Learn about what’s most important for how to stay awake at work.

Struggling with sleepiness and wondering how to stay awake at work?

Do you have a demanding schedule and feel like it just never stops?

What do you do when you feel like you are about to pass out on your desk?

If you’re like the majority of Americans, being sleepy during the day is often due to lack of exercise, lack of a regular rhythm of waking/sleeping, as well as (obvious as it sounds) lack of sleep itself. Here’re a few ways to address this condition.

  1. Don’t reach for Redbull or Coffee: Eat balanced meals
    It’s easy to rely on caffeine as a pick-me-up, but if you’re drinking more than two servings a day (and even two can be problematic for some people), this is not healthy. Caffeine creates a vicious cycle: You’re tired, you grab an espresso, and then you’re awake for longer that night because—even though you’re ready for sleep—you can’t. Not to mention, Redbull has many chemicals that are not recommended for your body.If you’re looking for real, sustainable energy, spend the few extra bucks on a balanced lunch that will make you feel satisfied throughout the day. Remember that your balanced meal will include all members of the food groups—carbohydrates (recommended: noodles, rice, bread, etc.), protein (chicken, black beans), vegetables (green peppers, kale, broccoli, eggplant), and fruit (apple, strawberry, orange, etc). Try eating a bigger meal towards the middle of the day and a smaller one in the evening, so that you maximize the calories of the meal at work—when you need the energy.
  1. Take a nap or go for a walk.
    If you’re feeling quite sleepy and don’t think you’re going to make it, you might just need to take a short nap. You know yourself and whether you are capable of taking short naps during the day or need longer ones. If you’re a long napper and don’t have the flexibility at work to do so, it’s recommended that you put a higher priority on getting to bed earlier. Put on an alarm for yourself if necessary—late nights are a habit that’s hard for many adults to break.If you’re a short napper, you’re in luck! Studies have shown that a short cat-nap in the middle of the day can significantly improve your productivity and sense of well-being. Even if you aren’t in a position to take a nap, even just a 10-minute rest with your eyes closed can help. Our brains work in spurts—so learn to maximize your brain spurts, and also learn to treat your mind to the well-earned, quality rest it needs.Taking a walk or finding other ways to loosen up your limbs gets the blood flowing throughout your body, which reaches your brain to provide you with—energy! Don’t underestimate how much it can help just to get up and stretch, or take a walk down the hall. These breaks will improve your sense of wellbeing, provided you are not significantly sleep deprived.
  1. Try Deep breathing to awaken your mind.
    Deep breathing raises the oxygen levels in your body, which slows your heart rate and blood pressure. You’ll feel less stressed and enjoy improved blood circulation, which supports mental performance.

How to do it:

  • Sitting at your desk or standing up, place one hand on your belly and breathe in slowly through your nose, pushing out your belly. If you’re not used to the sensation, don’t worry. It takes time to feel natural because most of the time we breathe from our chests, a shallower respiration.
  • While breathing out, purse your lips as if you were whistling. Do not move your chest.
  • Breathe in and out as slowly as you can, allowing your belly to expand as your breathe in, 10 times in sequence.

By the end (and you can do this 20 times, 30 times, or continue to breathe like this the rest of the day!) you should feel more mentally stimulated. The breath is the simplest, yet one of the most powerful, factors aiding alertness.

How to stay awake at work: sleep enough, exercise, and eat well.

It’s true that the cardinal rules of health apply most when you’re looking for ways to stay awake during the day. But when you find yourself in a stressed, sleepy position, don’t automatically reach for the caffeine. Try a walk, an herbal tea (it satisfies the psychological urge for a hot drink!), or just breathe deeply!

If you’re seriously struggling with sleepiness, it’s possible that you could have a sleeping disorder, and anxiety or depression can also contribute to a potential imbalance in your circadian rhythm. If you’ve checked all the tips offered above and still can’t figure out how to stay awake at work, it could be time to visit a physician. He or she will examine you for problems that could contribute to sleeping problems, and if needed, administer a sleeping test for diagnosis.

To learn about how to improve your company’s wellness so that your employees can learn how to stay awake a work, visit us at Wellworks For You. We’re a corporate wellness company dedicated to improving wellbeing for workplaces through a variety of programming, education, and diagnostic tests.

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