Feeling sleepy after lunch? Here’s what you can do to prevent it

Takeout lunches that leave you sleepy, tired and unable to focus on your work can be a massive hit to productivity. “The phenomenon of feeling sluggish or sleepy after 2pm is known as ‘postprandial somnolence’ or the ‘post lunch dip’,” explains celebrity nutritionist, Harpeet Pasricha. Mumbai-based nutritional consultant Jaydeep Bhuta attributes it to sudden changes in blood sugar levels. “Foods rich in starch or sugar will result in an insulin spike to break down the amount of sugar in the bloodstream. This spike is why you feel energised during lunch time, but sleepy and unable to focus in a few hours once the level crashes,” he says. “Carbohydrate-rich foods like pasta and rice and tryptophan-rich foods like eggs and cheese lead to an increase in insulin levels, which also causes an increased production of melatonin and serotonin,” Pasricha adds.

Have too many meetings lined up in the second half of the day and can’t afford to feel glazed over? This is what you can do to fight the lethargy before it starts.

Eat smaller meals

Smaller meals through the days can help avoid that major spike. While eating right is important, how you eat is just as critical. “Inculcate a gadget-free meal and stay away from any diversions. Concentrating on what you are eating and chewing your food well allows a stronger connection between your brain and gut, thus aiding in proper digestion and making you feel light and comfortable post meals,” advises Pasricha.

Order right

If you’re ordering food in, it’s easy to reach for the quickest, cheapest and easiest option on the takeout menu. However, this could be laden with oil, salt and preservatives, making it worse if you’re already sleepy. “Look for express lunch meals as they are designed to be quick and light. If it includes a non-creamy soup or a salad with some kind of protein, you are on the right track. When it comes to mains, browse the menu for protein and vegetable-based options with more complex carbs like buckwheat, quinoa or brown rice,” advises Rachel Goenka, chef and founder, The Chocolate Spoon Company. “If you order in frequently, try a sandwich with sourdough bread, hummus and veggies instead of just mayonnaise and cheese. A lot of restaurants now do one meal bowls that are also a good option,” she adds. Smoke House Delhi’s chef Jaydeep Mukherjee says choosing foods like “millets, micro greens, legumes and lean and high protein meats” can help as well.


  • Aparrna Gupta

    Transitioning from crafting stories for The Asian Age and Bombay Times to setting beauty trends in Verve, Aparrna Gupta’s journey has always revolved around resonant storytelling. Her prowess in content creation is unparalleled, with articles featured in renowned publications like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, L’Officiel India, Lifestyle Asia, Elle, and Femina. She also excels in content ideation, trend identification, mood board creation, and product styling. Her expertise has proven invaluable to homegrown brands, enabling them to authentically connect with their audience.

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