Why Am I So Tired In The Afternoon
Want to know something funny? As I am beginning to write this post it’s mid-morning. And I’m actually already kind of tired. The nice news is I am off work today as it’s a holiday of sorts. I’ve never had off work on a President’s Day, can’t say I mind it. I have lots of things I want to do today with my bonus time off work. Maybe if I take a nap this morning I won’t feel sleepy this afternoon. I don’t know about you but I am often asking myself why am I so tired in the afternoon.
It’s In Our Nature
First of all don’t feel bad for having the afternoon sleepies. We are biologically wired to have a dip in energy in the afternoon. This is because of our naturally occurring circadian rhythms. The biggest one happens between midnight and dawn. This of course is when most of us are sleeping. The secondary dip in the circadian cycle happens between 1PM – 4PM for most of us. This is also known as the postprandial dip or the secondary sleep gate.
The exact time and length of this will vary from person to person. The commonality is that we will all experience a dip in energy and alertness sometime in this time frame.
Symptoms of the afternoon tiredness include some of the following. If you are anything like me sometimes it feels like all of these are happening!
- Falling asleep at your desk
- Extreme yawning
- Vision can get a bit blurry
- Feeling super fatigued
- Muscles feeling tired or worn out
- Headache and/or stomachache
- Become short tempered
- Craving carbohydrates – for me it’s usually something salty
- Difficulty staying focused on tasks
So besides it being a natural part of our circadian cycle there are other reasons why you may be asking yourself why am I so tired in the afternoon.
You Carb Loaded
You probably already know this but if you eat a ton of carbs you get tired. It’s pretty simple. Simple carbs such as bread, pasta, white rice, and chips cause a rapid blood spike in sugar. This is then followed by a dramatic drop that can leave you cranky and of course, sleepy. To avoid this try to limit simple carbs at lunch.
You Imitate a Statue
If you sit still in once place for house it’s common sense your body is going to get tired. Try not to keep your body locked in the same sitting position for hour after hour. This will not only make you more tired, it’s also bad for you physically over the long haul. Bad for your posture, your eyes, your muscles, you name it. So get up and move on a regular basis.
Is It cold in here?
Remember the circadian rhythm dip that happens between 1:00PM – 4:00PM for most people? Part of what happens during that time is your body releases melatonin and along with that comes a drop in your body temperature. This is all part of the cycle to make you sleepy and want to just close your eyes……..
Combat this by getting up and walking around and if it’s sunny outside go get some!
Even being mildly dehydrated can make you feel sluggish and sleepy. Hard to believe but this can happen even if you lose 1.5% of your body’s water weight. Pretty crazy right? It’s always a good idea to keep water handy and drink on a regular basis. Chug a lug.
You Aren’t Getting Enough
Sleep! What did you think I was talking about? I know this will bring a big “duh” rolling out of your mouth but you should have already thought about this. If you are consistently not getting enough sleep at night you are going to feel tired a lot. Couple this with the afternoon dip in your circadian cycle and you can easily answer why am I so tired in the afternoon.
We all have busy stressful lives. It’s worth noting we function quite a bit better when we feel at least decently rested.
Insomnia or sleep disorder
This is worth noting as well. I typically am a pretty good sleeper. My habit is to read a fiction book for 20-30 minutes before I sleep and it relaxes my body and my mind. That being said I can certainly go a week or two where I don’t sleep very well. Thankfully this doesn’t happen too often and generally corrects on it’s own.
I do know some people in my circle that have difficulty sleeping on a regular basis. Some of them try different things to varying degrees of success. If you have have trouble sleeping at night on a normal basis get it checked out.
I’m Stressed Man!
This is always worth putting in when it comes to physical and mental challenges we all have. If you ask yourself why am I so tired in the afternoon take a look at your stress level. If you are under heavier stress that tends to affect everything in our lives to one degree or another. We can keep it in check for the most part but it will creep it’s way into our day to day one way or another. A common way is by messing with our sleep. And when it does that you and I are going to both be feeling tired in the afternoon.
When you and I keep asking ourselves why am I so tired in the afternoon here are some resources and ideas to help sort it all out.
Sound Sleep, Sound Mind: 7 Keys to Sleeping Through The Night – by Barry KrakowS
The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep is Broken and How To Fix It – by W. Chris Winter M.D.
Dr. Seuss’ Sleep Book – by Dr. Seuss
Intuitive Balance: Advance Anxiety Treatment and Stress Relief – by Intuitive Balance
As we have discovered our body has a natural circadian rhythm that makes us feel more tired in the afternoon. So now we know why we ask between jaw cracking yawns, “why am I so tired in the afternoon”? It’s perfectly natural to feel tired in the afternoon.
The good news is we have the ability to combat the afternoon sleepies. Take a look at what’s going on in your life and see what you can do to rectify the situation. And let’s kick those afternoon yawns to the curb!
In Good physical health,