How do we beat the afternoon energy slump? It’s a question most of us have asked at some point when the urge to nap has become stronger than the urge to work. And according to most fitness experts, the easiest way to beat a midday energy slump is to exercise. Even taking a short five-minute walk can get our heart pumping faster, which delivers more oxygen to our cells and provides the energy we need to make us feel less fatigued.

But as you may have noticed, even the most loyal fitness fanatics can suffer midday blahs. And it turns out, experts say the problem may boil down to when you like to exercise. New research shows there are small changes we can make to our daily routine that can have a big impact on how sleepy we feel in the afternoon. For example:  
  • If you prefer exercising in the morning, experts say only do it if you’re getting at least eight hours of sleep a night. Otherwise, sleep-deprivation puts you at risk of an energy slump all day long. 

  • And if you prefer exercising at night, the National Institutes of Health recommends planning your workout at least two hours before bedtime or else you’ll be too wired to sleep. 

  • However, the best time to exercise is in the afternoon because a moderate, midday workout can give you an energy boost lasting up to four hours. That’s because exercise increases the release of endorphins, hormones that help us feel good and less tired. Plus a study found that workers who exercised during work hours reported increased productivity and fewer missed workdays compared to workers who exercised in the morning or evening.