Why Am I Tired In The Afternoon: Five Tips To Beat The Slump

It’s 2:30 in the afternoon, and you start to close your eyes while at work. Have you nodded off during the middle of the workday? If so, you’re not the only one. At times, I always wondered to myself, why am I tired in the afternoon? When it comes to facing the “afternoon slump”, workers struggle to stay focus at work.

Why am I tired in the afternoon?

According to a Pro Plus study in the UK, the exact time of the day when Brits started to feel drowsy was at 14:17 (2:17 pm non-military time). Even though 1 in 10 respondents pointed to a full stomach as the primary factor, other factors existed as well. These included low energy levels, stress, and lack of sleep. It makes sense if workers have large workloads along with working more hours.

The afternoon slump is widespread in workplaces. Over my years at work, I struggled to fight this slump when I wasn’t doing the right things around that time. Even some of my old coworkers struggled when I would see their eyes closed at their workstations.

If you’ve been asking yourself, “Why am I tired in the afternoon?” I will go over five tips. These are tips to help you attack the afternoon slump, including:

1.) Getting enough sleep before the workday

2.) Eating a light lunch or have a snack

3.) Stretching and go for a brief walk

4.) Avoiding caffeine and drink water

5.) Taking a power nap (during breaks and lunch)

Why am I tired in the afternoon

Get enough sleep

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For many people, this one is a “duh, of course,” thing to keep in mind. But getting a good night’s sleep the night before can make a difference in your daily productivity. You’ll feel more alert and willing to take on more tasks in the middle of the day. If you’re not getting enough sleep, not only are you depriving your health, but you’re hurting your performance at work.

People I know of (even myself) have been guilty of not getting enough sleep. My former peers would tell me they stay up late doing other things, such as family responsibilities or relaxing (watching TV).

So for adults, the average number of hours is 6-8 hours. If they’re getting less than 6 hours of sleep, that can be a leading factor to the afternoon slump. I know it can be not easy sometimes, but I started to have self-discipline. When you make sleep a priority, it can make a difference in how you go about your daily routine.
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Eat a light lunch or snack

Eating a heavy lunch during the middle of the day is a significant factor in causing the afternoon slump. When some people eat heavy-filling meals, they can start to feel tired once they’re back to work.

For myself, I’m not a lunch person. If I have heavy meals during the middle of the day, I start to feel tired and struggle to work in the afternoon.

But if I have lunch, I try to eat lighter meals in the middle of the afternoon. Even though there are days I’d like to eat more, I know not to because of my past experiences.

So I limit myself to lighter lunches or having snacks most days. Even a granola bar (or some fruit) are healthy foods to keep your energy level up. When I eat light in the afternoon, I feel less fatigued and likely will get more work done.

Stretch & go for brief walks

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One of the most useful tips for staying alert is regular stretching and walking. Most days, I get in the habit of stretching and moving my body after sitting for an hour. Stretching can be very beneficial to prevent stiffness and fatigue. Also, stretching can prevent common body strains and injuries if some parts of your body become stiff for too long.

On the other hand, going for brief walks is an excellent way to stay active while on the job. Even if it’s walking around the office, at least it’ll help get your adrenaline going. There are some workplaces where employees are allowed to wear gym shoes. Especially for some jobs, people regularly walk around the office and need some support for their feet. So make it a healthy habit to stretch and walk for a few minutes throughout the day.

Avoid caffeine & drink water

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Many people drink caffeine to fight the afternoon slump. Though it might be viewed as a quick “pick-me-up,” having caffeine later in the day can affect your sleeping patterns near the end of the day.

Drinking caffeine right before bedtime will make it difficult to fall asleep. But even avoiding caffeine several hours before going to bed will help prepare for a better night’s sleep. For myself, I usually stop drinking caffeine at least six hours before going to bed.

In place of caffeine, drink water instead. Water is essential to keep yourself hydrated, along with staying focused at work. Not drinking enough water during the day can cause drowsiness and headaches now and then. Neglecting water intake can have an impact on your work performance. Water is an excellent alternative to caffeine during the middle of the day.  

Take a power nap if possible

Although napping is not frequent in the workplace (exceptions at these companies), it’s possible to set some time for a power nap. Of course, please don’t do it while you’re working at your desk.

But during breaks and lunchtime, those can be good times to get a power nap in. For instance, if you didn’t sleep well the night before, maybe take a brief 10-15 minute power nap in your break area during the morning. Or, take a quick power nap while at lunch if you’re not hungry some days.

In my last few jobs, some days, I felt tired from staying up late the previous night. So I would take a quick power nap, and 15 minutes later, I felt more rejuvenated.

Or during lunch, I would take longer naps instead of eating or reading during those periods.

I found that power naps helped me avoid a slowdown in my energy levels during the afternoon. If I took a good power nap earlier in the day, I was confident that I wouldn’t nod off at 2 pm in the office.


Fighting the afternoon slump can be a challenge for many people. It’s never a great feeling to have your energy levels crash in the middle of the day.

Only later, you’ll end up getting little done once you wrap up your workday. Although it’s a prevalent issue around the world, it doesn’t have to be. With the tips listed earlier in the post, you can feel more confident taking on more work. 

Do you struggle to confront the afternoon slump?

Are there any tips you try out to avoid the afternoon slump?

Leave a comment below, and please share this post with others.

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Eric is a time management consultant and owner of the blog, quitkillingtime.com. He takes great pride in helping people manage their time, personally and professionally. Eric is a firm believer in time freedom, as he believes in taking ownership of time. “Time is your most important asset. It can be your best friend or worst enemy. How you use your time can shape the future you desire to have.” In his leisure time, Eric loves to write and read whenever possible. He likes to go for long walks out in nature and been taking Zumba classes every week at his local gym. You can follow Eric via Facebook and LinkedIn.

12 thoughts on “Why Am I Tired In The Afternoon: Five Tips To Beat The Slump”

  1. I’ve tried walking around today and drank water instead of the my usual afternoon coffee and it works! Tomorrow, I’m going to try and bring in a lighter lunch to help even more. I was always wondering why I felt so drowsy at work in the afternoon and you’ve helped with that. Thank you!

    • Yes, of course. That’s great to hear, Reyhana! It’s always good to know that some of my tips work. If they worked today, then they can work any day. If you start to make some changes in your habits, you’ll definitely notice a change in these patterns down the road.

      Thanks for sharing your input!

  2. I do struggle to stay fully awake and productive in the afternoons… For me it usually hits sometime between 1:30-2:30 and I would typically fight it by getting more caffeine in the form of a soda or sometimes a cup of coffee.

    But it sounds like I should probably swap this out for something else, like the water and stretching you mentioned. It never crossed my mind that having caffeine too late in the day could be interfering with my sleep at night, which would then make me more tired! 

    • Thank you, Nick. I understand what you mean by your comments.

      It’s good to know about drinking caffeine later in the day. Remembering it now can help change your habits and to create better ones. It’ll be better for your health, especially in getting more sleep overall.

      Thanks again for your input- much appreciated!

  3. This is definitely true and I am guilty of many bad habits that lead to the afternoon slump.  I am more of a night person, so when I am working a 9-5, it is hard for me to go to bed at a decent time.  I am dragging my feet most of the day and worse in the afternoon.  I have definitely done the power naps because I am just so tired it is hard to continue in my job.  I work as a programmer so this is constantly sitting at a computer, which can become very tiresome.  I also tend to drink many cups of coffee throughout the day, as well as Mt. Dew.  I am going to work on cutting these bad habits so that I can be more efficient at work. Thanks for the information.

    • Of course. I hear you, Jennie. When you work a daytime job but you’re more of a night owl, it can be rough some days. Especially if you’re a programmer, sitting most of the time can cause drowsiness throughout the day. Believe me, I’ve experienced it before, and it was a challenge.

      It’s good to know that you’re going to make some changes. The key is to stick with it- if you commit to in the long run, you’d be amazed to see the differences. I’ve tried it before and felt so much better.

      I wish you the best in trying out these better practices.

      Thanks for sharing your input!

  4. The post you made is so important that one of the cruel observations I have made in my life is to have an afternoon sleep.If I want to work at noon then I can’t do anything right.But I tried so hard that somehow no work could be successful at noon.I enjoyed reading your post and I hope that after lunch I can fully do all my work.And I will share your Article with all my friends.

    • Thanks for your input! I know you’re not the only one who feels this way. As I mentioned before, many people struggle to stay alert during the afternoon.

      I appreciate you sharing this post with your friends. I hope they find it beneficial, and maybe they can incorporate some of these practices.

      Thanks again!

  5. Thank you so much for sharing with us such a beautiful article. I’m glad I found this article. After reading your article I know Why Am I Tired In The Afternoon. For a few days 2:00, in the afternoon, I start to close my eyes while at work and seem very tired. I could not understand why it’s happening to me. When I read your article I realized that we ourselves are responsible for this. The five tips that you have talked about, I think will relieve us of our afternoon slump. I’ll try 5 tips. I think it will help me improve myself. Thanks for sharing your opinion. I will definitely share it with my friends. My best wishes will be always with you. Thanks.

    • Of course. Sometimes, we don’t realize that even the small things we do can cause a major problem, such as drowsiness. Whether that’s not getting enough sleep, or drinking caffeine late in the day, we have to hold ourselves accountable at times. When we realize them, then we start to make some changes.

      Thanks for sharing your input. I greatly appreciate you sharing this post with your friends. 

  6. Hello, 

    Good post, good advice! Many people become tired and sleepy right after lunch meal. As I work with a lot of people around me  I can tell right away they are tired of many reasons: lack of sleep, digesting the food, or even the stress ( or these reasons together). I become tired too after the lunch meal so, I will take your advice and won’t eat a heavy meal just something light: snack bar and bowl of salad or soup. Also, I am a coffee lover and my last cup of coffee for a day is around 5 pm ( 17 at the military time) and looks like it is too late.

    I like your advice to take a short nap during lunchtime or stretch the body as well. 

    • Thank you very much. I’m glad to know you found this post useful.

      You make some high points, and you’re not the only one who struggles with that afternoon slump. Taking the next steps is a great start. If you stick with it, you’ll end up doing fine down the road.

      Thanks for sharing your input- much appreciated!


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