There are very few things as bad for your professional career as being caught sleeping by a boss or supervisor. Even if you are not caught, for many of us, falling asleep at our desk means missed business calls, missed appointments, missed deadlines, and a lot less time to accomplish our work for the day. It’s even worse for those of us whose jobs put other people at risk of bodily harm. But, staying awake isn’t always as easy as it sounds, and we understand. So, whether your job is just so boring you can barely keep your eyes open, or you’re constantly finding yourself too tired to not use your desk as a bed, here are seven guaranteed ways to stay awake at work
Have some coffee or tea
Let’s start off with the best-known solution to this problem. It might seem obvious, but when you are feeling tired at work, your best bet is to have a cup of coffee. Caffeine, the chief ingredient in coffee, is a powerful stimulant. When ingested it helps keep the body awake and the mind alert. This is the reason why most workplaces provide coffee to their staff. A good cup of coffee in the morning will give you the kick you need to stay awake and be productive.
As the day goes on, and the effects of the coffee start to wear off, some people experience an energy crash as a result of this. Their bodies are not able to adapt to the sudden absence of this stimulant, and so they default to a sleepy state. The solution to this for some is more coffee. However, tea presents an alternative, and often healthier, source of caffeine. It contains less caffeine, but this means that you experience less of a crash when its effects begin to wear off.
Take a walk
For many, the chief reason you are feeling sleepy at work is, in fact, the work itself. This might be due to the strain it causes for you, or the tedium, work is not often known to be fun. In this case, a good solution for avoiding sleepiness is to take a walk outside. This change of scenery helps to lessen the effects work has had on you up to that point. The outdoors presents a much more relaxing environment than the stress-filled walls of your workplace. A ten-minute walk should be enough to achieve this effect. Additionally, a walk will help you relax your mind, while keeping it active enough for your eventual return to work. It is important that, during your walk away from the office, you try your best to also keep your mind out of the office. The point of the exercise is to give you a temporary separation and give your mind time to refresh itself.
Music is already known for its benefits to the mind, which is one of the reasons it is so popular today. The fact that it can dictate moods, behaviour, and a worker’s productivity makes it a practical tool in the workplace. It has the power to produce a relaxing effect, while keeping the mind active. This makes it a great option when you need something to help you avoid sleeping while you are at work. The actual music you decide to use is entirely up to you. Some people prefer high tempo music for its energizing quality, while others say they prefer slow music that makes them feel calmer during work.
Music is now more acceptable in the workplace, many workplaces play music for everyone, while others let individual employees listen to their own music. Using earphones, music is easily combined with work, you don’t have to disturb your co-workers or your own work. Studies have shown that those who listen to music while they are performing tasks are more productive and focused. Alternatively, if you are feeling tired and you need a break altogether, good music can present an effective but simple diversion for the length of time that you are free.
Manage your sleep cycle
One of the major reasons people find themselves feeling sleepy at work is simply that they did not get enough sleep the previous night. This is not hard to understand. It is often difficult to get enough sleep when you have to wake up for work early in the morning, and you get back from work late at night. However, it must be done if you are to have a chance of regularly staying awake at work.
Adults require between 7 – 9 hours of sleep every night. If you are unable to get this in a night, then your body might try to compensate for it the next day. Try to identify the possible reasons you might not be getting enough sleep each night and correct them. Besides an inadequate amount of time, some of these reasons include a poor diet, heavy drinking, stress, and depression. It is also important to watch out for midday naps. These are often good for you, but when they last for more than thirty minutes, they might interfere with your sleep later that night.
Watch what you eat
As an adult you are probably used to the idea that sometimes overeating will make you sleepy and sluggish. This is the basis of the term “food coma”, and, while not an actual form of coma, it is still very real. Overeating will cause your body to focus more of its energy on digestion and this is why you often start to feel drowsy after a big meal. Avoid eating large meals just before or during working hours. This is not to say that you shouldn’t eat before work, as this may also be the cause of your drowsiness. You need the energy within food to keep you active and focused every day. Before you leave home, have a healthy breakfast that includes low-sugar fruits, vegetables, and a protein source. Snacking during the day will also help, have some trail mix or nuts to keep your energy up.
- Engage yourself
It is important to engage yourself while working, regardless of the nature of the job. This is a necessary step in not feeling the drowsiness that comes with work. For people whose jobs are relatively simple, but very boring, the ideal way to engage yourself is through a side activity that does not interfere with your work. This should be something that both keeps you involved and that your boss will not disapprove of. Such an activity will vary depending on your workplace, but reading is often a safe bet.
On the other hand, if you have a lot of work, you can avoid feeling sleepy by playing games that have to do with work. An example is to set a target for how much work you want to do in the next thirty minutes, if after thirty minutes you meet this target, reward yourself with something fun, like chocolate. If you don’t meet it, set another target for the next thirty minutes and get that chocolate the next time. This isn’t the most engaging game in the world, but it might be enough to keep you going. Plus, there’s chocolate, and everything is better with chocolate.
Done right, this type of game will add enough interest into your work to eliminate the boredom that could be causing you to feel tired. In addition, this type of activity helps you to focus on your work in smaller, more manageable, portions. This makes you more productive, but also lessens the mental strain of your work. Each portion you complete gives you the sense of accomplishment you require to move on to the next.
Take a nap
For many people reading this article, this is the last tip they would expect to find. Why would we tell you to sleep at your workplace in an article about how to avoid sleeping? Because there is a good chance that is just what you need. The body is quite adept at telling you what it needs and if, despite all these other tips, you find yourself unable to stay awake, then your best option is to actually go to sleep. A good nap does not have to last longer than ten to thirty minutes, but this is enough to get you rejuvenated and alleviate any pressing need to sleep for the rest of your work day. This is not an unusual an idea for offices as it may sound. Some workplaces, including Google, have specially-designed rooms for the staff to take midday naps. So, maybe try it yourself.