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3pm — it’s that time of the day where we all start to get a little bit hungrier, and a little less productive. Plans of a post work gym session become much less appealing and suddenly, you’ve already organised to ditch your 5:30pm HIIT class and meet friends out for drinks instead.

As we all know, the curse that is the 3pm slump can be difficult to overcome, especially in a healthy way. At this time, we often want to reach for something that is going to give us a quick burst of energy such as lollies, chocolate or caffeine.

To help you out, we’ve complied a list of 5 of our favourite tips to avoid the 3pm slump.

1. Have a Nutritious Lunch

One of the best ways to set yourself up for a productive afternoon is to make sure you’re eating a lunch packed with protein and complex carbohydrates. A good source of protein will help sustain you for the afternoon, while the carbohydrates will provide a slow release of energy.

A simple formula to follow for a filling and healthy lunch is to fill a container with a portion of protein the size of your fist, a portion of complex carbs the size of your fist such as brown rice or sweet potato and then to fill up the bowl with your choice of veggies, salad and seasoning.

A simple, healthy lunch option is to make different flavoured salad bowls using rice, veggies and your choice of protein.

2. Stay Hydrated

When the sugar cravings start to hit at 3pm, you may be mistaking your sweet tooth for dehydration. Believe it or not, as little as 1% drop in body water can negatively affect cognition and mood, which may be an explanation for our 3pm laziness.

While downing enough water is much easier said than done, a good tip is to treat yourself to a tea or naturally flavoured mineral water when you’re starting to feel hungry and lethargic. This will both hydrate you and hopefully curb those sweet cravings.

3. Have Heathy Snacks on Hand

While staying hydrated is key to avoiding the 3pm slump, sometimes you really do need a snack to get you through the rest of the day, which is totally ok!

The key to smart afternoon snacking is to choose foods that are high in protein. A protein rich afternoon snack will keep you feeling full until dinner, as opposed to a sugary snack that may have you reaching for more throughout the afternoon.

Some examples of smart afternoon snacks are:

  • Edamame beans
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Banana with peanut butter
  • Plain yoghurt

4. Step Away from the Screen

For those of us who spend all day staring at a screen, the blue light can strain our eyes, making us feel very tired and ultimately unmotivated as the day closes in.

A great way to avoid this is to give yourself regular active screen breaks throughout the day. No, this doesn’t mean moving away to check your phone, but instead standing up from your desk and taking a five-minute walk around the office or, better yet, outside if you’re able to.

Studies show that a mid-afternoon walk can reduce stress and improve productivity at work.

5.Get a Good Night’s Sleep

While it may seem obvious, getting a good night’s sleep is imperative to avoid that mid-afternoon slump.

As well as helping you feel more energised throughout the day, getting the right amount of sleep is crucial for health and wellbeing, including benefits such as increased immunity, reduced stress levels, a clear mind, improved mood and lowered risk for serious health problems.