For a little over a year now I have been suffering from a hardcore energy drop late afternoon. Between 3-5 I hit a point where I could pass out where I am (I have been in the car with my kids a couple times when I am forcing my eyes open because I am so tired!).
It is a little better when I do strict paleo, but still there. I had my thyroid tested last year - family history of low thyroid function on both sides - and it came back normal.
Ideas? Suggestions? Thoughts? Please help!
ETA: the amount of sleep I get at night seems to have no effect, neither does weather, wake time, or meal times.
Is there any possible chance you have sleep apnea? Has anyone mentioned that you snore when you sleep? Apnea can lead to dozing off during the day and waking up pretty tired because you never get any restful complete sleep cycles during the night.
I'm writing as a Chinese Medicine practitioner of 17 years… deep fatigue showing up at that time of the afternoon suggests adrenal fatigue and a weakness of the Kidney/Bladder meridians -- I'd suggest you find a good practitioner of Chinese Medicine - a Licensed Acupuncturist, in most States… and receive some supportive care with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology, which is not necessarily a quick fix - but can comprehensively help you deal with the root of these symptoms. Coffee overstimulates weak adrenals, so it would be better for you to wean yourself off it, get lots of rest, deal with any stressors that are in your life, as well.
Have you considered anemia? I was anemic with my first pregnancy and the fatigue was like nothing I had ever experienced before. I had a long commute for work and would need to stop once or twice along the way home for fear I'd fall asleep.
Which thyroid tests did you doctor run? It's definitely possible to have thyroid issues with a "normal" TSH. Given your family history, make sure they test free T-3, free T-4, reverse T-3, as well as thyroid antibodies to completely rule out the thyroid angle. I'd also strongly recommend requesting a full hormone panel (preferably saliva). Thyroid problems and sex hormone production often go hand and hand. In fact, hormone imbalances such as estrogen dominance (which can mean excessive estrogen OR low progesterone) can can actually mimick hypothyroid symptoms, which include extreme lethargy. After three years of dedicated paleo, I'm now dealing with hypothyroid and estrogen dominance issues of my own, but it all started with symptoms of chronic fatigue. It's absolutely worth investigating, and it's worth jumping around from doctor to doctor until you find one who will take your symptoms seriously. Good luck!
Isn't this adrenal/cortisol problem? I read about it ages ago and been working on fixing it. I'm much better now. Some of the symptoms I thought were from hyperthyroidism were actually from adrenal fatigue.
http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/adrenal-info/ That page has a link to the different stages of adrenal fatigue, as it gets worse. Afternoon burnout is a symptom.
See if that page helps. I believe the main points are to eat lots and lots of good quality salt, and avoid caffeine. Both of those helped me.
If reading that page rings a bell, look here on paleohacks for posts tagged with cortisol and adrenal-fatigue. Best wishes.
Are you well-hydrated? I can get an energy drop at that time of day if I forget to drink.
How's your Vitamin D level?
I have sooooo much more energy now that mine is sufficient. (50-80 ng/ml)
I went through a phase like that a few years ago when my kids were smaller, and I never figured it out, but I had a feeling it was my hormones changing again. Is there ANY way you can take naps? That's what finally took care of it for me...naps in the late afternoon and then not staying up too late at night.
Also, if you read about Ayurveda (Indian medicine), you can find out about the natural energy cycles of the day. There is one body type that really slows down at that time of the afternoon, so they benefit by learning how to work with it instead of fight it. I'm that body type, and I really try to make it so I am doing something on the quiet and mellow side during those hours. I know you are a mom and it's nearly impossible to get time to take naps and be mellow, but hopefully this helps.
I get like that if I eat too many carbs and have noticed many others be like this too. It's not about being tired at all, just blood sugar dropping. It might be worth it to go through the low carb flu, since going low carb completely cured me of it.