Why Am I So Tired In The Afternoon? Study Explains Why

Why am I so tired in the afternoon? You might have asked that yourself before. Have you wondered why you are tired between 2-3 pm?

These are common questions that people ask a lot while working their jobs. Some workers may get extremely tired in the afternoon while on the job.

The consequences of working less effectively can result in the loss of productive working hours for employees. It might explain why workers work longer hours and stay later at the office.


  1. How Can I Stop Being Tired In The Afternoon
  2. Decision Fatigue
  3. Workplace Survey: How Employees Handled Their Workday
  4. The Crash & TIps To Conquering “The Dip” Period
Why am I so tired in the afternoon? This post goes over a study discussing the afternoon crash.

How can I stop being tired in the afternoon?

If you’re familiar with this topic, you likely experienced what many refer to as the afternoon crash. That is what I’ll discuss in a recent survey related to this issue. Also, I’ll lay out some great tips for fighting the afternoon crash. 

Should we sleep in the afternoon?

Decision fatigue

The afternoon crash has been a common issue in the workplace over the years. In psychological terms, there are many factors to consider while working during the afternoon. 

Some people will experience decision fatigue when their brain gets tired and unable to take on complex tasks. After working so many hours without a break, your mind gets bored.

Also, it becomes harder to make tough decisions. The longer your work during that time frame, the more challenging it becomes to make complex decisions.

Why am I always tired in the afternoon: Worker's fatigue is very common among a lot of people. It sure sets in during the afternoon hours.

Workplace Survey: How employees handled their workday

Paychex came out with a survey in the past to examine worker activities to address the so-called afternoon crash. In the study of 1000 employees, Paychex looked into worker insights, how responsive workers were in meetings, and approaches to fighting the afternoon crash. 

Here are some of the significant findings from the survey:

  • Employees were more likely to be productive between 8 am-2 pm. They were less effective between 2 pm-5 pm.
  • Employees were more likely to work on complex tasks between 8 am-noon. On the other hand, they were expected to do simple tasks between 2 pm-5 pm.
  • 71% of workers scheduled their workday around their most productive hours. This approach helped them figure out which hours worked the best for them (in this study, it was during the morning hours).
  • 37.8% of respondents said they attended meetings during the morning (before noon).
  • Respondents who took part in meetings midday (between noon-2 pm) were more likely to be active participants than at other times of the day.

One of the best ways to fight decision fatigue is restorative rest. Simple activities such as stretching or brisk walks can be very beneficial. Other exercises including breathing, yoga, and meditation can help clear your mind as well.

Eric T. Seil (Site Founder of notimekiller.com)

The crash & tips to conquering “The Dip” period

In the same survey, around 81% of respondents reported feeling the afternoon crash during their workday. On the same note, the respondents experienced the afternoon crash on average, 3.2 days per week (more than half of a standard workweek).

There is no doubt that afternoon crash is an issue in the workplace. Fortunately, there are ways to tackle “the dip” during the afternoon hours. 

If peak performance tends to decline between 2 pm-5 pm, these are the hours workers need to be proactive to avoid losing out valuable time. 

The following tips can help prevent fatigue and make the most out of your less productive hours of the day.

Engage in therapeutic activities

Similar to your body as a whole, your mind needs to rest properly. One of the best ways to fight decision fatigue and the afternoon crash is restorative rest. 

After working for long periods, the brain needs short breaks throughout the day. By this term, you are engaging in activities that calm and refresh the mind. 

Why am I always tired in the afternoon: It's beneficial to do therapeutic activities.

Simple activities such as stretching, moving away from your workstation, or brisk walks can be very beneficial. On the other hand, exercises, including deep breathing, yoga, and meditation, can help clear your mind as well.

Restorative rest activities I take part in

Over the last year, I’ve taken advantage of activities to clear my mind some days. I regularly get up and stretch my body, especially after sitting for more than an hour. 

At this point, taking part in meditation has become a regular part of my daily routine. I usually do one-two 15-minutes a day to relax my mind. It’s great to weed out distractions and worries out of my head when I need to stay focused.

Taking power naps over caffeine

Power naps can be a great booster during the afternoon hours. As the Paychex survey found, most respondents drank caffeinated beverages later on in the workday. 

While that may help sometimes, it can affect your sleep schedule if you drink caffeine before bedtime. So power naps (20-30 minutes) can help lower stress levels, along with refreshing your mind to get through the final hours of your workday.

Why am I always tired in the afternoon: Taking power naps can be beneficial. It's a great way to give you boost instead of drinking caffeine.

Some companies encourage their employees to take power naps

In recent years, some companies have encouraged their employees to take power naps. These companies may have noticed the payoffs that come with it, including higher alert levels, fewer errors, and increased productivity. 

Though it may sound off some people, it’s an excellent way to be creative and think outside the box. But if it helps boost workplace productivity, it should be considered a win for employers and employees.

Participate in simple tasks during non-peak hours

As the Paychex survey indicated, most respondents were likely to tackle complex tasks during peak hours.

During the morning hours, they utilized that time to get the most challenging work out of the way. While during the afternoon (non-peak hours), they were more likely to take on more manageable tasks.

So if you happen to fall in this group of respondents, use the afternoon hours to work on tasks that don’t require deep thoughts or complex decisions. If you find yourself in the opposite group, do more challenging work during the afternoon/evening hours. 

Not everyone’s peak time takes place during the morning hours. So if you’re not a morning person, hold off on your complex tasks until later in the day, when you’re in the middle of your peak hours.

How I manage tasks during my non-peak hours

My peak period falls between late morning-mid afternoon (10 am-3 pm). So many functions that are quick to check off are done after 3 pm each day. 

If it’s necessary administrative work or repetitive tasks, I’m better doing them between 3 pm-11 pm (the latest time I may end up working until). Checking email is something I stay off-limits throughout the day. 

Usually, I’ll check my email for no more than 30 minutes toward the end of my day. My schedule may not be ideal for everybody, so it’s essential to understand the best times to take charge of your priorities.

Work smarter- Not longer

 How you use your mind can determine how productive you become at work. Practicing mindful working can help differentiate between “working smarter versus working longer,” as some people would say. 

We need to focus on the present rather than the past or worry about the future. When workers take that into perspective, they have better chances of increasing job performance, productivity, and work satisfaction.

Why am I always tired in the afternoon: It's better to work smarter, not longer. Working smarter can help in the long run.

A mindful approach to working smarter is now more common

There are benefits to taking a cautious approach to work. Some of them include higher self-awareness, better health, and higher payoffs for employees and the workplace. 

Even some major companies (such as Apple, Google, and Yahoo) have integrated mindful approaches to training employees. By taking these approaches, companies can come up with better ways to handle stress and boost productivity.

A relevant article from notimekillers.com

Read next on “How Can I Improve My Work Performance? Top 17 Tips” to learn how you can improve your work performance. If you’re struggling, this post can be very helpful.

Final Words

The afternoon crash is not a new phenomenon. It’s been a workplace issue that people have struggled with most days but can be managed better.

Also, identifying your peak time of the day can help determine when you should work on your most demanding tasks. If you feel more tired in the afternoon, utilize those hours to work on more straightforward tasks.

Finally, if you can master working smarter than working longer, you’ll be more productive and less likely to feel a dip during the afternoon. These are essential tips to help you beat the afternoon crash at work.

Your Turn: Have you struggled with the afternoon crash?

Have you struggled with the afternoon crash? If so, how have you handled the fatigue in the afternoon? Have you used any of the suggestions mentioned earlier?

Feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below. I look forward to reading your responses, and I’ll gladly respond promptly.

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Eric is a content writer and the site owner of notimekillers.com. He takes great pride in helping people manage their time and grow their businesses. Eric is a firm believer in time freedom, as he believes in taking ownership of time. 

“Time is your most important asset. It can be your best friend or worst enemy. How you use your time can shape the future you desire to have.” In his leisure time, Eric loves to write and read whenever possible. He enjoys going for long walks outdoors while doing in-home workout videos every week. You can follow Eric on LinkedIn.

Self Photo 2019: Here's a picture at a building in downtown Chicago.

6 thoughts on “Why Am I So Tired In The Afternoon? Study Explains Why”

  1. Decision fatigue gets harder with longer work hours because you are more likely to make bad choices if given less focus than usual just before putting something important into action.

    Taking a quick break to recharge is always helpful. I tried taking naps during the day, and it really helps me stay focused for longer periods of time! Most importantly, when you come back after your nap with energy levels restored-you can perform at an increased level too.

    • Hi Grace,

      Fatigue, in general, can very well result from working long hours. It’s one other reason why people feel tired during the afternoon hours.

      I know some people who regularly work 10-12 hours shifts, and it’s not easy. I used to work that many hours myself, and it can be grueling at times.

      But taking regular breaks (and even napping) can help in the case of longer workdays. Power naps are the best thing for some people when they need proper rest before jumping right back into work.

      Your takeaways are helpful, especially for our readers. I think they would appreciate the experiences if they happen to work longer days.

      Thank you for providing your thoughts- very much appreciated!

  2. I think most people have struggled with being tired in the afternoon, especially if you had a big lunch. I have found that going for a quick walk, combined with some stretching can help me to overcome the lethargic feelings. 

    Very interesting research results from the Paychex study. To find that 71% of people will schedule their working day around their most productive hours, shows how important flexible working hours are. 

    I am certainly more productive during the morning, so I do more taxing tasks in the morning. 

    • Hi,

      I often feel that way if I end up eating a heavy lunch in the afternoon. After eating, I feel very tired and want to instantly crash. It’s not a good feeling!

      That’s good that you go for brisk walks- I find that to be very helpful as well. You never know if it can give you a little boost to help you get through a rough day.

      It sounds like you’re a morning person for sure. Keep up with it- it’s good to stay on a roll.

      Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts- I greatly appreciate it.

  3. Having worked from home and online over the past 15 years and experienced long stretches of sitting at a desk, I have also been affected by the dreadful afternoon crash. 

    I totally agree with your tip #2, I prefer a nap over caffeine. 

    But working from home, I have to ensure that I do not oversleep. So I set a 15 minute timer which alerts me when it’s time to get back to work. 

    I also time my working sessions to 90 minutes and take a 10 minute break between each. Usually stepping outside for some brisk stretching exercises or just sitting out in the garden refreshes my mind.

    • Hi Mario,

      It sounds like you’re all too familiar with the afternoon crash. Your experience shows that you’ve overcome some of those problems, and understand it very well.

      The things you follow are the right things to do. So stay on the right track for that.

      Your 90-minute sessions, followed by the 10-minute breaks is a great practice. I’ve tried something similar before, and it’s worked well for me.

      So kudos to you- I like what you’re doing to tackle the afternoon dip.

      Thank you for sharing your insights- they’re greatly appreciated.


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