When it comes to energy, do you ever hit the afternoon wall? For many people, there comes a time—generally around 2 pm to 3 pm—where you’re suddenly and inexplicably exhausted. Your eyes start to droop, your energy seems sapped, and thoughts drift.
Experiencing the afternoon doldrums is normal. In fact, it’s physiological. And it’s especially common if you’re in the same setting all day, such as your workplace or a classroom.
But why does this slump seem to come out of nowhere? And how can you mitigate it, if not eliminate it, without relying on caffeine?
Today, we’ll answer why you get tired in the afternoon and propose some healthy ways you can proactively address it, like taking natural liquid energy supplements.
Why Do I Get Sleepy In the Afternoon?
Afternoon sleepiness is intrinsically tied to your circadian cycle. This is the biological clock that regulates your sleep and wake rhythms. It determines when you feel alert and when you feel tired. Per Pubmed:1
“The sleep-wake cycle is normally timed to occur at a specific phase relative to the external cycle of light-dark exposure. It is also timed at a specific phase relative to internal circadian rhythms, such as the pineal melatonin rhythm, the circadian sleep-wake propensity rhythm, and the rhythm of responsiveness of the circadian pacemaker to light.”
This late-day energy lull is natural. Both adults and children often experience an afternoon mini-cycle that mimics the drowsiness you tend to feel before you go to sleep.
In fact, according to Ph.D. Michael J. Breus,2
“It has to do with a dip in your core body temperature. Right before you go to sleep at night, your core temperature begins to drop, which is a signal to the brain to release melatonin. The exact same thing happens on a smaller scale between 2 and 4 in the afternoon. It's a mini-signal to your brain to get sleepy."
What Are the Symptoms of the Afternoon Slump?
For some, the afternoon crash hits harder than others. You may not even notice it’s happening because you’ve become accustomed to the lethargy. However, there are several common symptoms of the afternoon slump, including:
- Fatigue or lethargy
- Falling asleep
- Fighting sleep
- Frequent yawning
- Food cravings
- Trouble focusing
- Muscle weakness
Some people may experience a more acute sense of afternoon fatigue. While part of this is biological, there also could be underlying medical issues that you should be aware of.
Although a circadian rhythm slump is a healthy bodily response, if you experience intense feelings of lethargy there may be some underlying health issues that exacerbate it—namely, potentially serious metabolic disorders.
Metabolic disorders occur when abnormal chemical reactions within the body occur, negatively impacting the metabolism process. There may be either too much or too little of the vital substances your body relies upon to function and stay healthy.
Extreme tiredness could be a warning indicator that you are in the early stages of one of three metabolic disorders:
- Prediabetes – People in this category have higher than healthy blood sugar levels. At this stage, it’s not high enough to be categorized as type 2 diabetes, but if changes aren’t made to your diet, exercise, and sleep, it likely will develop into that.3
- Insulin resistance – Insulin resistance is a common issue for people who have severe allergies, thyroid disorders, and polycystic ovarian syndrome.4 It’s a condition in which your body responds poorly to insulin, which causes the pancreas to overproduce it. This could also be a precursor for type 2 diabetes.
- Type 2 diabetes – Also known as adult-onset diabetes, type 2 is often the result of too much sugar circulating in the bloodstream, raising normal sugar levels so high that it impacts the circulatory, nervous, and immune systems. With type 2, your pancreas underproduces insulin and your cells don’t react normally to insulin, thus taking in less sugar.
Should you experience abnormal lethargy, consult your doctor as soon as possible.
How Can You Fight the Mid Afternoon Slump? 9 Strategies
Many people try to combat the daily doldrums with caffeine. But whether it’s coffee, soda, or energy drinks, all of these “pick-me-ups'' often end up being a crutch. Over time, they’re bad for your health. Not to mention a crash tends to follow once the initial effects wear off.
Fortunately, if you’re interested in learning how to gain energy naturally, there are plenty of ways you can prevent or reduce the feelings of daytime sleepiness. These include:
#1 Get More Sleep
If you are regularly sleep-deprived or frequently experience poor sleep, that can take a toll on your physical and mental wellbeing. It can also throw off your circadian rhythm. When you’re running on a sleep deficit, it adds up. Eventually, your body will crave quality sleep. So, the natural time for this to occur is in the afternoon when your body begins to mimic the nighttime circadian cycle. Doctors recommend that a healthy adult should get at least 7 hours of sleep at night.5
#2 Change Your Diet
Poor eating habits can contribute to excessive sleepiness, especially if you’re lacking the nutrients your body needs to fuel it. A diet that has too many carbs may not be enough to power you through the day. So, if you’re wondering, “why do I get so tired in the afternoon,” take a look at what you’re eating for lunch. Also, be sure to increase your protein intake and decrease your carbohydrate intake, especially at lunch.
High protein foods include:
- Greek yogurt
#3 Take Energy-Enhancing Supplements & Vitamins
Want all of the energy but no jitters? Consider some of the best energy supplements for chronic fatigue. These are liquid energy supplements that use natural ingredients and science-backed delivery systems to ensure that your body is properly fueled. For instance, Cymbiotika offers several organic blends of vitamins and nutrients that enhance moods, cognitive function, and energy levels. Be sure to check out our natural supplements for focus if cognitive function is one of your main goals.
Top choices include:
Like food and sleep, hydration is an important part of ensuring that your body is functioning at maximum capacity. Dehydration often leads to mental fatigue. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommend that adult men should drink approximately 3.7 liters of water and women, 2.7 liters.6
#5 Spend Some Time in the Sun
Going outside for 5-10 minutes is not only a nice way to change your scenery and prevent monotony from setting in, but it also helps you reset your circadian rhythm. This will reduce the amount of melatonin being released and simultaneously increase Vitamin D intake.
#6 Move Around
If you’re sitting slumped at your desk staring at a computer screen all day, that can negatively impact your energy levels, particularly if you’re working on something that’s either dull or mentally exhausting. To combat this, get up from your desk and take a walk around the block, or climb some stairs, or do some pushups. Anything you can do to increase blood flow will help re-energize you.
Stress and anxiety can decrease your ability to stay focused and alert. It can also impact your sleep. Some stress is inevitable, but there are activities you can do to help release pressure. This includes:
- Relaxation exercises
- Breathing exercises
- Expressing gratitude
- Taking CBD supplements
- Reducing your caffeine intake
#8 Take Breaks
The brain is a muscle. Just like any other muscle in your body, when it works hard, fatigue eventually sets in. After a certain time window—somewhere between 90-120 minutes—it has trouble maintaining focus. Taking 10-20 minute breaks once every 2-3 hours can help reduce the mental strain that accrues throughout the day. By reenergizing your brain, you make it easier to concentrate later on.
Humans are social creatures. Interacting with others is an important way you can better your physical and emotional health. If you know that you often get tired between 2-4, it may be smart to take that quick break to talk with a coworker—whether it’s about something work-related or just to chat.
Get Energized with Cymbiotika
Afternoon slumps are normal physiological responses. But poor eating, drinking or exercising, or sleeping habits can contribute to the frequency and strength of excessive daytime sleepiness.
Fortunately, for most people, there are easy and healthy ways you can increase your energy levels. This is where Cymbiotika is a game-changer.
Every Cybiotika energizing supplement is precisely formulated with a blend of the highest quality ingredients available. Every product is organic, non-GMO, and utilizes a patented delivery technology for maximum bioavailability.
Want to kiss your afternoon sleepiness goodbye?
Check out Cymbiotika’s energy collection to change the way you work and play.
- PubMed. Integration of human sleep-wake regulation and circadian rhythmicity. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11796701/
- Web MD. Afternoon Energy Boosters. https://www.webmd.com/balance/features/afternoon-energy-boosters
- Mayoclinic. Prediabetes. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prediabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20355278
- The Balance. Know the signs of a metabolic disorder. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/afternoon-fatigue-causes-3514758
- Mayoclinic. How many hours of sleep are enough for good health? https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/how-many-hours-of-sleep-are-enough/faq-20057898
- The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine. https://www.nationalacademies.org/news/2004/02/report-sets-dietary-intake-levels-for-water-salt-and-potassium-to-maintain-health-and-reduce-chronic-disease-risk