Why does energy ‘slump’ in mid-afternoon?

Do you reach for the coffee around 3-4pm, or stare blankly out of the window at work, or even need a nap in the afternoon?

If so, you’re certainly not alone.

We frequently see “feel tired in the afternoon” as a symptom listed on clients’ paperwork, so let’s take a look at why energy levels can drop in that mid-afternoon window.

The first common reason for energy dips like this is an inappropriate lunch – one that doesn’t provide the optimal balance of macronutrients (fat, protein and carbohydrate).

Pasta, bread, biscuits, crackers, cakes and other lunch items will create a spike in blood sugar and then a corresponding crash, which tanks energy.

Energy levels will generally be much better maintained by eating a balanced lunch.

Second, skipping lunch completely will place a lot of strain on your adrenal glands and may lead to low cortisol output in the afternoon.

This low cortisol pattern is often evident on salivary adrenal stress test results and often corresponds to an drop in energy levels at 3 or 4pm.

Interestingly, we often see that people who skip breakfast often have low energy in the afternoon. The reason is not clear but again, I think it’s due to adrenal stress in the morning.

Perhaps the adrenals have to work so hard to maintain blood sugar levels due to a lack of breakfast that they need to shut down mid-afternoon.

General thyroid hypofunction (low thyroid) and adrenal dysfunction can lead to low energy levels in general, and may contribute to energy slumps.

Finally, nutritional deficiencies in key energy-producing nutrients such as the B-vitamins, carnitine others can cause energy dips, and these deficiencies may be due to poor diet, digestive imbalances, or both.

Would you like some help?

If napping in the afternoon or staring out of the window in a daze at work are commonplace in your life, we’d love to help.

Of course, it goes without saying that any challenges you have with energy, whether they’re related to general fatigue or slumps at specific times of day

We can either run a detailed case review and 60-75min initial consultation with you, or have a friendly 15-20min  ‘getting acquainted’ chat, with no obligation.

Just click here for details of how to arrange one.



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