What really causes the afternoon slump we all experience from time to time? There are numerous ways we all try to fight it off and avoid falling asleep, but the energy dip still occurs, no matter what we do.
So, what does really happen in our brains when we experience an energy dip in the afternoon?
It’s All About Rewards
Our brain has something which is referred to as the reward center. It is actually a large portion of the forebrain, and it’s called the putamen. When you receive an unexpected reward, this part of your brain gets very active. When you don’t get the reward you’ve expected, its circuits are at their lowest. It’s really as simple as that.
What Scientist Say
In spite of all previous misconceptions, a research team from the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia has shown that the energy dip in the afternoon is actually linked to the way the reward center in the human brain works. Researcher Jamie Byrne says it’s monitored by the brain’s body clock which regulates most physical and mental processes over a 24-hour cycle.
In her study, Byrne learned that the reward center was consistently the least active at 2 p.m. This basically means that the energy dip in the afternoon takes place because we didn’t get any expected rewards. The future of neuroscientific research may shed some more light on this rather interesting subject.
When you feel the energy dip in the afternoon, the brain’s reward center enters its least active mode. That’s basically your brain telling you that you didn’t reward yourself properly. So, next time you start feeling low in the afternoon, make sure you have a reward ready, anything you like really.