Working all day can be exhausting, and nothing's worse than sitting at your desk, only to find your eyelids fluttering and your head nodding off. Most of us don't have the luxury to be able to take a nap at the office, so it's essential to find ways to stay awake when you're falling asleep at work. Coffee is often the go-to choice, but if you don't want to load up on too many cups or if it's late in the day, it's essential to find alternate ways to perk up when you feel you're starting to doze off on the job.
Feeling sleepy at work is not an uncommon occurrence. Of the Americans who sleep seven to eight hours per night, 45 percent report feeling or tired fatigued three times a week, according to a study conducted by YouGov. Of those who sleep six hours or less, 54 percent of people report feeling tired four or more days per week. With all these sleep-deprived people around, it's no surprise everyone is struggling to stay awake at work.
If you are looking for solutions to your midday slumbers, try these 11 tips to help you stay awake if you're falling asleep at work.
1. Get Moving
You can't fall asleep while walking to the bathroom. "Take a walk around the office," says health coach Kimberly Petrosino over email. "Chat with a coworker, get some fresh air if you can — just get a change of scenery. You might feel guilty for taking a few minutes away from your desk, but you’ll be a lot more productive anyway once you come back refreshed."
2. Make Some Face-To-Face Contact
3. Utilize Peppermint Oil
"Peppermint oil is a natural stimulant that offers a great pick-me-up for work induced coma," says Jennie Ann Freiman, MD over email. "A small one ounce bottle of peppermint oil can be kept inconspicuously in your desk at work. Take a quick whiff and almost instantly, energy, clarity, focus, and concentration improve, naturally."
4. Eat A Snack
If you feel yourself slowly fading, opt for some foods that naturally give you energy, such as eggs, avocado, whole grains, and nuts. "Keep your desk drawer stocked with healthy snacks," says Petrosino. "You may feel tired, but you might just be hungry. Sometimes when we’re busy we forget to eat every couple of hours. Set a reminder on your phone if you need to, to grab a quick (but healthy) snack every two to three hours."
5. Drink Some Water
Maybe you're not hungry, but dehydrated instead. "Keep a reusable water bottle at your desk," says Petrosino. "Fill it in the morning, and you’re good to go. Oftentimes, all it takes is a nice tall glass of water to have us feeling a lot perkier." One study from the Journal of Nutrition found that even mild dehydration can cause fatigue and problems concentrating.
6. Sit Up Straight
If you're falling asleep, you're likely slumping down into your chair. However, making a conscious effort to sit up straight can do wonders. A study from the journal Health Psychology found that posture can affect your energy levels; people who sit up straight report feeling more energetic and excited than those who sit slumped at their desk.
7. Give Yourself A Massage
"A self massage is a great way to get blood circulating and stimulate your nervous system," says holistic health coach Sarah Jacobs to Bustle over email. "Rubbing the back of your own neck and up your scalp can give a jolt of energy, as well as the pad between your thumb and forefinger and your earlobes."
8. Splash Cold Water On Your Face
Head into the bathroom and splash your face with a little cold water for a jolt that will have you waking up real quick. Your body will have a physiological response to the water, and this reaction will take your body out of its restful state.
9. Breathe Deeply
Feeling more energized can be as simple as taking some deep breaths. Focusing on taking 10 deep, slow breaths per minute can increase both your energy and your cognitive abilities, according to Mens Journal.
10. Chew Gum
A study from the British Journal Of Psychology found that participants who chewed gum for 15 minutes felt more alert than those who didn't chew any gum at all. The stimulation of your facial muscles from chewing helps increase blood flow to the head.
11. Focus On Something Enjoyable
"It sounds simple, but when you're interested in the work you're doing, your brain is in 'flow' mode, and it's focused and alert," says Jacobs. "Find something about the task at hand that gets you interested, whether it's that you're doing it for a client you really like, love the topic at hand, or maybe you just get excited by using excel shortcuts. Whatever it is, find something interesting and focus on that."