Afternoon sleepiness can be caused by several factors:
Too little sleep the night before
If you are not getting enough rest overnight, you can find yourself beginning to nod off in the
early afternoon hours. Especially if your job is one where you sit at a desk working at a computer,
the monotony of looking at a computer screen can heighten this drowsiness problem.
Excessive drinking the night before
Drinking a lot of alcohol can bring about sleepiness in the following afternoon. If you can sleep
in, that will sometimes stave off the drowsiness. But if you have to be at your job at the regular
starting time of 8:00 AM, you will find yourself running very low on energy in the afternoon.
Though you might feel energetic in the morning and be able to accomplish your daily duties, there
can be an afternoon 'crash' where you will suddenly feel tired and sleepy.
Eating a heavy lunch or drinking alcohol during lunch
If you eat a very heavy lunch – two or more courses, or if you have an alcoholic drink or two with
lunch you will experience some tiredness during the afternoon. In fact, this is especially true
because alcohol is a depressant. The physical reaction to alcohol is a sleepy, tired feeling –
drinking at lunch during working hours is not as accepted as it once was during the years of the
'two martini" lunch. Though sometimes beer or two is permitted, always use caution depending upon
the nature of work you will be called upon to complete during the afternoon hours.
If you are recovering from illness
Recovering from a cold or the flu, the illness itself can make you tired before you have finished
your early morning work. If you are taking any cold remedies, one of the side effects can be
drowsiness. Be sure to read the precautions on the label before taking any medications that could
impair your judgment or activity level. In many cases, when recovering from illness, it is better
to return to work in partial days as opposed to full days. Allow your body the time to recover at
its rate, instead of being pushed to do more than you are capable of doing without suffering a
relapse of sickness.
Why am I Sleepy After Lunch? by Mark Freedman
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