Afternoon tiredness is a monster many of us struggle with on a regular basis. The work day is going well, but then 2:00 or 3:00 hits and it can become a battle just to focus.  This article covers ways to combat afternoon lethargy and keep your energy levels more consistent throughout the day.

Snack Regularly
Physiologically afternoon lethargy has a lot to do with our cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone that tells our body when it’s time to wake up in the morning.  The levels of cortisol in our body fluctuate throughout the day, and when cortisol is low we feel more tired. One easy way to stay alert is to intersperse snacks between meals. There are many low calorie, healthy snacks to choose from. Here at CCL Supplements we are big fans of healthy protein bars (such as RX Bars, G2G Bars, Cliff Bars etc.), nuts, dried fruit, and guacamole.

This graph shows how cortisol levels change throughout the course of a day, and how snacks can help keep it high:

circadian-cortisol-sleep-hack.jpg 42.6 KB View full-size Download

Aim for 7-9 Hours of Quality Sleep
If you are an adult the amount of sleep recommended by the National Sleep Foundation is 7-9 hours.  Everyone’s body is slightly different and it is worth experimenting with different lengths of sleep to really dial in what feels best for you. For example, I have found that 7.5 hours per night is just about right for me. My wife on the other hand usually needs about 9.

Time is only one factor however.  The quality of sleep you get each night is just as important as how long you lie in bed. There are many factors that play into this such as temperature, light levels, white noise, quality of mattress, and pre-bed rituals, which you can learn about here.

Take the Right Supplements
One of the causes of our bodies tiring is lack of nutrients which are vital in our metabolic processes.  Glutathione is a good example of this.  This tripeptide chemical is one of our bodies’ waste eliminators. It is a natural antioxidant that gets rid of free radicals and toxins. Eliminating these toxins can help us feel more energetic and less sluggish.

Vitamin B12 is a coenzyme that participates in many biochemical pathways in our bodies.  When B12 levels are deficient, the production of red blood cells diminishes.  Not enough red blood cells leads to not enough oxygen being transported throughout our bodies, which leads to feeling fatigued and drained throughout the day.

And of course there is always the crowd favorite: caffeine. We of course recommend our pure caffeine inhaler to avoid unnecessary sugar, carbonation, and toxins.

Take Naps If Possible
Not everyone is able to take naps in the afternoon, (although Ben & Jerry’s, Zappos, Uber and Google have installed dedicated nap spaces in their headquarters, so it may be worth trying to convince your boss to install some lazyboys) but if your schedule allows it, the science has shown that a nap can do wonders for your mind and body.

The American Psychology Association has shown that naps help improve learning, ability to cope with frustrating situations, alertness, and more.  Some research even suggests that a 90 minute nap has similar benefits to an 8 hour night’s.

Notes & Sources  [cortisol graph]