Tired in the Afternoons? This Could be Why

Tired at Work
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

Do you ever arrive at work ready to take on the day, get in a few good hours, but then 2 pm hits, and suddenly you feel like you can’t keep your eyes open? You’re not alone—the midafternoon slump is 100% real, and it frequently leaves plenty of people feeling too tired to complete their to-do lists.

While the optimal solution may be as simple as a nap, sneaking away for a few minutes of shuteye isn’t always an option, and lack of sleep is just one of many potential causes of chronic midday fatigue. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons that could be behind your afternoon exhaustion.

Sleep Deprivation

Not getting enough good quality sleep is the most common culprit behind frequently feeling tired in the afternoon. Our bodies follow natural circadian rhythms that regulate our states of sleep and wake, and any disruption to this cycle can contribute to physical and mental exhaustion throughout the day. Aiming for 7-9 hours of quality sleep should help you to wake up feeling rested and remain focused throughout the day.

Low Blood Sugar

If you’re getting enough sleep and still feel tired, there’s a good chance your diet is contributing to your afternoon crash. High-carbohydrate meals like pasta and pizza typically cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels that quickly leads to an exhaustion-inducing crash. To keep your blood sugar steady, go for a balanced option that includes protein and healthy fats along with complex carbs.


Dehydration can make you feel tired any time of day, but for some, its effects may be more noticeable in the afternoon when combined with other factors such as lack of movement or sleep deprivation. Lack of water in the body impacts blood circulation, which in turn reduces oxygen supply to the brain. Try to drink at least 8 oz. of water or herbal tea every hour to keep your energy up and your mind sharp.