We’ve all been there. You’re in the middle of the afternoon, exhausted and struggling to keep your eyes open. You feel like you could take a nap right there at your desk. You’re not alone. Millions of people suffer from afternoon fatigue and just want to sleep. But don’t worry, there are ways to wake yourself up and beat the afternoon slump.
Why do I get tired in the afternoon?
There are a few scientific explanations for the afternoon slump. For one, our bodies are naturally programmed to have a lull in energy around this time. Our internal clocks, or circadian rhythms, tell our bodies when it’s time to wake up, eat, and sleep. So when it’s 2 pm, we may naturally start to feel a bit tired. We also tend to consume less water in the afternoon, which can lead to dehydration and fatigue. In addition, we tend to eat heavier meals for lunch, which can make us feel sluggish. And if we’ve had a sugary drink or snack, that can cause an energy crash as well. All of these factors can contribute to the dreaded afternoon slump. Finally, after a morning of mental stimulation, our brains may simply be running out of steam.
Tips to stay awake in the afternoon
1. Eat a healthy snack
Your afternoon slump might be caused by what you ate for lunch. If you’re feeling tired, reach for a snack that will give you sustained energy rather than a sugar-induced crash. Nuts, fruit, yogurt, and whole-grain bread are all great options that will help regulate blood sugar and keep you feeling full and focused until dinnertime.
2. Stretch, exercise, or just walk
Sitting in the same position all day is not only bad for your posture, but it can also make you feel sluggish. To feel invigorated, you need to get the blood flowing to your brain and muscles. A study shows that going to the gym in the afternoon not only energizes you but also increases productivity. Take a few minutes every hour or so to walk around, stretch, or just do some simple exercises at your desk.
3. Take some deep breaths
Taking deep, slow breaths can also increase blood flow to the brain and help improve focus. Taking a few minutes for some mindful breathing or meditation can also help clear your mind and reduce stress. So take a few deep breaths and try to relax. It’ll help improve your energy levels in the long run.
4. Listen to energetic music
Listening to upbeat music can have a positive effect on mood and energy levels. Create a playlist of your favorite energetic songs and listen to them in the afternoon. It’ll help you feel more motivated and pumped up for the rest of the day.
5. Laugh out loud
Laughter has been shown to increase endorphins and boost energy levels. It can also decrease the levels of stress hormones (cortisol), makes breathing easier, and improves blood pressure. So watch a funny video, call up a friend who always makes you laugh, or read some jokes online–whatever it takes to bring some laughter into your afternoon.
6. Take a power nap
There’s nothing wrong with admitting that you need a little break in the afternoon. If possible, take a 20-minute power nap to reenergize yourself for the rest of the day. Just make sure you set an alarm so you don’t end up sleeping through your evening plans!
7. Drink some water
Dehydration can cause fatigue, so make sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day. If you’re not a big fan of plain water, try adding some lemon or cucumber slices to jazz it up a bit.
8. Get some fresh air
If possible, step outside for a few minutes during your lunch break or afternoon to clear your head and get some fresh air into your lungs. Just a few minutes outside can work wonders for your energy levels!
9. Avoid caffeine in the late morning
Caffeine may give you a temporary boost, but it can also lead to an energy crash later on. So if possible, try to limit your caffeine to the morning and opt for more natural ways to increase energy levels.
10. Keep a positive attitude
It may sound like a cliche, but having a positive mindset can go a long way in improving energy levels. Instead of dreading the afternoon energy crash, approach it with a can-do attitude and find strategies to stay awake and productive.
11. Remember to listen to your body
Above all, remember to listen to your body and give yourself enough rest. If you find that you’re consistently tired in the afternoon, it may be a sign that you need more sleep or perhaps even a change in routine or lifestyle. Take care of yourself and prioritize self-care to have the best shot at boosting energy later in the day.
Commit to an afternoon routine to boost your energy
If you’re extra tired, it might be time to consider making an afternoon routine like your morning routine. You can tailor it just for you to help get you motivated and moving. Choose a few of the suggestions above (or come up with some of your own) and make it a daily habit to boost your energy in the afternoon, regardless if you need a boost that day. Once you establish a routine, it will become second nature and help prevent an afternoon energy crash. You’ll feel reinvigorated and prepared to finish the day strong!