How to Stop Feeling Tired in the Afternoon
Benjamin Martin - 8 Jan 2021
Most of us experience a dip in energy from time to time, as it's only natural that your body can't give 100% effort all of the time.
However, if you struggle with afternoon tiredness and want to know how to stop feeling tired in the afternoon, there are things you can do to improve your energy levels.
This article will examine the phenomenon of daytime tiredness, also known as afternoon tiredness. With our tips, you will be able to stop feeling tired in the afternoon.
- What is afternoon tiredness?
- Potential causes of tiredness
- How to stop feeling tired
- Supplements for energy
What is afternoon tiredness?
‘Daytime tiredness’ seems self-explanatory, and it is to an extent. If you suffer from daytime tiredness you feel fatigued in the afternoon, which can reduce your productivity and generally make work less pleasant.
However, the scale of daytime tiredness makes it more of a problem than it first seems.
A Healthspan survey in 2017, cited in an article by The Mirror, says that “97% of us claim we feel tired most of the time.” The piece also says that 10% of visits to the GP are related to unexplained fatigue, indicating that fatigue and tiredness are indeed very prevalent health issues.
Health professionals at the Royal College of Psychiatrists say, “At any given time, 1 in every 5 people feel unusually tired and 1 in 10 have prolonged fatigue.”
It’s probably safe to say that everyone has had at least one spell of afternoon tiredness that slows down their productivity after midday - particularly because we seem to be hard-wired to feel a slump around 2 pm according to neurologists.
To attach a number to fatigue: the British government states that around £30 billion is lost every year due to poor sleep and tiredness in the workplace. That's around £460 per person per year as a result of low productivity due to tiredness. Moreover, fatigue can contribute to workplace accidents, which cost between £115 and £240 million a year in total.
Across the pond, Harvard University suggests that the American economy loses out on $410 billion due to tiredness, with around 70% of workers saying they get insufficient sleep.
As a result, workplace tiredness is a real concern for both employers and employees in at least America and the UK, thanks to the problems it causes for productivity. Afternoon tiredness can also, as we will soon discuss, be an indicator of an underlying health problem that requires treatment.
Potential causes of tiredness
As mentioned, we seem to naturally get a bit tired around 2 or 3 pm, just because of the way our bodies work. This might be why some cultures have siestas in the afternoon, to recharge for a little while before finishing the workday.
However, there are some common things that can cause or exacerbate afternoon tiredness:
Perhaps the most obvious factor, sleeping poorly or having too little sleep the night before will, of course, make you feel more fatigued the next day, and is a prominent contributing factor to afternoon tiredness.
Poor sleep might be because of bad sleep habits, sleep apnoea, stress, health problems or many other factors.
Top Tip: Improve the quality of your sleep overnight by supplementing either melatonin or 5-HTP, both of which improve sleep quality.
If you use computer screens before you go to bed, this too can have a big impact. If this is you, you should try using a tool such as f.lux to filter out the blue light.
Your body weight can influence how tired you feel. Being over or underweight can put a strain on your body, meaning you feel more fatigued as you must work harder to do everyday things.
This can make you more likely to feel tired and unproductive in the afternoons, as well as hurt your physical and mental health.
If you find yourself feeling tired all the time and have a few extra pounds you could lose, you should consider trying to lose some wright. If you combine the aim of losing weight with exercise and diet, then you've already ticked off three things from this list.
Similar to weight, your fitness levels might have an impact on how tired you feel in the afternoon. If you’re physically unfit, it will be easier to tire you out, and you might be more susceptible to an afternoon slump.
Moreover, poor physical fitness can contribute to a multitude of other health problems.
Illness and poor health can be another important factor behind feeling tired in the daytime. Physical illnesses or disorders like anaemia, coeliac disease or underactive thyroid can cause fatigue while remaining undiagnosed.
In addition, mental health issues such as depression or stress can contribute to afternoon tiredness and poor productivity.
Note that this isn’t an exhaustive list and that you should speak with your doctor if you feel you’re unusually tired.
How to stop feeling tired
So we know the background and some of the causes, but what can you do to stop feeling tired during the workday and boost your productivity?
It might seem obvious, but one of the best ways to feel less tired in the afternoon is to improve your sleeping habits.
The British government recommends improving your ‘sleep hygiene’. They say sleep hygiene “is about creating the ideal conditions for a good night’s sleep,” so don’t bring a bar of soap to bed with you just yet.
Top tips for top-quality sleep:
- Go to bed and wake up the same time every day - even on weekends.
- Relax before bed through meditation, binaural beats, yoga or through other means.
- Avoid heavy meals before going to bed.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol late at night.
- Either don't use screens at all before bed or filter out the blue light.
- Supplement 5-HTP or melatonin.
- A comfortable bedroom that's at a cool temperature.
- Use a comfortable, supportive mattress.
- Exercise in the late afternoon or early evening.
- Only use your bed for sleeping.
Dr Fiona Kerr, a neuroscientist, believes that a short nap in the middle of the day is useful for improving productivity and mitigating an afternoon slump. This again ties back into the idea of siestas helping workers in Southern Europe.
Interestingly, a study by Harvard University found that short naps might increase the time spent in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which can improve overall health.
Nutrition is an integral part of our everyday lives and general health, so fuelling your body with the right foods is a great way to stop feeling tired.
Dr Joseph Mercola, a physician and nutritionist, recommends changes to diet as a way to improve energy throughout the day. Increasing your intake of healthy fats and cutting out carbs can, according to Dr Mercola, help keep you energetic and burn fat.
In addition, it's important to avoid processed carbs or unhealthy foods. A study found that snacking on sugary foods was associated with a good initial increase to energy, but a crash around an hour later (known as the sugar slump), possibly making you less productive than before.
Rather than eating chocolate or a packet of crisps, trying a healthier afternoon snack like nuts, berries or vegetables could help naturally keep your energy levels consistent. If you can bring food from home, also consider preparing low-carb meals like eggs, lean meats or leafy greens.
Improving your hydration is also an excellent way to keep yourself fresh. Dehydration can cause afternoon fatigue and cognitive impairment, which can ruin your productivity.
Even 1-2% dehydration can increase self-reporting of tiredness and headaches, so having plenty of water is often an easy way to help yourself get over afternoon tiredness.
The NHS suggests that 6-8 glasses of water per day, around 1,5-2 litres, is a good amount for an average British person. This, of course, increases for people in hotter climates or those who sweat more due to more physically-demanding lifestyles.
Another good way to stop feeling tired, help your brain nutrition and improve your brain health is through food supplements.
There are food supplements that can help you stop feeling tired and improve your brain’s health by delivering enhanced brain nutrition, using ingredients like superfoods, amino acids, herbals, vitamins and minerals.
Supplements like these can help your productivity because improving your brain health can help you concentrate, increase your motivation, improve your energy levels and more.
Supplement stacks for energy
Most people who want to stop feeling tired use something called a supplement stack.
A stack is made up of lots of different ingredients, which makes it a more convenient way of taking vitamins and nutrients, as you don't have to buy all the ingredients separately.
When looking for supplement stacks that will help you stop feeling tired, you should go for products made with the ingredients that have been scientifically proven to support energy.
We recommend trying Brainzyme Focus Pro
This is a food supplement that will boost your energy levels and get you over any afternoon tiredness you may experience.
Brainzyme Focus Pro is specifically designed to provide a smooth, 100% plant-powered boost in energy which lasts for 8 hours whilst also helping you feel motivated and focused.
These fast-acting supplements are easily absorbed to help you achieve the “flow state” shortly after taking them. Whilst in the flow state, you will feel yourself working extremely efficiently without feeling under pressure.
As a result, you’ll find that your satisfaction at completing tasks is increased, keeping you motivated to carry on at a consistent level of high focus and concentration.
Brainzyme Focus Pro's advanced formula contains plant extracts, vitamins and minerals that are scientifically proven to support concentration, cognition, energy, memory and mental performance.
It has been formulated with ingredient research from leading neuro-cognitive and nutritional experts, including the 18-member panel at EFSA.
About the author
Benjamin Martin is a nootropic and brain supplement enthusiast who has tried every type of performance-boosting supplement under the sun. At Brainzyme, he uses his expertise to produce educational content for the Nootropics UK and Brain Supplements UK blogs.
Based in Edinburgh, Benjamin loves spending his free time in nature whenever he gets the chance.