Culture & Engagement

What is the afternoon slump, and how can you fight it?

employee focussing

Image by Vladimir Gjorgiev / Shutterstock, Inc

Yesterday afternoon, at about 2:30 pm, I was doing some research about maintaining high energy levels throughout the day. Ironically, I began falling asleep at my desk. After putting the kettle on and pouring myself a brew, I started wondering if it was normal to suddenly feel sleepy at this time in the afternoon. Apparently, it is – and it even has a name!

The mid-afternoon slump is that sudden attack of sleepiness that hits about an hour or two after you’ve finished your lunch. Apparently, it’s a very common thing.

Is it normal to suddenly get tired halfway through the afternoon?

If you thought it was just you who was getting tired around mid-afternoon, then relax – it happens to lots of us, and it’s perfectly normal.

According to Business Insider, the afternoon slump is nothing more than a sign that your internal clock is working properly. Hurray!

But most of us still have work to do around this time. We can’t just crawl into bed – so it might help us to understand what causes this feeling. This might give us a way to fight fatigue and stay productive!

Four ways to fight the afternoon slump

To start fighting the afternoon slump, you need to know what might be causing it. Luckily, gives us four reasons why we might be suffering this sudden afternoon sleepiness – meaning we can learn how to prevent it:

 * Cut down on carbs at lunchtime. According to, eating a lot of carbohydrates at lunchtime can bring on sudden sleepiness. For example White bread, white rice, pasta, potatoes or chips. Why do these foods make us feel sleepy? Because they can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar, meaning we get a sudden crash shortly after. You can prevent this from happening by replacing some of the carbs in your lunch box. Try replacing simple carbs with complex carbs – for example, by switching white bread to whole grain.

 * Move around more. How long have you been sitting at your desk for? says that staying still for too long might make your body think that you want to go to sleep. But you can easily get over this by standing up to stretch, or taking a quick walk, at least once an hour.

 * Drink more water. Dehydration is a leading cause of sleepiness. says that even losing just 1.5% of your body’s water weight can make you feel tired, sluggish and moody – so make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day.

 * Interrupt your circadian rhythm. Remember what Business Insider said about the mid-afternoon slump is a sign that your body clock is working properly? Well, expands on this further, and explains that it’s all to do with your body’s “circadian rhythm”. You see, between the hours of 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm, your core body temperature naturally dips, causing a release of melatonin – the chemical that makes you feel sleepy. But if this dip in energy is causing problems, you can actually interrupt your own rhythm by simply listening to some upbeat music, or going for a brief, brisk walk.

We’d love to hear how you beat the mid-afternoon slump. Do you even experience it? What techniques have worked for you? Drop us a comment and maybe we’ll feature you in a future blog post!