The 2 PM Slump

If you've ever had less than an ideal night of sleep or not enough caffeine in the morning, you know about the 2 PM slump.

When you live with insomnia, it's something you experience damn near every day.

Does this sound familiar?

You know what it's like. You wake up, drag your behind out of bed with your alarm, splash some cold water on your face, put on your clothes, and stumble down the stairs to get your coffee. You let out the dog, you start breakfast, and you walk through the motions of your morning until you reach a point where you realize you're actually functioning. You thank your coffee and your lucky stars and decide some extra protein at lunch should help fuel you through the afternoon.

Except, it doesn't.

Thoughts slow down, brain feels foggy

And it doesn't matter what you're doing in the afternoon, whether you had meetings or plans or work or activities – suddenly you can't make yourself stop yawning. Your thoughts slow down, sometimes gradually, and other times it happens in the blink of an eye. You notice that your brain feels a bit foggy – like you're slogging through the mud to connect the dots on your thoughts, to remember what was next on your to-do list, or to answer that question from your boss (or tiny toddler).

You might find yourself staring at your phone, trying to remember why you picked it up in the first place, or even sitting in your car, unsure of where you were originally planning to drive it.

The next logical step: caffeine. Immediately

But here's the hard thing I've learned – sometimes, caffeine isn't enough to fix the slump.

It's not enough to jump-start my brain or bring back the feelings of clarity and empowerment I found somewhere along my morning routine. It doesn't make me feel energized or less exhausted. In a way, it just makes me think more about my insomnia.

The 2 PM slump always finds me

Insomnia – the one word that describes the upending of our lives, the reason that we can't sleep easily, or well, or often. The reason that we struggle to get through each day with the brain and body power that others seem to achieve effortlessly.

For me, I've learned that it doesn't matter how good of an insomnia pattern I've been in, how many nights in a row I've felt like I had a handle on my routine and the amount of rest I was achieving – the 2 PM slump finds me, almost every single day.

Still looking for a consistent solution

And frankly, there are some days that it feels easier to push through. Sometimes an extra-large soda and a chocolate bar (not the healthiest of habits, I know) can push me through the afternoon until dinner time, and then I can coast until bedtime without needing to be fully clear or critically thinking.

But, there are also other times that this strategy just feels like a bust. Like my desperate attempt at pushing insomnia to the side has been laughed at.

No matter how hard I try, I've yet to find a consistent way to rid myself of the 2 PM slump – but I'm completely open to suggestions. I'd love if you could share anything you've learned or found successful below. Much thanks!

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.