Overcoming the Afternoon Slump: How to Prevent Caffeine Crashes
Call it the post-lunch plunge, the midday collapse, or (if you’re feeling macabre) the most wretched hour of the day humanly possible.
Whatever moniker you assign to it, the afternoon slump is real: According to a recent study, 81% of employees experience midday fatigue—a time typically characterized by waning energy, growing drowsiness, decreased productivity, and an all-encompassing apathy toward answering that last email.  But what causes the slump?
Dehydration, a lingering hangover, dips in your blood sugar, and even your natural circadian rhythm can all be blamed. Caffeine, however, is one of the biggest culprits. So, let’s discuss how to avoid a caffeine crash like a champ.
Understanding the Caffeine Crash
Whether you consume caffeine in a can of Celsius or a Cortado, you’re probably well aware that caffeine operates as a stimulant—it provides you with a boost of energy and brain power.
But, as with any drug, a caffeine high is usually followed by a low. The dreaded caffeine crash can zap you of your enthusiasm and persuade you into thinking that sleeping in the elevator is perfectly acceptable.
Every person metabolizes caffeine content differently; smokers, for example, may “clear” caffeine from their systems faster than those who don’t light up regularly. Yet, what occurs in the body in the presence of caffeine is quite universal:
- The effects of caffeine may be felt within minutes of consumption and are thought to reach their peak at the 45-minute mark.
- Following this peak, the impact of caffeine can persist anywhere between three and five hours.
- Once the effects have worn off, you may experience a crash (or caffeine withdrawal symptoms) in the way of diminished alertness, flagging energy, trouble concentrating, growing irritability, a bit of the blues, and, to rub salt on the wound, a crushing headache.
How to Not Get a Caffeine Crash: Getting a Grasp on Sleep Pressure
Part of this crash is due to what researchers are increasingly referring to as “sleep pressure.” Put simply, it moderates how groggy you may feel as the day goes on.
This is thanks to the impact caffeine has on two key chemicals in the body:
- The molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is utilized as fuel to power through everything from yoga to Zoom meetings.
- Its spinoff, adenosine—a chemical that binds to brain receptors to make you feel primed for shuteye.
Caffeine use may have many benefits—increased cognitive function is chief among them—but one of its biggest drawbacks is that it steals adenosine’s “slots” in your brain.
This delays fatigue, and may even make you feel electric-alive, but it also causes adenosine to accumulate. And, once your caffeine high subsides, adenosine wants payback. Meanwhile, caffeine’s negative effects on your hydration and blood sugar levels can compound that overwhelming feeling of afternoon exhaustion.
The ultimate result? The desire to faceplant into your desk—aka, the dreaded caffeine crash.
3 Savvy Ways to Dodge a Caffeine Crash
Have you been Googling how to avoid caffeine crash? Don’t worry—we have a few ideas.
While you can do a few simple things to revive your energy in the afternoons—such as taking a brisk walk, downing a few glasses of water, slipping away for a catnap, eating protein, and getting some sunlight—take a look below at three possible ways to avert a caffeine crash in the future:
#1. Curb Your Overall Caffeine Consumption
Your first instinct may be to fire up your Starbucks app or grab an energy drink the second you feel that post-lunch lethargy.
Sure, another hit of caffeine might raise your spirits temporarily. But it’ll also perpetuate the vicious cycle of caffeinating, crashing, and caffeinating to compensate for the crash—which will only complicate your natural sleep cycle and make you feel more spent in the long run.
So, not sure how to stop drinking caffeine? To start, decrease the amount of caffeine you consume gradually:
- Drink half of the amount you usually do in the morning
- Swap your 2 pm cappuccino for a clean boost of concentration with our plant-based energy drinks
- Stay mindful of “hidden” sources of caffeine, such as chocolate, matcha, snack bars, and OTC pain medications
You may be surprised about the benefits of giving up caffeine once you try.
#2. Plot Out Your Caffeine Breaks
It’s not a coincidence that most people report the afternoon slump between 2 pm and 4 pm: If you drink your last cup of java at 10 am, its effects will likely fizzle out around 3 pm.
If you can manage this slump with our tips on how to avoid a caffeine crash, you might be all set. Alternatively, you might try these tweaks:
#3. Supplement Smartly
Drinking a caffeinated beverage isn’t the only way to get a boost. In fact, you may want to open Mother Nature’s medicine cabinet and, with your doc’s go-ahead, start supplementing with the following:
Bounce Through Your Afternoon with Botanic Tonics
Some may wish for a more complex and magical answer after they’ve asked Alexa “how to avoid caffeine crash.” But the truth is, keeping your caffeine consumption within bounds is the solution, as well as exploring alternative, natural supplements.
Botanic Tonics makes this second solution all the more doable—and delightful. Our feel free product line is widely recommended for enriched concentration and improved mental agility. Plus, they don’t require waiting in a queue at your local coffee shop.
Fend off that dreaded afternoon slump with Botanic Tonics—and feel fantastic while you’re at it.
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