No matter how good our intentions are to stay on point and have a super productive day when we start out mindfully each morning, there’s something that inevitably seems to happen right around 2 p.m.
We hit an afternoon slump.
You know the one. Your focus starts to wane. Your attention span seems to stop short of concentrating on anything. Your eyes get heavy. Sleepiness sets in.
Afternoon sleepiness is real…for good reason. Why? And how can we beat afternoon sleepiness?
Why We Experience Afternoon Sleepiness
Afternoon sleepiness is totally normal. It all comes down to our circadian rhythm, the natural, internal system that regulates our sleep/wake cycles throughout the day.
Our circadian rhythm rises and falls at different times of the day. When it takes a dip, we tend to get sleepy. According to the National Sleep Foundation, circadian rhythms fall twice a day. The first is between the hours of 2-4 a.m., when we tend to get the deepest sleep. The second typically happens between 1-3 p.m., which is why we experience that afternoon slump.
If you don’t have the luxury of taking a midday siesta, there are ways to beat afternoon sleepiness — no coffee required.
5 Ways to Beat Afternoon Sleepiness
As tempting as making a blanket fort in your cubicle and taking a nap might be, there are other (more productive) things you can do to overcome that afternoon slump. Here are five of our favorite things to do when afternoon sleepiness sneaks up on us.
1. Move Your Body
Sitting at your desk all day can take a serious toll on your energy levels. Once you hit that mid-afternoon drop in your circadian rhythm, one of the best things you can do is move your body. Body and mind are intimately connected and getting up and moving around can increase your physical and mental momentum.
Even getting up and walking around the office will help increase your energy levels so you can get on with the rest of your day. Even better? Go outside and take a walk in the sun. Not only will the exercise do you good but being in the sun can also make you feel better overall and increase your energy levels. Sunlight increases serotonin levels in the brain, which will automatically boost your mood.
There are plenty of stretching exercises you can do at your desk that will help you beat afternoon sleepiness and recharge you for the rest of the day. Can’t take an hour to hit your local yoga studio during your lunch break? No problem. Just do a few stretches at your desk. Yoga Journal recommends the following:
- Side stretch
- Shoulder rolls
- Neck stretch
- Open chest stretch
- Chair twist
Just 5–10 minutes of gentle stretching at your desk will make a serious difference in both your physical and mental energy levels.
2. Be Smart With Your Snacks
One of the best things you can do to beat afternoon sleepiness is to be smart with your snacks. The cravings for carbs, sugar and caffeine at two in the afternoon are real. We totally get it. The best thing you can do is just say no when it comes to coffee and scones at 2 p.m., no matter how much you think you really want them.
Smart snacking comes down to giving your body what it needs (rather than what it craves) to provide energy. High-protein snacks will help you stay alert and are awesome for overcoming those cravings for sugar and carbs. Consider a handful of almonds, a few slices of cheese and a small bit of fruit.
Other smart snacks to consider include apple slices with almond butter, veggies and hummus, Greek yogurt and granola or a fruit-and-nut trail mix. Hard-boiled eggs are another awesome smart snack option. At six grams of protein each, eggs are one of the best protein sources out there. Why? They’re considered a complete protein, as eggs contain all essential amino acids.
When you go longer than 4–5 hours without eating, your natural energy levels begin to crash considerably. If you ate lunch at noon, a smart snack around 2 p.m. can help you maintain the energy levels you need to sidetrack afternoon sleepiness and get on with the rest of your day.
3. Sip on a CBD-Infused Energy Drink
Rather than heading out to your corner coffee shop come midday, consider sipping on a CBD-infused energy drink instead. Don’t get us wrong, we’re big fans of coffee. Drink it anytime after 2 p.m., however, and we’re counting sheep all night long. Did you know that, on average, a 16oz cup of coffee contains almost 200mg of caffeine? No wonder we’re wide awake at night when we break down and drink it to beat afternoon sleepiness.
When you hit an afternoon slump, try reaching for our CBD Energy Drink Mix instead of heading over to your local Starbucks. Why? Well, it’s fast-acting and an all-natural solution for that midday boost of energy we often need. It contains a host of vitamins and minerals, as well as a proprietary blend of herbs known to boost energy levels. Each sugar-free packet is specially formulated with 12.5mg of broad spectrum, water-soluble CBD.
While our CBD Energy Drink does contain caffeine, we limit it to 75mg so you’re not likely to miss out on any sleep come 10 p.m. You are likely to overcome that afternoon slump, however. Just add one packet to 12-24oz of water and mix well.
4. Consider a Mini Midday Meditation
Meditation has gone mainstream for good reason. It’s amazing for relaxing and recharging the mind, body and soul. A mini midday meditation is awesome for relieving any stress you’ve accumulated throughout the day. It can help you better focus on whatever tasks you still need to get done and is excellent for moving back into that creative flow.
A midday meditation will help you break your normal pattern of thinking and give your brain the boost it needs to finish the rest of your day. There are several guided meditations available online that you can easily listen to with your headphones on at your desk. Some are designed for the afternoon when you need a little help clearing your mind and recharging your spirit.
If you don’t consider yourself the “guided meditation type,” just sitting quietly at your desk and focusing on breathing for a few minutes can help beat afternoon sleepiness. An easy trick is to simply close your eyes and focus on breathing in slowly for a count of 10, then breathing slowly out for a count of 10. If you lose count, simply start your count over. Even a few rounds of this mini-meditation technique can be an afternoon gamechanger.
5. Take a Break
Taking a break to beat afternoon sleepiness might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people just push through to the end of their day without giving themselves just a few minutes to unwind. If you’re one of them, we invite you to take a break. Seriously, giving yourself just 5–10 minutes of “me time” in the afternoon will help you reset and slay the rest of your day.
What you do on your break is up to you. The only thing that matters is that you do something besides work. Step away from your screen and avoid mindlessly scrolling through social media. Text your bestie. Call your grandma back. Take a power nap. Read a few pages of a book. Read or watch something inspiring that will motivate you through the rest of the day (and beyond). Get outside and sit in the sun for a few minutes.
Taking breaks isn’t something you should pass on. As tempting as it might be to just keep working, those 5–10 minutes will help you stomp that afternoon slump. You owe yourself this time to recharge and reconnect so you can breeze through the rest of your day with ease.
You Can Overcome Afternoon Sleepiness
Hitting an afternoon slump is normal — it’s all part of the body’s natural internal clock. Understanding how to work with our bodies (rather than against them) when afternoon sleepiness sets in, however, can make a world of difference in how we experience the day.
While circadian rhythms certainly have something to do with why we get tired in the afternoon, lifestyle habits also play a big role. If you feel like crawling under a rock at 2 o’clock every afternoon, it could be a good time to take a look at your overall lifestyle habits.
Are you getting enough sleep at night? Experts recommend that healthy adults get at least seven hours of sleep each night.
Did you eat breakfast? Some say it’s the most important meal of the day. If so, what did you eat for breakfast? The general advice from most health experts is to eat a substantial, well-balanced breakfast that slowly delivers the energy we need over the course of the day.
Are you staying well hydrated throughout the day, every day? Water is essential for life…and our energy levels. Not drinking enough of it during the day can make that afternoon slump even worse.
Are you getting adequate exercise throughout the week? According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HSS), adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week. If you’re falling short of this, you could also be falling short of energy each afternoon.
Trying out methods to beat afternoon sleepiness is the first step in overcoming it. Looking for more lasting energy throughout each day? It’s totally possible. You just have to know how to do it.
How do you beat afternoon sleepiness? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
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Hannah Smith is Joy Organics Director of Communications. She is driven by her passion for providing clear and accessible wellness and CBD education. In 2015, she received her BA in Media, Culture and the Arts from The King’s College in New York City and before Joy Organics, worked as writer and photographer in the Middle East and North Africa. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Vice, Vox, Denver Post, and the Coloradoan.