Home / Blog / Nutrition / Why You Get So Tired in the Afternoon (& What to Do About It)

Why You Get So Tired in the Afternoon (& What to Do About It)

Key Takeaways:

  • Possible causes of the “afternoon slump” include circadian rhythm disruption, lack of regular exercise, unbalanced meals, and more.
  • Taking B-vitamin supplements and prioritizing sleep, exercise, and a balanced diet are some of the best ways to maintain your energy throughout the day.

You’re having a productive day, working towards an empty inbox and a finished to-do list, when 3 p.m. hits. Suddenly, you feel groggy, irritable, and have difficulty concentrating. Even the simplest of tasks feels impossible. Sound familiar?

Many people experience the “afternoon slump,” but most people can’t take a catnap in the middle of the day. So how do you support energy throughout the afternoon?

In this post, we’ll teach you the science behind why you get tired in the afternoon and how to support better energy levels.




Why do I get so tired in the afternoon?

There are a variety of factors that affect your energy levels and may contribute to your afternoon slump. Knowing what may be causing your fatigue will better equip you to prevent it.

Your circadian rhythm is disrupted.

Your circadian rhythm is your body’s sleep-wake cycle that controls when you feel alert and when you feel tired and aligns your sleep and wakefulness with day and night. Light greatly interferes with your circadian rhythm. Using your phone or watching television before you fall asleep may disrupt your sleep-wake cycle.1

You’re experiencing a natural dip in your circadian rhythm cycle.

Circadian rhythm disruption isn’t the only way that your sleep-wake cycle can cause you to feel sleepy in the afternoon. There is a natural dip in alertness thanks to your circadian rhythm in the mid-afternoon, which can cause fatigue.2


You’re not getting regular exercise.

You may think that exercising regularly would tire you out, but it actually does the opposite. Exercising supports energy on a cellular level: exertion spurs your body to create more mitochondria in your muscle cells. Mitochondria are known as the powerhouse of the cells, and having more of them increases your body’s energy supply. Exercising also helps boost oxygen circulation. An increase in oxygen helps your body function better and use its energy more efficiently.3

You’re eating unbalanced meals.

What you eat affects your bodily systems, and this is especially true when it comes to energy. Your diet can either fuel your energy throughout the day or cause you to crash and burn. Eating foods packed with sugar or not eating a balance of protein, fats, and complex carbohydrates can cause fatigue or lethargy.4

You’ve acquired a sleep debt.

Credit card debt isn’t the only kind of debt that can wreak havoc. Sleep debt, also known as sleep deficit, is the difference between the amount of sleep you need and the amount you get. For example, if you need eight hours of sleep but you only get six, you would have two hours of sleep debt. Sleep debt is cumulative; going to bed just thirty minutes later for several days can cause your sleep debt to quickly rack up. This may cause you to feel tired in the afternoons, and can impact your mental and physical performance.5 6 

You’re stressed.

Prolonged or chronic stress can deplete your energy levels and make it difficult for you to stay alert and focused. Stress can also negatively affect the amount or quality of sleep you get each night, which can make you feel more tired throughout the day.7


Tips for getting over the afternoon slump

So now you know why you lose energy in the afternoons, but how do you get over the afternoon slump when you’re in the middle of it? Here are a few tips to try:

  • Go outside: Light impacts the circadian rhythm, so exposure to bright light can help increase wakefulness. Take a few minutes to step outside into the sunlight, or invest in a light therapy lamp that can give you the same effect.
  • Chew gum: The simple act of chewing a piece of gum can help increase alertness, due to the stimulation of facial muscles causing an increase in blood flow to the head.8
  • Take a nap: Sometimes the best thing you can do for your energy levels is to take a quick power nap. The key to an effective nap is to keep it short — 10 to 20 minutes — so that you don’t feel even more tired when you wake up.9
  • Move your body: Get the blood flowing by taking a quick lap around the block or stretching for a few minutes.


How to have more energy in the afternoon

1. Take your B-vitamins

B-vitamins are essential for helping turn the food you eat into cellular energy. Vitamins B12 and B6 in particular can help support energy on a cellular level.


Taken daily, this supplement helps:

    • Provide support for occasional stress of daily living*
    • Support daily energy*
    • Maintain cardiovascular and nervous system health*
  • Maintain healthy hair, skin, and nails*

And it’s non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, kosher, and halal!


This highly-absorbable form of vitamin B12 helps:

  • Support energy metabolism*
  • Maintain proper cardiovascular, immune and nervous system health*
  • Convert carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into cellular energy*

Just 1 mL under your tongue gives your body its daily dose of all the vitamins in the B-complex family.

2. Get 7-9 hours of sleep

Getting adequate sleep is the best way to support energy, but it isn’t always the easiest. If you struggle to get enough sleep, try taking a quality sleep supplement.


Solgar® Sleep & Stress Support is a melatonin-free supplement that helps you:

  • Fall asleep quickly*
  • Improve sleep quality so you can wake up feeling ready to take on the day*
  • Feel calm and relaxed*
  • Stay rested throughout the night*

It is 100% drug-free, non-habit forming, non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free.

3. Manage stress

Stress can not only make it difficult to stay alert and focused, but it can also make it difficult for you to sleep at night.

Exercising daily, eating well, setting aside time for yourself, and spending time with loved ones are all great ways to cope with stress. You can also try taking a stress-supporting supplement, such as Solgar® Daily Stress Support.


This supplement combines Rhodiolife® Rhodiola and PANMOL®
B-COMPLEX. Rhodiola is an adaptogen that supports your body’s ability to deal with stress.* PANMOL® is a food-based biologically active B-vitamin complex produced from quinoa sprouts.

Solgar® Daily Stress Support helps:

  • Build your body’s resistance to stress*
  • Support stress-related mental fatigue*
  • Support your ability to stay calm*
  • Support nervous system health*

This unique formulation is 100% drug-free, non-habit forming, non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free.

4. Eat regular, balanced meals

If you tend to skip breakfast and then eat a huge lunch with lots of quick-digesting carbs, there’s no wonder why your energy comes to a screeching halt in the afternoon. Eating regular meals that each contain a balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates is essential to fueling your body for the entirety of the day.

Foods like oatmeal, cottage cheese, almonds, salmon, and sweet potatoes offer healthy fats, protein, or carbohydrates which makes them especially helpful for supporting energy. You can also try adding a protein shake into your daily routine to keep you satiated throughout the day.


Packed with 20 grams of grass-fed protein, Solgar® Grass Fed Whey to Go® Protein Powder contains only 3 grams of sugar per scoop and no soy ingredients. Available in chocolate, strawberry, or unflavored options.



Stopping the slump

Beating the afternoon can feel impossible, but prioritizing quality sleep, eating well, and taking the right supplements can help you feel alert and productive — even in the afternoon.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Solgar® site.