If you tend to get hit by the sleepy stick mid-afternoon, it’s not just you. Many people deal with the mid-afternoon energy slump and experience a noticeable dip in their alertness, energy level, and ability to concentrate in the afternoon. And if you’re an athlete who’s been up early to train before your working day starts, the chances are you’re going to feel this even more acutely than most. Before looking at how to improve or eradicate this phenomenon, let’s get a better understanding of what causes it. 

There are six main causes for this mid-afternoon energy slump:

  1. A natural response to circadian rhythms, which typically make us most sleepy from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.;
  2. Getting too little sleep on a regular basis;
  3. Poor eating habits, such as eating too many carbohydrates (especially at lunch);
  4. Dehydration/hypohydration: this often happens throughout a busy day, particularly if you had a training session in the morning; 
  5. High levels of stress;
  6. An underlying metabolic disorder such as pre-diabetes or insulin resistance, reactive hypoglycemia, or polycystic ovarian syndrome.