Afternoon crash: Average person ‘hits the wall’ at 2:36 p.m.

LONDON — People typically “hit the wall” around 2:36 p.m., coinciding with the post-lunch slump, a new survey reveals. The poll of 2,000 adults revealed that employees typically face three big dips in their energy throughout the day. Alarmingly, 12 percent report experiencing their first slump before 9 a.m., and one in three feel this while driving!

The impact of these energy declines is significant. For example, 21 percent have found themselves crying, and 19 percent have had arguments with their partners during these low-energy periods. Additionally, 19 percent have canceled social plans, 16 percent have forgotten important commitments, and 15 percent have admitted to yelling at their children. In more extreme cases, 12 percent have fallen asleep in meetings, and 10 percent have made errors at work.

Despite the commonality of these slumps, 49 percent of those surveyed are unsure how to prevent them.

“We’ve all experienced an energy slump – and when it hits, it can be really hard to get out of it,” says a spokesperson for Vitabiotics Feroglobin, which commissioned the research, in a statement.

“But as well as learning how to beat it, it’s important to learn how to avoid the slump in the first place. Your diet and nutrition can have a huge impact on your energy levels, so making sure you are eating the right foods and getting the vitamins and minerals you need can go a long way to beating the slump.”

Respondents say the primary causes of energy slumps are lack of sleep (45%), insufficient water intake (25%), lack of exercise (22%), and poor diet (21%). Additionally, 19 percent attribute their low energy to monotonous tasks, and 12 percent to overly lengthy meetings.

Man bored, tired at work
Man bored at work (© Viacheslav Lakobchuk –

To combat these slumps, 37 percent of respondents turn to coffee, and an equal percentage take walks outside. Others resort to sugary snacks (30%), splashing water on their faces (26%), or listening to loud music (12%).

The average adult reportedly complains about tiredness three times a day, and 39 percent often discuss their low energy levels with friends. Concerningly, one in four of those experiencing frequent energy dips have sought medical advice.

In efforts to boost energy and avoid slumps, 38% have tried to improve their sleep patterns, 36 percent have increased their exercise, 30 percent have changed their diets, 30 percent have taken supplements, and 26 percent have incorporated more breaks into their day.

Working with nutritionist and mental health advocate Rosie Millen, Vitabiotics Feroglobin has shared several tips for overcoming energy slumps. These include chewing gum, consuming a ginger shot, watching videos of cute cats, engaging in coloring activities, creating a music playlist for slumps, and using favorite perfumes.

“We’ve all been there. Some of us more than others. And when it hits, it hits hard,” Millen says.

“We all know the obvious solutions on hand – exercise, have a cup of coffee, or take a nap. But what are some of the more unconventional hacks at our fingertips that can also help bring you out of your energy lull and allow you to get on with your day.”


1. Watch cute cat videos

Believe it or not, watching cat videos can have a profound effect on your mood and energy levels. A study from the Indiana University Media School of 7,000 people found that watching cat videos not only improves your mood but also decreases stress and re-energizes you for when you return to your work.

2. Eat an iron-rich snack

You need iron to carry oxygen to the muscles and organs in the body. When iron levels are low, this can contribute to fatigue. So make sure you get some iron-rich snacks every day to keep your levels up. Good recommendations include dried fruit and pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, and humus with chopped veggies.

3. Chew gum

This semi-strange tip actually has science to back it up. A study from the Journal of Physiology and Behaviour found that chewing gum increases blood flow to the brain which in turn improves alertness.

4. Grab a coloring book

Not only does coloring alleviate stress and reduce anxiety, but it is like a full brain workout for your neurologic system. While coloring, you use the parts of your brain (the frontal lobe) that enhance focus and concentration. Certain colors, such as yellow and orange, are also thought to increase energy.

5. Jump into an ice bath or have a very cold shower

Experts say that cold showers boost the immune system and increase energy levels. Scientists believe it improves circulation and blood flow to and from the muscles. It is also thought to improve your mood. A 2008 study found that the use of cold showers on a daily basis decreases depressive symptoms.

6. Make a playlist

Music has an incredible impact on our mood and can absolutely transform your energy levels even in a short space of time. Just popping in your earphones and blasting your favorite song alters brainwaves and improves cognitive performance. New research from the British Academy of Sound Therapy found that after listening to music for just nine minutes, 65 percent of test subjects reported they were happier and laughed more, 89 percent had improved energy levels and 82 percent felt more in control of their lives. So, get a playlist ready before you start to crash.

7. Turn up the lights

If you’re feeling slumped turn up the lights in your house. The high color temperature of bright and cool lights triggers the release of serotonin, which makes us more alert and energetic. Results of a study with 52 test subjects showed that people felt more alert and energized after having been exposed to bright light. Stepping out into the sunshine is also a game-changer. The effects of vitamin D and energy are well documented. Fatigue is one of the main symptoms of vitamin D deficiency.

8. Spray your favorite perfume

A lot of clinical research supports claims that certain essential oils increase energy and relieve fatigue. Peppermint oil, for example, is effective for preventing fatigue and improving exercise performance. Eucalyptus is thought to awaken the mind and increase mental clarity. You can either inhale essential oils directly, spray perfume with them in, add a few drops to your shampoo, or opt for an energizing massage (time and finances permitting).

9. Call a friend

Unsurprisingly, socializing with friends can be really lifting. Dopamine and oxytocin are released when you socialize which in turn boosts your mood, reduces cortisol levels, and lowers stress. In fact, social isolation has more far-reaching negative effects. New research suggests that being alone for too long is comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.

10. Have a shot of ginger

Ginger is a natural energy booster and may be able to give you the kick you are looking for mid-afternoon. Studies suggest it has stimulatory effects. Just make sure you go for as fresh as possible without any added sugar.

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72Point writer Gemma Francis contributed to this report.

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