Is it about time the girlies took a Spain-style siesta between the hours of three till five in the afternoon? This is the question TikTok users are asking after sharing how absolutely shattered they feel mid-afternoon.
TikTokker William Seremetis shared in a video, “Here’s something I’ve learned about women since living with my lovely girlfriend. From about 3-5pm every day, for no apparent reason, it’s ‘sleepy poo poo miserable time’.
“And that’s OK. I don’t know why, but from 3-5, it’s just not a good time for the ladies!”
Another user shared a video with screen text that reads, ‘Men don’t know how exhausting it is to be a girl from 3-5pm’. People commented in agreement underneath, saying: “No because this needs to be studied!!” and “Omg, is this universal? I need to be in bed at 3pm!”
It seems like there might be something to our mid-afternoon slump. Experts agree that there are two main reasons behind it.
Post-lunch nap time
Firstly, your blood sugar is heightened following a carb-heavy lunch (we’re talking anything with bread, pasta, sugars like biscuits, pastries, etc.). Nutritionist and naturopath Stephen Eddey explains, “When we eat carbohydrates, the level of blood sugar rises sharply. What goes up, must come down and we get a following slump in blood sugar levels.”
It’s all about your circadian rhythm
Secondly, it’s natural to experience a dip in energy in the afternoon as part of our body’s natural circadian rhythm. Women’s hormones in particular can take a hit around this time, as women’s stress hormone cortisol naturally declines as the body winds down for the day, contributing to lower energy levels.
“Cortisol naturally spikes in the morning and reduces as the day progresses,” Eddey says.
Our circadian rhythm – often referred to as our ‘body clock’ – helps regulate sleep, and waking and eating patterns.
Between three and five, there’s a natural lull in our circadian rhythm that causes our body temperature to drop – which is something that also happens right before we go to sleep, too. This drop in body temperature is what has our heads lolling towards our keyboard for a micro nap.
Women need more sleep than men
It’s also thought that women need more sleep than men, so if you’re not sleeping well at night, your body could be trying to make it up for it during the day. According to sleep researchers at Loughborough University, women need 20 minutes more sleep than men because of how our brains work.
“Women’s brains are wired differently … so their sleep need will be slightly greater,” Professor Jim Horne,
“Women tend to multitask — they do lots at once and are flexible — and so they use more of their actual brain than men do.”
It’s also thought that women’s menstrual cycle can affect their energy and productivity from day to day, week to week, with experts saying that the nine to five work day was created to best suit men’s body clocks, rather than women’s.
So, what’s the solution for the sleepies?
Researchers at the University of Rochester share the below ideas for beating the mid-afternoon slump:
- Don’t miss breakfast
- Pick high-energy carbs
- Snack wisely – choose high-protein snacks to power you through
- Don’t overdo sugar – it can cause your blood sugar to rise and will cause an energy slump later on
- Improve your sleep hygiene and try to get seven to nine hours a night
- Take a break to get out on a walk or do some stretches to get your blood flowing and your mind moving