It’s the same every afternoon. Sometime between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m., your body just hits a brick wall of tiredness, and you feel like putting your head down and taking a nap. Trying to figure out the source of your afternoon slump can feel impossible, especially if you haven’t changed any part of your routine.
Thankfully, we’ve got a solution. We’ll explain what’s causing your midday sleepiness and what you can do to support your energy levels, maintain your focus, and keep barreling through your to-do list during the mid-afternoon hours.
What Causes Afternoon Tiredness?
There are a few different reasons why we naturally experience afternoon fatigue and crave that power nap.
The body’s stress response is more than mental, it’s physical. When you spend your entire morning putting out fires or ruminating over a life event that has you in a bind, you’ll end up mentally and physically exhausted by the afternoon.
Experience stress may also interfere with your ability to get enough sleep at night, which can become a cumulative issue that saps your energy during the day.
Speaking of sleep, if you aren’t getting enough, you’re going to feel tired in the afternoon and likely throughout your entire day. Most adults need somewhere between seven and nine hours of sleep at night, but not all sleep is quality sleep.
Quality sleep is sleep that follows a pattern of REM sleep and NREM sleep. Your body will naturally cycle through these patterns several times each night. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, it could be from factors like improper sleep habits or a work schedule that interferes with your circadian rhythm.
The average American diet includes a variety of pre-packaged convenience foods and fast foods that, unfortunately, contain energy-zapping ingredients like added sugar and trans fats. The problem is compounded when we reach for an afternoon pick-me-up that consists of a cup of coffee and a donut.
The simple carbs in the donut cause your blood sugar levels to spike and then crash, leaving you feeling even more tired than you were to begin with.
Poor eating habits can make you tired but can also dramatically harm your health. Improving your diet is essential for maintaining longevity and experiencing a rise in your energy levels.
Your morning latte may be to blame for your lack of energy in the afternoon. Caffeine intake can contribute to low energy levels. For starters, drinking coffee as soon as you wake up may suppress your body’s cortisol levels, which are necessary to help you feel awake.
Second, caffeine is a diuretic. Drinking cup after cup of coffee can cause you to lose hydration, which can make you feel tired by early afternoon. Third, caffeine has a half-life of five hours. That means half of it remains in your bloodstream five hours after you drink it. Drinking coffee too late in the afternoon could interfere with your ability to get a good night’s sleep.
Last but not least, coffee consumption leads to caffeine tolerance. The more you drink it, the more you need to feel the same effects. Eventually, you may not feel the energy boost from your coffee, but you’re still getting the negative impacts (like dehydration and sleep issues).
It’s true your body sources energy from glucose broken down from carbohydrates. However, simple carbs like sugar and white bread break down quickly in the bloodstream, causing the spike-and-crash scenario that can leave you feeling tired.
Instead of searching for a sugary snack, look for complex carbohydrates to combat drowsiness and help your energy burn longer and stronger.
How Can You Support Your Energy in the Afternoon?
No matter your age, you can enjoy energy that lasts throughout the afternoon with a few simple tips and changes.
Try a Greens Powder
Haven’t tried a greens powder yet? What are you waiting for?
Greens powders are superfood-packed, nutrient-dense dietary supplements that help you fill in nutritional gaps and give your body the ingredients they need to thrive.
L’Evate You Vitality Daily Greens offers a blend of nine greens and thirty superfoods to give you the essential vitamins and minerals you need to support numerous bodily functions, including healthy metabolism and energy balance.
We also throw in our proprietary M-Charge Complex, a blend of compounds that dive into your cells and supercharge their mitochondria, where cellular energy is created. Better functioning mitochondria means a better functioning you.
You’ll also get protection from oxidative stress in the form of antioxidants. Antioxidants are nature’s anti-aging compounds, found in plants and made available to your body in one of the three flavors of our powders.
To protect your gut health, our powders also contain a blend of probiotics and prebiotics, so you can support your body’s natural immune function, experience regularity and balance with digestion, and avoid common digestion issues like bloating and constipation.
The mushroom blend in L’Evate You Vitality Daily Greens includes a variety of mushrooms trusted in traditional medicine for years to support mood, mental clarity, and even healthy cholesterol and sodium levels.
Drink More Water
Dehydration can make you tired, and drinking more caffeinated beverages can lead to dehydration. Instead of your afternoon mocha, try a glass of water with your favorite flavor of greens powder mixed in. You’ll support your hydration levels and practically every other aspect of your health all in one go.
Have a Balanced Snack
A mid-afternoon snack isn’t a bad idea unless you make a bad choice. Skip the pastries and anything else that might be lurking on the break room counter. Balance your snack plate with healthy fats (like walnuts, seeds, and nut butters), protein, and slow-burning complex carbohydrates.
For a balance of healthy, energy-sustaining ingredients, try our Vitality Daily Greens drink recipes.
If you have a sleep disorder (like sleep apnea) you’ll need to discuss your options with your doctor. If you’re just experiencing occasional sleeplessness, you can take measures to improve your sleep quality:
- Maintain a consistent sleep schedule, even on the weekends. That means going to bed and waking up at the same time.
- Get rest when you accumulate a sleep debt. Sleep debt is the amount of sleep you didn’t get but that your body needed. For instance, if you need eight hours of sleep at night and only get six, you have a sleep debt of two hours.
- Practice good sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene refers to the steps you take to prepare yourself for bed (like reading a book, avoiding bright light, or gently unwinding from your workday).
You can get better sleep with a little practice and consistency, which can dramatically change your energy levels throughout your day.
Skipping meals may lead to fatigue. If you find yourself getting tired between breakfast and lunchtime, grab a snack instead of coffee. It’s also possible to break your meals into several mini-meals to keep your metabolism fires stoked and support more sustainable energy levels.
Instead of getting three squares a day, aim for six mini-meals you eat every two or three hours. This can help you avoid feeling tired between meals and may even help you ward off the desire for sugary afternoon snacks.
Fatigue hates physical activity. If you’re feeling like you need a siesta, try a quick walk instead. Increasing blood flow helps support natural energy levels and also helps prepare your body for the sleep it will eventually need.
Adding movement to your routine doesn’t have to come in the form of a gym membership. Finding ways to add movement to your daily routine just takes a little creativity. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk to the diner for lunch instead of taking a cab. Get outdoors and enjoy the weather when it’s nice.
These are all ways to support your energy levels and increase your activity levels.
The Bottom Line
If you’re tired, there’s a good reason why. Our energy levels often tank because of lifestyle habits we don’t realize aren’t good for us. Making simple changes help support our energy levels and increase them over time.
It’s not an overnight fix, so be ready to go the distance. Improving your energy levels will happen gradually. While you’re working on your sleep and diet, add a scoop of greens powder to your health stack lineup. You’ll enjoy the benefits of nine greens and 30 superfoods while you work to regain your edge and stay feeling youthful.