how to prevent tiredness after lunch
Sleep Problems

How To Prevent An Afternoon Energy Crash

We all experience peaks and troughs in our energy levels during the day. The pressures of modern life mean we can seldom take a nap when experiencing low energy or sudden tiredness.

Instead, we must do our utmost to manage and prevent afternoon energy crashes.

Start the day with a wholesome breakfast with low glycemic index (GI) carbs. Don’t consume too much caffeine, swapping your third or fourth coffee for a hydrating glass of water.

It’s unrealistic to expect to remain at peak energy and concentration for 8 hours straight, so schedule breaks and mundane tasks that require less thought into your to-do list.

Periodically stimulating the senses can avoid an afternoon slump. For example, listening to your favorite music during breaks will keep you going through an energy lull.

Why Does My Energy Crash in the Afternoon?

The human body is governed by circadian rhythms that tell us when to sleep and wake up. Less well-known is that circadian rhythms also lead to mid-afternoon energy slumps.

After lunch, usually between 1 PM and 3 PM, the body experiences a dip in core temperature. According to the Journal of Sleep Research, this is comparable to drowsiness at night.

Circadian rhythms signal that it’s time to sleep. Unfortunately, the modern world doesn’t allow for this need. Consequently, we fight this instinct, leading to a sharp decline in vim and vigor.

Everybody experiences different afternoon energy crash symptoms, but they include the following:

  • Inability to stop yawning.
  • Growing irritable or emotional.
  • Tingles, aches, or weakness in the joints or muscles.
  • Blurring at the corner of your vision.
  • Trouble concentrating and taking in new information.
  • Craving sugar or carbohydrates.

In the longer term, your goal should be to prevent a slump in energy from taking hold.

How To Avoid An Afternoon Energy Slump

Assess your sleeping habits if you’re prone to sudden energy crashes every afternoon. Are you getting enough rest? Some people need more than 8 hours of sleep to function optimally.

According to The Lancet, sleep debt can cause significant problems if it accumulates. Adjust your lifestyle if you’re certain the day’s events are behind extreme mid-afternoon fatigue.

Why does my energy crash every afternoon?

Strategic Schedule

You understand your body better than anyone, so you’ll know when you’re likeliest to be most productive and susceptible to an energy crash. Armed with this information, you can plan your daily schedule.

If you usually start the day full of energy and mental clarity, schedule your most demanding or complex duties for this time. If something requires focus, it’ll be far more difficult if you have low energy.

You can schedule a group or collaborative project in the afternoon. If you’re experiencing an energy slump, your mind will soon wander if you have to attend a long meeting.

Projects that require interaction with others are beneficial. Waiting for the day to pass won’t be an option if other people depend on your expertise and interaction.

Occasional Breaks

If you’re tired and fear that a bigger energy crash is on the horizon, don’t ignore it because you’ll eventually slump. You’ll crash even harder if you haven’t taken a break.

Whenever possible, cease what you’re doing. That doesn’t mean wandering off and taking a nap. Just give your mind a chance to reset itself every couple of hours.

Step outside for fresh air or walk around the block if time permits. Perform a basic household task at home, like washing the dishes or hanging out some clothes to dry.

The idea is to step outside your routine and let your mind and body take a breather.

Eat Properly During the Day

Eating appropriately is among the most effective ways to avoid an energy crash. That’s why knowing what to eat for lunch to avoid an afternoon slump is crucial.

Never skip breakfast, even if you don’t relish eating in the morning. Opt for something light that offers slow-release carbohydrates to fuel the body and mind until lunchtime.

Lunch is vital to your afternoon energy levels. It’s no secret that a heavy lunch leaves you feeling bloated and weighed down, resulting in an afternoon energy crash.

Don’t go to the other extreme and eat a light salad. The body needs fuel to function through the afternoon, especially when circadian rhythms dictate that you’d sooner be napping.

Foods like brown rice, bananas, eggs, chickpeas, and avocado toast are proven energy boosters. 

Remain Hydrated

When was the last time you drank a glass of water? As per the British Journal of Nutrition, mild dehydration is often linked to fatigue and slumps in performance.

Experts believe we should drink 8 x 8oz glasses of water daily, but this seldom happens. This means our body’s water reserves are severely depleted by the afternoon and need urgent replacement.

Water should be sipped throughout the day, so don’t just guzzle a liter of water when you feel tired. Keep a bottle by your desk and keep yourself hydrated throughout the day.

Avoid Sugar

If you’re crashing, you may be tempted to opt for a short-term fix.

The sugar in a candy bar from a nearby vending machine and an energy drink will spike your energy temporarily, but this artificial high is unsustainable.

If you’ve had a sugary snack, expect the so-called “sugar rush” to last around 30 to 40 minutes. Then, the body produces excessive insulin to regulate the sharp increase in blood sugar.

You’ll feel just as tired as before, if not more so, once again craving sugar.

Reduced Caffeine

Caffeine blocks adenosine receptors, a chemical compound released that makes us feel tired. Initially, you’ll feel more energized and able to get things done.

Unfortunately, adenosine accumulates as the effects of caffeine wear off, making you feel more tired.

Listen To Music

Listening to music is a pick-me-up, especially when flagging in the afternoon. PLoS One stated that listening to your favorite music reduces stress responses in the body.

The Journal of the American Medical Association also explains that music improves cognitive performance, keeping the mind sharp and hands steady.

how to stop feeling tired in the afternoon


If you’re wondering how to get energy in the afternoon, tiring yourself with physical activity may seem counter-productive. However, physical exercise releases endorphins, boosting your energy levels.

You don’t need to work out for hours. A brisk walk during your lunch break work may do the trick. Work up a mild sweat and spend some time outside, breathing deep lungfuls of fresh air.

Getting exercise in the afternoon will also benefit you later in the evening. You’re likelier to fall into a natural and restful sleep if you have been physically active during the day.

Activate Your Senses

Keeping your senses active means you may avoid an afternoon slump. Energy crashes are exacerbated by monotony and lack of sensation. By shaking things up, you’ll remain stimulated and engaged.

You can release the scent of essential oils through an oil burner at home or in another suitable environment. If not, apply some to your wrists and inhale occasionally.

Studies show that essential oils may stave off an afternoon energy crash. These include:

  • Lemon.
  • Peppermint.
  • Rosemary.
  • Spearmint.
  • Sweet Orange.

The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends peppermint if you need physical energy for manual labor or athletic feats. Sweet orange is connected to replacing lost energy.

If you seek mental sharpness and improved cognitive function, the Alexandria Journal of Medicine suggests rosemary, while Physiological Behavior recommends mixing it with spearmint.

While we can’t usually go to sleep when we have an afternoon energy crash due to work and personal commitments, that doesn’t mean we need to allow them to define our day.

Factor low energy into your daily work schedule, and take steps to revitalize the body and mind.