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Why Does my Energy Crash Every Afternoon?

Q. Every afternoon I seem to lose energy. What can I do to keep from crashing?

A. I’ll answer your question with a few other questions.

Are you eating the wrong things for lunch? A lunch date with pasta and bread or a bacon cheeseburger may sound enticing, but these foods are full of refined carbohydrates or saturated fats that require loads of energy to metabolize—and slow us down. Plus, refined carbs such as white bread, pasta, white rice and pastries offer no sustained energy, as they provide a quick sugar spike followed by a crash.

A better plan is to eat smaller meals throughout the day that include solid sources of protein (eggs, turkey bacon, yogurt, white meat poultry), complex carbohydrates with good fiber content (oatmeal, sweet potato, beans, vegetables, quinoa, brown rice) and healthy fats (salmon, avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil). Smaller, more frequent meals are easier to digest and therefore won’t zap energy or slow your constitution. They also help to maintain steady blood sugar—which is key to sustained energy all day long.

Are you drinking too much coffee? Many of us depend on coffee to get us through the day, but even coffee leads to an eventual energy crash. That’s because caffeine stimulates release of adrenaline and dopamine, which contribute to the initial good mood and energy, but these effects wear off, prompting the desire for more.

Instead of another cup of joe, try nourishing your adrenals with adaptogenic herbs known to help the body adapt to stress. I like to drink Tulsi tea because it contains holy basil—a great adaptogen that assists with grounding energy (and tastes great, too)! Other adaptogenic herbs to try include ashwaganda, rhodiola, eleuthero and licorice. I like to take my adrenal formula in the morning and again in the early to mid-afternoon to give a second boost to my day.

Adequate B vitamins are also crucial for proper metabolism and sustained energy. Taking a B complex in the morning or early afternoon is a great way to perk up your day. 

Finally, are you really drinking enough water? The importance of adequate water consumption is often overlooked—and drinking enough is easier said than done! Dehydration leads to sluggish metabolism and dull energy. One of the best things you can do for yourself when feeling sluggish? Drink copious amounts of water. Bottoms up!
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