When you are organising a conference at one of the many beautiful Cheshire conference venues, you want to make sure that your attendees are awake and engaged throughout the entire event. However, the most difficult time to keep people alert and focused is during what is known as the “after lunch slump” in the hours of 1-3pm. During this time many people start to feel drowsy, find it more difficult to concentrate and struggle to be productive and alert.
Why Do We Lose Focus After Lunch?
There are a few reasons why this period in the afternoon is one of the lowest productivity points in the day. First of all, it can have to do with what we eat for lunch. When our glucose level spikes after we eat a large meal that contains a lot of carbs and sugar, this has been shown to inhibit orexin production – which is a neurotransmitter in the brain that regulates wakefulness. This causes us to feel drowsy and tired as our body processes the large meal we just ate. Digesting a large meal also causes the body to release serotonin and melatonin, which are hormones that will make you feel sleepy.
Another reason is due to your circadian rhythm. This is the 24 hour cycle that regulates all of the processes in the body, including sleep, digestion, energy and appetite. If they follow a normal schedule, most people’s circadian rhythm will dip at around 1-3pm, which explains why they feel sleepy in the afternoon. Studies have shown that this will occur even if you have had no lunch or if you are unaware of the hour of the day.
How Can You Avoid This?
If you are an event organiser you don’t want people to be nodding off while they are listening to the guest speakers at your event. You want them fully engaged and taking in the information – so how can you prevent the after lunch slump? Here are some tips that you can keep in mind when organising an event, such as a conference at one of the hotels in Chester:
- If you are planning events for the night before, make sure that they don’t go on too late. You want your conferences guests to get a good rest and have enough energy for the next day.
- When choosing food for your event, make sure that you are offering choices that will leave your delegates feeling energised rather than sluggish.
- Avoid serving high calorie, high sugar, high carb snacks such as donuts, muffins and cakes. They will cause a sugar high and then a subsequent crash that will have everyone snoozing in their chairs. Instead, offer fruit, veggies and dip and light wholegrain sandwich quarters.
- When selecting the lunch for the conference remember that if attendees consume too many calories they will start to feel groggy in the afternoon. The lunch should be light, filling and healthy and should contain no more than 800 calories. Try serving a health option such as chicken, tuna or turkey with brown rice and vegetables, which will be high in protein, low fat and low carbohydrate.
- Serving coffee at lunch will also help your delegates to perk themselves up for the afternoon, so that they will not be dozing off during the conference. The coffee station should be open all afternoon, so that anyone who is starting to feel sleepy can come back and refuel with some more caffeine.
- Encourage your conference attendees to stay hydrated. Being dehydrated makes people tired, so equip your conference with a water cooler and offer cups so that everyone can drink water throughout the conference.
- Get physical! One sure fire way to keep everyone awake and alert is to get them up on their feet and arrange an activity. For example, you could schedule a walking tour for the afternoon, or you could get everyone standing up and mingling for a “get to know you” activity. If you can get people on their feet doing things rather than sitting down after lunch, you will be much more successful in avoiding the afternoon slump.
These are just a few ways that you can ensure your event doesn’t suffer from the dreaded after lunch slump. With these tips you will be able to keep your conference delegates awake, alert and engaged all throughout the afternoon.