knows that feeling! Suddenly at about 3 p.m., you find your eyes beginning to close while you’re trying to focus on your computer screen. You begin to yawn – more than once and can’t seem to stop. You probably find yourself going to grab a coffee or taking a walk around the office. If you can get out into the fresh air, you know that will help out a little. Sooner or later after any combination of those things, you begin to feel a little more awake and you’re ready to deal with the rest of the work day. Sound familiar?

Today we found a new study that links that mid-day slump to the foods we eat. Coming out of the Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania, researchers followed 31 healthy, non-obese normal sleeping (no sleep apnea) adults ranging in age from 18 to 65 years old. Participants spent four consecutive nights in a sleep lab. On the fourth day, objective sleepiness was assessed and participants were given five meals in order to assess diet.

Results show that higher fat consumption was associated with increased daytime sleepiness, while higher carbohydrate intake was associated with increased alertness. There was no relationship between protein consumption and sleepiness or alertness. These findings held true regardless of the subjects’ gender, age, and body mass index as well as the total amount of sleep they were getting and their total caloric intake. So even if one participant got less sleep the night before than another, but consumed more fat during the day, that participant felt the effects of mid-day slump.

Fat consumption had a noticeable and significant affect on alertness. The authors noted that previous studies had found a link between diet and subjective sleepiness. This new study adds to those prior findings linking fat consumption to objective sleepiness. They also noted that excessive daytime fatigue is on the rise worldwide and that fatigue can have a negative effect on the level at which an individual is capable of functioning as well as presenting concerns for public safety.

So the next time you’re sitting at your desk in the afternoon sensing the drooping of your eyelids and looking longingly towards the office coffee machine, suggests that you take silent inventory of your daily diet. There are many good reasons to be aware of our fat consumption. Maybe mid-day slump is trying to help us take care of our health by telling us to cut down on the fat. It’s good for our weight, it’s good for our heart and it will help us stay more alert for more hours during what we all hope will be a productive day!