Avoiding afternoon tiredness

All my life I have had issues falling a sleep combined with ferocious afternoon tiredness. I think it stems from me trying to be “cool” as a child and stay awake with the adults. I fought hard and became quite good at it. Now I reap the benefits…

It is not like I always have problems falling a sleep. Unfortunately. In the afternoon I could lay down for 5 minutes and I would be a sleep. The tiredness and exhaustion I feel in the afternoon is nowhere to be found once night comes around and I actually need it.

I have searched far and wide for solutions and tried all sorts of different and obscure things, but nothing seemed to work. All advice I found online was rubbish (I see the irony of then giving advice myself).

But listening to Andrew Huberman on either his own podcast or one of his appearances on another, he actually mentions exactly the afternoon tiredness or slump. I was very skeptical of him as I had seen him being promoted a lot of places and that to me usually is a red flag. But listening to him has changed my mind a little bit. He actually do have some good pieces of advice that is novel and I at least have not found elsewhere.

Solution

What Andrew Huberman suggested was that the afternoon tiredness could be caused by drinking coffee first thing in the morning. In doing so you suppress the tiredness instead of getting it cleared out of the body. Meaning that in the afternoon when the effects of coffee tapers of you will get both a “normal” hit of tiredness as well as the suppressed morning tiredness in one hit. That is your afternoon tiredness explained.

So how do we avoid afternoon tiredness?

First of all we need to have as much light into the eyes as early as possible after waking. This clears the morning tiredness naturally. Best option is sunlight, but strong light from lamps etc. can be a work-around.

Another way to get the tiredness out of the body is with exercise. So if you train first thing in the morning then all you have to do is not have coffee/caffeine before – which of course can be a challenge.

Then the next thing you need to do is wait 90-120 minutes with your coffee or caffeinated drink after you wake up. It can probably be 60 minutes as well, but the point is to have the body naturally process the hormones that makes you feel tired before ingesting caffeine. Knowing this it is almost possible to “feel” when it is okay to drink your coffee.

Result

I must admit that this has really worked for me. I feel far less lethargic in the afternoon than I did previously. It is not like I run around with too much energy to spare, but it is natural to feel a little tired after a day of work and 7-9 hours after waking. It just should not be debilitating tiredness.

The best part is that the solution is free. There are no courses to buy, no fancy supplements or anything. It is all behavioral change. That is advice I like having and advice I like giving.

Good luck with your own experiments.

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