We have all experienced it, it typically starts with the heavy eyes and lack of focus, then it turns into head nods and the occasional snore. In the worst case it ends with your head planted on the desk and a puddle of drool on your keyboard. Falling asleep at work is embarrassing and has the potential to get you in a lot of trouble.
However, no matter how well we usually sleep there seems to be those days when you just can’t seem to stay awake at work. We are going to share with you some of our tried and true tips and tricks to waking up when you find yourself dozing off.
1) Move Around
Get up and get moving! If you can get away from your desk and walk around this is the best way to wake yourself up. By getting your blood pumping your body is going to start releasing hormones geared towards waking you up. It will also warm up your internal body temperature which is helps keep you awake.
Even if you have to excuse yourself to go use the restroom in order to walk around, it very well may be worth it. While you may miss a bit of your lecture or meeting, you would not be retaining the information if you were falling asleep anyway.
2) Get a Standing Desk
This is definitely a luxury that not everyone can implement in their lives. Especially if you’re desk is supplied for you by your work. However, if you can find a way to stand while on the job, the chances of you falling asleep at work goes way down. Not only will you remain awake but your posture and overall health is bound to improve as well.
If you can’t completely switch out your desk, try an additional lift like the Flexispot Standing Desk accessory that can me put on top of any kind of desk. If you are looking to get a standing desk, check out the Adjustable Desk by Yaasa. It comes in three different colors options and we love the minimalist, clean design and we think you will too.
3) Quick Chat
If your work has a break room or someplace to get a quick breath of fresh air where others might be breaking as well, you can have a quick chat with a coworker.
Having the stimulus of a conversation can help to wake you up. This can be in conjunction with your quick walk around or even a small coffee break.
4) Change Your Project
If there is a specific task that puts you straight to sleep, see if you can switch it up and finish that task in bits and pieces instead of trying to complete it in one sitting.
Or if you have been working on one part of a project for an especially long time, it might be a refreshing change to a different part of the project in order to mix things up a bit.
5) Pump Up The Music
If you can rock some headphones at your desk, then turn up the volume and find something that makes you want to move. Finding that balance between focus and peppy isn’t always easy but can be entirely possible.
Even just changing up the feel of the music can give your mind the wake up call it needs to get working again. Also, investing in a pair of headphones that let’s you focus is great. We love the Bose QuietComfort Wireless Headphones that also block out sound too.
6) Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold – Juuust Right!
Too warm and you may get too comfortable and cozy, too cold and you might fall asleep under big sweaters and blankets. Either way it is important to have a moderate temperature in your work environment. When working with others you can’t always go straight to the thermostat whenever you feel like it. However, you can attempt to control your personal surroundings.
If your office is cozy warm you can skip the extra layers and get a small personal fan at your desk. While if it is too cold you might need to snuggle up with a sweater. If you can protest the temperature with someone, it is worth the try. Remember when you do that 70-73 degrees is the optimal range for an office environment.
7) Change Your Surroundings
If you can move to a different place to work or do your homework, then do it. It is fun to change things up a bit.It not only helps with staying awake at work but can be helpful to get out of your comfort zone a bit as well.
For example, it can be hard to focus when you work from home. Try setting up shop at a coffee shop or at the library. Having a change of setting can get you back into your groove. Let’s not forget the added benefits of working at a coffee shop… Coffee!
8) Caffeine Break
Whether you like coffee, green tea, or highly caffeinated energy drinks, the concept remains. Taking a small break to get some caffeine into your system can give you the added boost to make it through the rest of your day.
Pro Tip: Avoid the sugar. Especially avoid the high sugar frapps with the drizzles and whipped cream. They will send you straight to sleep after they send you flying off the walls
9) Snacks & Gum
A quick snack can be a benefit or the final straw depending on what you pick. While a sugar rush can be helpful in the short run, it will likely send you crashing quickly. So you may want to avoid that afternoon cupcake for your coworkers birthday.
Instead, aim for a high protein and/or a high fiber snack like nuts, cheese, or cold cuts. These will give you a more balanced boost that won’t lead straight to a crash.
Chewing gum also made it to the list. While it technically is not a snack, it can help to keep you awake. The chewing motion is a small physical action that you can do without leaving what you are doing. Which is very similar to our next tip. Fiddling tools.
10) Fiddle Tools
If you are in a meeting or lecture and can’t afford to miss what is going on, you might find fiddle tools to be helpful. Far less annoying then repeatedly clicking your pen yet just as effective, the Fidget Cube is equipt with different buttons, switches, and other fidgety goodness on each side. Your hands will be far too busy to let you fall asleep.
You may have to play around with different objects to see what works for you. The stress ball is a classic and works well to get a bit of blood flowing as well. We also like the Tangle Fidget Tool it easily fits in your pocket and makes little to no noise when you use it.
How to PREVENT the pass out:
There are a few things to help avoid hitting that afternoon crash. Planning your day from the start with some helpful advice will minimize your likely hood of wondering how to stay awake at work.
1) Get a good nights sleep
It might seem obvious, but it can be easy to throw off your sleeping schedule. Try to get the right amount of sleep every single night. If you are consistent enough, it can even help make those days when you do lack sleep a little easier to deal with. If you are struggling to fix your sleeping schedule, you might be interested in How To Fix Your Sleep Schedule. We hope it will help you to get your sleep back on track.
2) Avoid High Sugar & Carb Breakfasts
Sugars and simple carbs spike your blood sugar levels, which then signals your insulin to kick in and then your blood sugar will drop drastically.Leaving you in a sleepy slump by the time you get to work or school.
Instead of sugar, stick to complex carbs like whole grain toast that is low in sugar and high protein foods like eggs.
It is breakfasts like these that will stick with you and keep your blood sugar at an even level of energy throughout the day.
3) Create a nightly routine
If you’re struggling to get to sleep, you might want to consider setting up a routine that you will do every night before you go to bed.
Not only will this help you to take actions on your intentions to go to sleep, but if you make it a habit, your body will begin to release sleep triggering hormones when you do your nightly routine in preparation for bed.
4) Work Out
In order to have more energy during the day it is good to have a healthy body. If you are working out on a regular basis you will gain endurance, meaning you will have more energy to spare during the day.
There are also exercises you can practice at the end of the day right before you go to sleep. Yoga has great options for modified stretches and holds that are great for sleeping.
5) Talk to a doctor
If you believe that you are eating right, sleeping right, staying active and still falling asleep during the day, you may want to talk to a doctor.
While it could be something really simple and nothing concerning, it is good to talk to your doctor about any worries you have to see if there is anything you can be doing differently. Or to find out if there is anything else that could attributing to your exhaustion.
Final Thoughts – How To Stay Awake At Work
Sleep is needed in order to stay alert throughout your entire work day. However, even with proper rest and diet it can still be difficult to stay awake especially if what you are doing isn’t very exciting. With these tips and tricks we hope you can find a way to stay awake through your entire work day and through other parts of your life as well.