bread, processed grains like pretzels and crackers) we prevent the sugar spikes and complementary dips associated with quickly digesting starches.  For example, if you start your day off with an egg with avocado vs a sugary cereal for breakfast, you will notice more stable energy, satiation and a reduction in cravings throughout the morning.  Apply these eating principles to the rest of your day and 3pm will breeze by.


Drink lots of water (or herbal tea)

A super simple way to prevent afternoon fatigue, headaches and your less than normal alertness is making sure to drink water or sip a caffeine (and sugar) free tea throughout the day.  This study shows that even short periods of fluid restriction can lead to impairment in cognitive function, a reduction in perceived alertness and concentration as well as a reported increase in headaches and tiredness.  Although the recommended amount varies by individual, activity level, other foods/drinks consumed that day, I like to loosely follow the 2 litre rule.  Listen to your body and experiment with what feels right for you.  If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, have dry skin, live in a warm climate, are very active or are consuming diuretics (coffee, tea, alcohol), you may need some more.


Choose wisely

Although it should not be dramatic, hunger and a slight reduction in energy is in fact normal around this time of day while serotonin levels naturally dip.  When this happens, instead of grabbing a candy bar or muffin, choose snacks that have natural sweeteners and protein or good fats that will digest slower and keep you full for longer.  One of my favourites is Navitas Power Snacks or a few dates + pistachios.  By having a blood sugar stabilizing snack at this time, you also set yourself up for better choices in the evening.  With blood sugar in check, you will actually feel like taking the time to prep your food and make a home cooked meal, not order the fastest thing on UberEats before you make it through the front door.


We all have good days and bad days.  Days where you fly though emails, work and meetings like it ain’t no thing and then the days that just seems to drag on and on and on…..  There are many factors that contribute to the productivity and general mood of any given day, but one that you can control is how you eat (and drink).  And when done correctly, everything seems to get that much easier.



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