Why Do I Feel Tired at 3PM Every Day?
It’s mid-afternoon, and the feeling hits: you wish you could crawl under your desk for a siesta, or take a snooze in the parent pick-up line. Ever wonder why the fatigue always seems to happen around 2 or 3 in the afternoon? There’s a solid scientific explanation for the afternoon slump -- several, actually.
Reason #1: Lunch
Eating a lunch rich in simple carbs (think white bread, rice or pasta) or particularly high in sugar can cause a temporary spike in blood glucose levels that, when it suddenly dips, can lead to that sleepy afternoon feeling. In addition, a meal heavy in fat may slow your digestion and make you feel sluggish, too.
Solution: Eat healthy by choosing complex carbs, like those found in oats, whole-grain bread, beans and veggies, for sustained energy that’ll take you through the afternoon. Be sure to drink plenty of water with lunch, as dehydration can also lead to fatigue.
Reason #2: Inactivity
You’re busy working, studying, reading -- that laser focus might help you be more productive, but it’s also keeping you sedentary. Much like your phone or laptop, lack of activity and movement can put your body in “sleep” mode.
Solution: Set a timer to remind yourself to get up, walk around to stretch at least once every hour. Try to get outside for a brisk walk, if possible, to wake up your body and mind.
Reason #3: Circadian rhythm
Your body is programmed to do certain things. Your 24-hour internal clock, known as your circadian rhythm, is responsible for regulating specific processes and activities within the body, such as core temperature and hormone levels and secretions. In the afternoon, your normal circadian rhythm can trigger a decrease in body temperature and release of the calming hormone melatonin, both of which might make you long for a nap.
Solution: To boost your energy, try walking outside (as mentioned above), listening to energetic music or eating a light, but satisfying snack, like a handful of raw almonds.