You know the answer – afternoon – but probably not the nuances that will help you make a better decision when scheduling a test, provided it’s an option.
All of us have experienced post-lunch dip, sleepiness, when (this period is also called nap zone) it can be extremely difficult to get anything done.
To quote John Medina, a leading authority on brain study and founding director of two brain research institutes, from Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School:
At first, scientists didn’t believe the nap zone existed except as an artifact of sleep deprivation. That has changed. We now know that some people feel it more intensely than others. We know it is not related to a big lunch (although a big lunch, especially one loaded with carbs, can greatly increase its intensity)…. Regardless of the cause, the nap zone matters, because our brains don’t work as well during it.
To summarize Dr. Medina:
Nap zone is not a result of sleep deprivation. Irrespective of how well rested you are, you’ll feel sleepy in the nap zone, intensity varying from person to person. (I fall in high intensity group.)
Contrary to popular belief, nap zone happens with or without lunch, though a big lunch will worsen it.
And our brains don’t work well in nap zone.
What are the implications for you?
If you think you can have a light meal and be efficient in the afternoon, think twice. Even a light meal won’t take away the effects of nap zone, and your brain will work sub-optimally.
That’s the reason why it’s fatal to address an audience in the afternoon (now we know it’s more than lunch), and why more traffic accidents occur during the nap zone than at any other time of the day (source: Brain Rules).
However, if you don’t have the option to schedule your test – which is the case more often than not – and if it falls in the nap zone, the best you can do is to have a light lunch.
Question: Does nap zone affect you? If yes, how do you combat it?