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Expert Advice: Why Do I Get So Tired in the Afternoon?

If you're drinking enough water, it could be an electrolyte problem.


Whether you’re an early riser or alarm snoozer, there’s one thing many of us have in common: fatigue in the afternoon. It might seem like a minor annoyance, but feeling tired after about 2 p.m. can completely disrupt your day. What’s causing it? First, ask yourself these questions: 1) Are you drinking enough water? 2) Did you eat enough protein and fiber at breakfast and lunch? If you answered yes to both questions, you may have a different issue: electrolyte imbalance. But electrolyte powders might not be the answer — find out what our expert had to say to one of our readers below.

Meet our expert.

Heather Moday, MD, is director of the Moday Center in Philadelphia. She is board-certified in allergy and immunology, as well as integrative and holistic medicine. You can follow her on Instagram (@theimmunitymd), where she shares information on health topics. And to ask her a question here, send an email to

Why You May Get Tired in the Afternoon

Q: Every afternoon at around 3, I’m exhausted. I’ve tried drinking more coffee, but it just makes me jittery. A friend told me electrolyte powders might help, but I’m skeptical. Can they actually increase my energy?

A: They can. The electrolytes these powders contain — minerals like magnesium, calcium, and potassium — help your body absorb water for better hydration, which is known to chase away brain fog and boost energy. They’re also key for muscle contraction and nerve signaling that are crucial to allover body function.

But these powders are often packed with sugar, which can cause blood sugar spikes followed by energy-draining crashes. Instead, I suggest reaching for unflavored coconut water, which boasts electrolytes and no added sugar. And a 2012 study found the sip is just as effective at hydrating and energizing as the powders, and it improves blood sugar control to ward off blood-sugar swings. Drink the water alone or blend it into a smoothie.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First for Women.

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