Picture this: It’s 3:00 pm, and you’re nearing the end of your workday, but not quite there yet. You still have two or three important tasks that you want to finish before leaving, but you just can’t seem to find the focus and energy to do so. The yawning is becoming constant, your eyes are getting heavy, and you keep going off in your thoughts and daydreaming about taking a nice long nap. This is pretty much what an afternoon “slump” or energy crash feels like, and it’s completely normal.
At one point or another, we’ve all experienced a lack of energy and decreased productivity in the middle of the afternoon. Most of the time if we push forward or take a break, this feeling subsides and we can power through the rest of our day. There are multiple different reasons why you could be experiencing sleepiness in the afternoon, but there is a physiological factor at play as well. In this article, we will discuss why you might be experiencing fatigue in the afternoon and what you can do about it.
What causes afternoon fatigue?
You’ve probably heard about our body’s “circadian rhythm” before and maybe wondered how it plays a role in our sleep-wake cycle. A circadian rhythm is basically the body’s internal clock, and when functioning at its best can promote restorative and sound sleep. In a perfect world, our circadian rhythm is on point and our sleep hygiene is excellent, making for a night of quality sleep and a day full of energy.
Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world and there are many external and internal factors that can cause our internal clocks to be thrown off and make for daytime sleepiness and afternoon fatigue. Our circadian rhythm is controlled by the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) which is located in the part of the brain called the hypothalamus. One of the main functions of the hypothalamus is regulating bodily functions in accordance with daily light. Other cues of alertness and vice versa that the SCN gives the hypothalamus include exercise, social activity, temperature, and more! Due to our busy lifestyles, it’s therefore pretty easy for our circadian rhythms to get thrown off and these are some of the most common ways this happens:
- Shift work
- Daylight savings
- Mental Health disorders
- Changes in routine
Our bodies love consistency, especially when it comes to sleep. One of the best ways you can achieve a healthy sleep cycle and circadian rhythm is by going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time in the morning. Your body will get used to this routine and in accordance provide you with deep rest and more energy throughout your day.
How to Avoid an Afternoon Crash:
When you start to feel your energy dipping around midday that’s usually a good sign you need to switch things up. Instead of sitting and staring at your computer screen lacking productivity, here are some things you can do to get yourself back on track:
- Get Outside: There’s nothing like taking advantage of fresh air and a sunny day when you’re feeling like your energy is low. Not only does sunlight provide you with a healthy dose of Vitamin D, which has a plethora of benefits, but it also boosts the chemical in your brain called serotonin. This exposure will leave you feeling more calm, positive, and focused.
- Move your body: One of the best ways you can fight fatigue in the afternoon is by getting up and getting moving. Many of us don’t have the time to hit up the gym during the middle of our workday, but one thing you can do is go for a short walk, do some jumping jacks, get in some light cardio, or stretch your body. Since you’ll already be fueled from breakfast and lunch earlier in the day, this movement will definitely give you a boost in your productivity. Exercising for even a few minutes will get the blood flowing, heart beating, and provide you with some healthy endorphins!
- Eat more protein: Not consuming enough protein throughout the day could definitely be a culprit for afternoon fatigue. While carbohydrates are usually good for a short-term boost of energy, eating adequate protein will help you in the long run of your day. Food is fuel and if you’re not eating enough calories or balanced meals including healthy fats, protein, and complex carbs then you might feel that usual energy dip creep up on you later in the day. Some of the best sources of protein you can eat at lunch include eggs, tuna, salmon, chicken, tofu, legumes, and chickpeas.
- Stay hydrated: Are you drinking enough water throughout the day? Health experts recommend having at least 8 glasses of water per day, give or take how much you’re exercising. One of the most common causes of fatigue that doctors discover is dehydration. Not drinking enough fluids can impact many aspects of your health such as frequent headaches, painful bowel movements, mood swings, and more! One way you can ensure you’ll feel more alert and focused is by getting your recommended dose of fluids per day.
- Ignite your senses: We often don’t think about it, but our five senses play a big role in how we perceive our environment and the world around us. Two of our senses that are engaged by external factors are our sense of smell and sound. Although there is no scientific evidence that supports aromatherapy or essential oils being a cure for illness and ailments, there are some studies that show great benefits of using them. Some of the best essential oils you can use to promote mental clarity and energy include peppermint oil, lemon oil, lavender, and frankincense. To get started you can use some of these oils topically or within a diffuser while you’re getting some work done in the afternoon. Another awesome way to get your senses and energy fired up is by listening to music. Music and sound have the ability to promote a change of emotions within. So next time you’re feeling the 3pm crash coming on, try putting on your favorite song and dancing around the room for a little bit.
- Take energy-boosting supplements: Another amazing way to provide yourself with an energy boost during the day is by taking supplements. In North America, nearly 10% of the population is nutritionally deficient, and in general, we are consuming more processed foods than ever. If you’re constantly feeling fatigued, you may be missing some key vitamins and nutrients that are impacting your energy levels. At NutraChamps we have a wide range of energy-boosting supplements that may be right for you. Some of these include: Korean Panax Ginseng, SuperGreens, Maca, Focused Energy, B complex, and more! To view our full range of energy enhancing supplements you can visit our website nutrachamps.com
If you’re feeling constant fatigue that is impacting the quality of your life we always recommend consulting with a doctor or health professional. There is almost always an underlying cause for your fatigue. With these tips, your afternoon slumps will hopefully become more manageable and provide you with clarity, focus, and a positive mood.
What is your favorite way to boost your energy in the afternoon? Let us know in our comment section at the bottom of this blog! If you leave us a comment you’ll be entered to win our Energy & Performance bundle! You have until May, 25th 2022 before this giveaway closes. Good luck!
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