What Are the Causes of Grogginess in the Afternoon?

Updated November 21, 2016

Around 3 p.m., the afternoon slump hits, and you are feeling like you cannot make it through the rest of your day without a nap. You try to drink some caffeine or snack on something with sugar, but nothing seems to get you motivated. The best way to avoid grogginess in the afternoon is to find the cause of your grogginess and solutions that provide more than a quick fix.

Self-induced Causes

No sleep or not enough sleep can be a major cause of afternoon grogginess. Eating a big lunch can make you feel like you need a nap. Too much caffeine or sugar throughout the day can cause you to crash by late afternoon, making you feel drowsy and unmotivated. Being disorganised also can lead to grogginess. If you do not make a plan for your day, you can get overwhelmed and drain all of your energy without getting all of your tasks accomplished.

Natural Causes

Afternoon grogginess may be caused by a slight drop in temperature that is part of the body's natural biorhythms. This drop in temperature tells the body to prepare for sleep. There also is an increase in the level of the hormone melatonin that is produced by the body, which makes you feel tired.


Try to get at least eight hours of sleep every night. If you are in a situation where you are able to nap, take a nap between 1 and 3 p.m. that is less than an hour long. Instead of just eating three large meals a day, try eating smaller, more frequent meals or snacks. This will keep your blood sugar and energy at regular levels throughout the day. If you are able, go for a 10-minute walk or do some exercises at your desk. Exercise will elevate your energy and blood sugar levels. If you still cannot seem to shake the groggy feeling after trying all of these remedies, you might want to talk to your doctor to see if there is an underlying medical concern.


Afternoon grogginess can cause you to accidentally fall asleep at your desk, which can lead to getting fired from your job. You also can make unnecessary mistakes that can cause serious problems for you and your employer. Being tired in the afternoon can make you moody and irritable, causing you to lose your temper more quickly than usual.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Sarah L. Harrer has more than eight years of experience as an editor at Thomson Reuters. She has edited titles such as "Lindey on Entertainment, Publishing and the Arts," and written several continuing education manuals. Harrer's work has also been published in "The Pioneer" and "The Angle." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from St. John Fisher College.