So tired at work


9 Quick Tips to Stay Awake on the Job

How to Avoid Sleeping at Work

Yes, this happens to us all. Our eyes get heavy, we begin to nod off, then startle awake, seemingly, just in the nick of time. While this is common, it can be costly, and can be avoided. We’re going to ensure you have the the right tips for how to avoid sleeping at work.

1. Boosting it Up with Breakfast

I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but we’ll say it again, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. By sticking to healthy food during breakfast, you can expect a more alert mind and body throughout the entire day.

How to avoid sleeping at work? Take note that what you need is not just energy, but energy that lasts for a long time. For this reason you must eat a meal that’s a combination of carbohydrates and protein. You see, while carbohydrates build up energy, protein gives you endurance.

2. Lighter Lunches

No, it’s not the position of the sun in the afternoon. Neither is it the absence of the moon. Yes, afternoons may bring with them that lulling warmth but that heavy meal you wolfed down at lunchtime is all to blame for your drowsiness.

Now it makes perfect sense why skipping breakfast is a capital sin. Not only do you miss stocking up on energy-boosting food at the beginning of the day, you also tend to make up by eating a lot in the afternoon. Beware because not only is this a perfect recipe for that lulling sensation after lunch, you also get a big bonus: more calories that could likely become body fats.

How to avoid sleeping at work? Get out those carrot sticks and fruit shakes. The best way to keep lunch light is to snack on veggies and fruits throughout the day.

3. H2O to the Rescue

Apparently when they say water is life, they also mean consciousness and being awake. Well, in the workplace, dozing off could be the end of your career or your life so it does make sense, right? So flush that drowsy feeling with a good dose of fluids.

How to avoid sleeping at work? If you find it tedious to drink several glasses of water in a day, try squeezing lemon, orange or any fresh fruit on your drinking water. That extra zest from the fruit should give your throat that thirsty sensation, making you drink more than your usual amount throughout the day.

4. Making Melodies

Take it from Maria. If the hills are alive with the sound of music, surely, you’ll be more alive and, well, awake with a radio by your side or earphones buzzing in your ears. But before you get too excited about creating your own playlist, check first with your Human Resources department or safety coordinator if you’re allowed to listen to music while working.

How to avoid sleeping at work? If listening to music is not taboo at your workplace, you should prefer upbeat music or songs over mellow ones for obvious reasons.

5. Air in your Head

Going outside might help you fight the urge to sleep. Don’t just plant yourself in your workstation or stay cooped inside a warehouse or confined space all day. Get out and get some fresh air. This should stimulate better blood circulation, making you feel more awake and even healthier.

How to avoid sleeping at work? While you’re at it, go for a walk outside. By stimulating some of your muscles, you send more nutrients to different parts of your body.

6. That Minty Feeling

If fresh air doesn’t combat sleepiness, you might actually need fresher breath. Yes, you read that right. By treating yourself to gum, mints, or hard candy, you can ward off sleep. The same thing could happen if you gargle with mouthwash.

How to avoid sleeping at work? Avoid sugary candies. Remember that you’re after mint and not sugar.

7. Skipping Sugar

Be wary of snacks sold from vending machines. Most of them have high sugar content. While you think a sugar rush can keep you awake, its effect usually lasts for only half an hour. So instead chomp on snacks with both complex carbohydrates and protein.

How to avoid sleeping at work? Some great examples of the ideal snack include whole wheat bread with low-fat cheese and whole grain cereals with yogurt.

8. Shooting Yourself with Caffeine

If mint in your mouth or a nutritious snack in your stomach just doesn’t do the trick, then maybe caffeine will. So go for a shot of espresso or a glass of chilled mocha. Whether it’s hot or cold, a generous serving of coffee should be able to keep you from dozing off on the job.

How to avoid sleeping at work? Go easy on the caffeine, though. You don’t want to get hyperactive, nor do you want to be dependent on caffeine to stay awake everyday on the job.

9. Better Beauty Rest

If you think you can get away with having only two hours of sleep, think again. While a lot of the tricks above might work well with you, the most effective trick is still the most practical and basic: get enough sleep every night.

How to avoid sleeping at work? A good night’s sleep that lasts for seven to 10 hours is recommended for adults to stay alert during the day.

Call (888) 886-0350 today to speak with one of our safety solutions experts.

Related Links:

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Top 7 Tips on Using the 2006 Census to Improve Workplace Safety

We’ve all been there. It’s 2 p.m. and lunch is long over. But instead of feeling recharged and focused, you’re ready to curl up in a corner, turn off the lights and take a nap. No one will notice, right?

While it’s completely normal to hit the dreaded afternoon slump, what happens when this feeling is around all day, every day?

Workplace fatigue isn’t just being physically tired—it’s being mentally exhausted.

Not only are your energy levels low, but so is your motivation. When we’re fatigued like this, it can make it difficult to concentrate and stay organized. And when it lasts for days or weeks, despite adequate sleep, it can leave you feeling anxious, depressed, and on the road to burnout.

Anyone can feel tired at work. It’s when those feelings of tiredness persist that you need to take action. Let’s take a closer look at what causes work fatigue and what you can do to stop being so sleepy at work.

RescueTime helps you take back control of your time each day and build better workday habits. Find out more and try it for free today!

What is work fatigue and how is it different than just being tired?

If you’re tired, you might feel that way for a day or two, but it will usually resolve itself after a couple of nights of quality sleep. Fatigue, on the other hand, is a bit more complicated.

So what is work fatigue?

The Mayo Clinic defines work fatigue as, “unrelenting exhaustion that isn’t relieved by rest, a nearly constant state of weariness that develops over time, reducing your energy, motivation, and concentration.”

Much like burnout, work fatigue is a constant state of tiredness that won’t go away. Eventually, it seeps into other aspects of your life and makes it harder to focus, feel motivated, and even disconnect from work.

What causes basic tiredness to become work fatigue?

Scientists don’t actually know why working a desk job makes us feel fatigued, but there are several variables that could play a role in this condition.

For one, the changing nature of work is redefining our daily schedules and making it more difficult to re-energize even on our days off.

In fact, the average American worker puts in 137 more hours per year than someone in the same industry in Japan (and nearly 500 more hours per year than employees in France!) While most people do at least one hour of work on 50% of all weekends.

Remote work also plays a part in this change. While remote workers claim to be more productive they’re also more likely to work overtime and less likely to take a day off. Remote workers also tend to work without a schedule, making it even more challenging to maintain a healthy work-life balance that prevents fatigue and burnout.

This isn’t to say that work fatigue is a consequence of modern working culture. In fact, there are many other factors that contribute to our daily weariness. Here are just a few:

Not enough or poor sleep

One of the most common (and obvious) causes of work fatigue is a lack of adequate sleep. In the U.S., roughly 40% of employees experience sleep loss. In fact, so many people aren’t getting enough sleep that the CDC has declared it a public health emergency.

Modern work schedules often force us to override our normal sleep patterns with more than 43% of workers saying regularly feel sleep-deprived.

If you’re just tired at work, a night or two of good sleep will usually fix the problem. But if you’re experiencing work fatigue, you won’t feel better no matter how much you sleep.

Insufficient downtime

The average American spends upwards of 10 hours a day staring at a screen. While we can blame a portion of that on work, most of us also spend our off-hours with our nose firmly attached to our mobile device or laptop.

Not only does this impact our ability to get proper rest (devices that emit blue light like phones, tablets, and laptops can reduce sleep quality and increase depression, anxiety, and stress) but studies show that being unable to fully disconnect from work is a major source of ongoing work-related fatigue and even burnout.

Going against your natural “Productivity curve”

We all go through a series of energy highs and lows during the day. This is thanks to something called the Circadian rhythm—an internal clock that cycles through periods of alertness and fatigue.

Going against this cycle can increase your likelihood of work fatigue and also leave you feeling frustrated and burnt out.

Worst of all, work fatigue can quickly lead to burnout

The main problem here isn’t that these factors make you feel tired at work, but that they can become so stressful that you hit burnout. More than just being tired and unmotivated, burnout is constant fatigue paired with a sense of cynicism, detachment from work, and a lack of accomplishment.

5 ways to fight work fatigue and reclaim your energy all day long

We all feel tired at work. However, if the problem is long term, it’s time to look at ways to reclaim your energy. First, determine the cause of your fatigue. Then, pinpoint a solution that will work for you.

1. Find and work during your peak productive hours

Once you determine your body’s natural Circadian rhythm, you can learn to work during the hours when you’re most alert. Simply put, this means scheduling deep, focused work when your energy levels are naturally higher.

The RescueTime Productivity by Time of Day report shows you trends about when you’re most productive each day.

When your energy levels are low, such as during the afternoon slump, switch your focus to less-important tasks like answering emails and returning phone calls.

2. Manage your motivation

We mentioned earlier how a lack of motivation can impact your energy levels and cause fatigue. But motivation is a fickle thing. If you wait for it to appear, you’ll find yourself waiting forever.

Instead, you need to engineer your workspace and your brain to self-motivate. Start by changing up your workspace to reduce clutter and make it more action-oriented. Clutter provides distraction and tends to make us unmotivated.

You can also start motivating yourself by implementing a five-minute rule. If you find yourself procrastinating on a project, spend just five minutes on it. After five minutes, you’ll usually end up doing the whole thing anyway.

Finally, create rituals and routines to signal to your brain that it’s time to start something new.

The new RescueTime for your Calendar is a powerful way to build routines and rituals. Schedule your work and use #focustime to automatically block distractions for the duration of the event.

Your brain loves repetition, so if you spend five minutes cleaning your desk before it’s time to start work, or five minutes responding to emails after each break, you are training your brain to expect this activity before you begin something more mentally strenuous.

3. Take more breaks during the day

If you’re tired at work, why not take a break? A power nap, just 15 to 20 minutes of sleep, can boost alertness and improve performance (while longer naps—called slow-wave sleep—are excellent for decision-making skills).

Taking breaks during the day isn’t just good for your productivity or combating fatigue—it’s instinctual. Sleep researcher Nathaniel Kleitman found that the human body follows a rest-activity cycle every 90-120 minutes. At night, that cycle takes you through the different stages of sleep. During the day, it manages your energy and alertness levels.

What this means is that your body craves a break to rest and recover after about 90 minutes of work. Once you understand this rhythm, you can use it to your advantage by scheduling your breaks so you are resting and recovering when your body needs it most.

4. Set limits on your working time

Work-life balance is crucial for fighting work fatigue. Yet few people set proper limits to their working day. Instead, we let our phones and email seep into our personal time and never fully disconnect from work.

On the other hand, leisure time—especially spent on hobbies and other meaningful tasks—helps up become more creative, focused, and even more productive the next day.

One of the easiest ways to make more time for these activities is to use a commitment device like RescueTime Alerts.

Here’s an example: Let’s say you want to spend more time on your musical hobby. Instead of practicing by yourself you could invite a friend over to play with you. Or, you could set a RescueTime Goal of more than 1 hour on audio editing outside of work hours.

Alerts and FocusTime are RescueTime Premium features. Start your free 14-day trial and take back control of your time today!

5. Develop a meditation routine

Finally, some studies have shown that activities like meditation and yoga can help decrease the stress and anxiety that lead to work fatigue.

A regular schedule, either in the morning or before bedtime, can have long-term effects with yoga practitioners reporting 86% more mental clarity compared to their non-practicing counterparts.

Stop feeling so sleepy at work

You don’t have to relegate yourself to feeling tired at work all the time. Instead, determine the cause of your work fatigue and try one of these solutions.

Create a sleep schedule that’s attuned to your Circadian rhythm. Be sure to take regular breaks and focus on yourself—even if it’s just 30 minutes. And try to incorporate exercise and meditation into your daily routine, which can naturally boost energy and increase positivity.

Doing these things should help you feel more rested and better able to tackle whatever your day throws at you.

What causes excessive sleepiness?

Share on PinterestExcessive sleepiness can disrupt a person’s daily activities.

Excessive sleepiness can be difficult to quantify, as it may mean different things to different people.

In general, it is a feeling of fatigue or sleepiness that lasts throughout the day or for many days.

Excessive sleepiness is a relatively common issue. A 2019 study in Nature Communications notes that 10–20% of people deal with excessive sleepiness to some degree.

There are several possible causes of excessive sleepiness, each of which has different treatments.

Sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation occurs when a person does not get enough sleep. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) note that adults need between 7 and 8 hours of sleep each night to feel alert and well-rested the following day.

However, according to the AASM, about 20% of adults fail to get enough sleep.

A person who does not get enough sleep during the night is likely to experience excessive sleepiness the next day. People who regularly fail to get enough sleep may feel constantly tired.

Some common causes of sleep deprivation include:

  • excessive or inconsistent work hours
  • personal obligations
  • an underlying medical condition

Underlying medical causes require their own specific treatments. In most other cases, simple lifestyle changes can usually improve the duration and quality of a person’s sleep.


Insomnia is a sleep condition in which people have difficulty sleeping. People who have insomnia tend to feel excessively sleepy but are unable to fall or stay asleep.

People may experience insomnia in different ways. Some common symptoms include:

  • being unable to get to sleep
  • waking continually throughout the night
  • waking very early in the morning and being unable to fall back to sleep

Insomnia can be difficult to diagnose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note that doctors generally only diagnose insomnia by ruling out other potential sleep disorders.


Treatment for insomnia may involve a combination of therapies. Examples include:

  • sedative-hypnotic medications
  • antidepressants
  • behavioral techniques to promote regular sleep

Obstructive sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a disorder in which a person temporarily stops breathing during sleep. It is a relatively common cause of excessive daytime sleepiness.

There are two types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): OSA occurs when the soft tissues in the back of the throat collapse, blocking the airflow.
  • Central sleep apnea (CSA): CSA occurs when the brain fails to signal to the respiratory muscles to breathe.

Some people experience mixed sleep apnea, which is a combination of OSA and CSA.

Episodes of sleep apnea may occur dozens or even hundreds of times in a single night. As a result, they can greatly disturb a person’s sleep cycle.

Common symptoms of sleep apnea include very loud snoring and gasping for air throughout the night.

During an episode of sleep apnea, a person’s body becomes temporarily starved of oxygen. This lack of oxygen may lead to other issues, such as an irregular heartbeat. Over time, this can lead to serious chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure and heart disease.

Sleep apnea commonly occurs when a person is overweight. When this is the case, weight loss will be the first recommended treatment.


Two common treatments for sleep apnea include:

  • Positive airway pressure devices: These devices consist of a machine that attaches to a mask, which the person wears over their face. The machine supplies pressurized air into a person’s throat while they sleep. The air prevents the throat from collapsing.
  • Oral appliances: These are similar to a mouthguard or orthodontic appliance. The devices hold the lower jaw forward slightly during sleep. This positioning prevents the soft tissues in the back of the throat from collapsing and blocking the airways.

Restless legs syndrome

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) refers to an uncontrollable urge to move the legs when they are at rest. The condition usually also causes uncomfortable sensations in the legs.

RLS may occur during both wakefulness and sleep. People who experience RLS when awake may have difficulty getting to sleep.

If RLS happens during sleep, it may cause a person’s legs to spasm or jerk repeatedly throughout the night. While this may not be enough to wake the person, it can prevent them from reaching the stages of deep, restful sleep. As a result, the person may feel sluggish and tired the following day.

Some scientists believe that RLS is due to abnormalities in the neurotransmitter dopamine, which plays a role in controlling muscle movements.


Certain lifestyle changes may be beneficial for people with milder cases of RLS. These include:

  • adopting good sleeping habits
  • exercising regularly
  • quitting smoking

People with more severe cases of RLS may need medication to regulate the levels of dopamine and iron in the body.


Narcolepsy is a neurological condition that causes a person to fall asleep suddenly and at inappropriate times.

People with narcolepsy usually experience extreme and persistent sleepiness throughout the day. Most people with this condition will also have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • sleep disturbances
  • sleep paralysis
  • hallucinations


Treatment usually involves stimulant medications, which help the person stay awake. Antidepressant medications may help control hallucinations and episodes of sleep paralysis.

Doctors may also recommend that people take a few good naps throughout the day, as this can improve narcolepsy symptoms.


Depression may contribute to sleep issues, including excessive daytime sleepiness, as well as oversleeping, or sleep that is not restful. Likewise, sleep issues may contribute to symptoms of depression.

General fatigue and daytime tiredness are common among people with depression. Other symptoms of depression include:

  • feelings of sadness
  • feelings of hopelessness or despair
  • feelings of anxiety
  • difficulty concentrating
  • difficulty remembering details


Share on PinterestPsychotherapy may help treat depression.

Treatment for depression may involve drug therapy, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two.

Several different types of antidepressant medication are available. A person can talk to their doctor about which medication would be most appropriate for them.

Common psychotherapies for depression include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, these therapies appear to be particularly effective in treating depression.

Certain medications

In some cases, daytime sleepiness may be a side effect of a particular medication, such as:

  • antihistamines
  • antipsychotics
  • antidepressants
  • anxiety medications
  • high blood pressure medications

It is important to discuss the side effects of any medication with a doctor. If side effects such as sleepiness are too difficult to deal with, the doctor may recommend a change in medication or dosage.

Hacks for Managing Daytime Sleepiness at Work

If you’re able to stay home and relax for the day, being a little sleepy isn’t a big deal. But being tired at work can have significant consequences. You might miss deadlines or get behind on your workload. If this becomes a pattern, your job could be in jeopardy.

Treating the underlying cause of daytime sleepiness — such as sleep apnea — can help improve your energy level and boost cognitive function. But even if you take steps to feel better, daytime sleepiness might not improve overnight.

Here’s how to manage daytime sleepiness at work.

1. A shot of caffeine

If you’re feeling sluggish at work, a shot of caffeine might be the energy boost you need to get your job done.

Caffeine is a stimulant, meaning it increases activity in the brain and nervous system. It can improve your thinking ability and mental performance, and help you fight off sleepiness. Head over to the break room for a coffee, or take a short walk to a local cafe.

Be careful not to go overboard. Drinking too much caffeine can overstimulate you and make you jittery, which might affect your productivity level.

2. Take a power nap

Sometimes, getting a little bit of shut-eye is the only way to get over daytime sleepiness. If you have to close your eyes, squeeze in a quick power nap on your lunch break.

If you have your own office, shut the door and lay your head on the desk. Or sit in your car and recline the seat. A 15 or 30-minute nap might give you enough energy to power through the day. Don’t forget to set your alarm clock or you may oversleep!

3. Get up from your desk

Sitting in one spot for too long can worsen daytime sleepiness. Periodically rising from your workstation and walking around gets your blood flowing. It can also help you stay to awake and concentrate on your work.

Granted, you probably can’t be away from your desk for too long. You may have to get creative and move at your desk. Maybe fidget or shake your leg while sitting in your chair. If you have your own office, pace the room while talking on the phone.

4. Listen to upbeat music

If you’re sleepy at work, having to do your job in silence can be a drag. You may feel as though you’ll fall asleep at any moment. To wake up your brain, listen to upbeat music.

Check with your employer first for permission. Your boss might be OK with listening to music as long as it doesn’t affect your productivity. If you can’t turn on a radio, get permission to listen to music through earbuds — the more upbeat the music, the better.

5. Eat a light lunch

If you deal with frequent daytime sleepiness, eating a heavy lunch could make it worse. Do your best to stay away from sugary snacks, sodas, or carbohydrates like white bread and white pasta.

Eat a light lunch to keep your energy up. You want to feel satisfied but not stuffed. As you pack your lunch, choose healthier sources of energy. This includes boiled eggs, chicken, berries, nuts, vegetables, and whole grains.

6. Keep your workspace bright

If you’re fortunate to work in a space with windows, open the shades and let in some natural light. Sunlight in your office can increase alertness and energy.

If you don’t have a window near your workspace, get permission to bring in a lightbox and position it near your desk. This emits a low level of UV light and helps regulate your wake cycle so you feel less sleepy.

7. Splash cold water on your face

If you’re struggling to stay awake at work, go to the bathroom and splash cold water on your face. This quick and simple hack can reenergize you and provide a much-needed pick-me-up.

Step outside after you splash your face if it’s a breezy day. The cool air against your face can increase your alertness.

8. Turn on a fan

You might want to invest in a fan for your office space or desktop if you deal with daytime sleepiness.

When you’re feeling sleepy, point the fan in your direction and turn it on full blast. Just like the natural breeze outside, the cool air of the fan can increase your alertness.

9. Stay busy

Daytime sleepiness can be intensified by too much downtime. Depending on the nature of your job, you may have periods when you have fewer responsibilities.

Without much to do, you may start to feel even more tired. Ask your boss for some light responsibilities, if possible. You might be able to assist with overflow work.


Learning how to manage daytime sleepiness can keep you on your employer’s good side. When drowsiness hits, try a few of these hacks to get through the day. Rule out an underlying problem by visiting your doctor if your tiredness continues for longer than a few weeks.

Why you feel sleepy at work

Do you find yourself dozing off in office? You are not alone, says a new study. Here’s how to tackle sleep deprivation
Lack of sleep is so common in the white-collar world today that it is visibly affecting their performance at work. If you often find yourself nodding off in meetings, you have the company of lakhs of corporate employees whose sleep deprivation is upsetting their productive waking hours.

An employee-based health institute in the US recently conducted a study of 1,139 employees from three companies. Lead researcher, Jennifer Turgiss, found that 15% of them doze off on the job at least once a week! Four key factors were preventing them from getting restful sleep — worry or stress, mental activity, physical discomfort, and environmental disruptors.
Another report by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) declared in the past that 29% of respondents fell asleep or became very sleepy at work, while 36% had fallen asleep or nodded off while driving.
There are several dangers of sleep deprivation. After a restless night of twisting and turning in bed, you will turn up groggy-eyed. You won’t be as sharp or productive as usual. Even five days of insufficient sleep can reduce energy metabolism and dietary restraint, particularly in women. A weak immune system, more risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity are the other adverse effects of not getting enough quality sleep.
Turgiss found that the resultant tiredness reduced one’s ability to manage stressful situations. This leads to various workplace problems: decreased decision-making abilities, lack of concentration, a decrease in cognitive function, irritability and less patience with colleagues, to name a few.
What to do
– Exercise regularly and go for brisk walks in a park.
– Take short breaks every couple of hours. During this break, take a walk around the office premises to refresh your mind.
– A healthy diet will increase your energy levels.
– Dim the bedroom lights before retiring for the night.
– Include foods with Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. A recent study conducted in the UK found that people with higher Omega-3 had better sleeping patterns.
What not to do
– Avoid too much caffeine or sugar.
– Don’t watch television or browse the internet on your laptop or mobile phone before bedtime.
– Don’t use the same bedsheets for more than a week.
– Avoid late night workouts.
What’s causing lack of sleep?
Reasons why the survey respondents couldn’t sleep
85.2% said the room or bed temperature was either too high or too low to sleep soundly
71.9% attributed sleeping issues to their partners
68.6% said unwanted noise was an issue
52.8% blamed it on bright lights
40% had issues with their mattresses
35.9% cited disruptions from children
10.2% had a medical condition that interrupted sleep

What should I do when I feel tired/sleepy at work? How do I get rid of this feeling?

  • Step outside – Just 5 minutes outside will do you often more good than drinking another coffee. Get some fresh air in, any way you can!
  • Drink some more water – Refresh your body by revitalizing it with the “life blood”. A glass of water is enough to start your metabolism and get your body working more than it usually does sitting all day.
  • Stretch every muscle – Speaking of sitting a lot, get up every once in a while and just stretch. Nothing big but just activating as many muscles as possible.
  • Relax your eyes – A lot of tension that builds up throughout the day rests around the eyes. Take a moment to relax your eyes and forehead. Close your eyes while doing this and then abruptly open them after about a minute for a small jolt of energy.
  • Celebrate in your chair – Get excited active and motivated, all while sitting down! You can have a party wherever you are as long as you start to MOVE MORE! Wiggle around a bit, move your arms more and generally do bigger movements to get your blood pumping.
  • Start a completely different task – Repitition often kills energy as it becomes an automated process. If you can do then try to liven your day up by changing what you work on whenever you (literally) get tired of your old task.
  • Eat Nuts and other energizing foods – Nuts, especially cashews and walnuts, apples, beans, avocados, and other citrus fruits are a great place to get some much needed energy during the day.
  • Avoid caffeine in the morning – Use it when you reach your “afternoon-low” but avoid it during the morning. The caffeine crashes are something that you do not want to handle during the middle of the day.
  • Generally, eat better – A lot of very heavy foods cause your body to overwork, meaning that it uses a lot of energy at a certain point in time, leaving you with less energy for everything else. Switch to some light foods and rather eat once more often than filling up to the point of a “food coma”.

Stop being less than you can be and reach your goals. Send me a message saying “Coaching” and get a chance to work 1 to 1 with me. Lukas Schwekendiek

Alaska Sleep Education Center

Do you often go through the day feeling sleepy, sluggish, and lethargic, even after a full night’s rest? While it’s common to occasionally feel dead tired during the day, persistent symptoms of daytime drowsiness could be linked to your sleep and health habits.

There are a couple of possible reasons why you may be experiencing daytime drowsiness, and we want to help you better understand what you can do to start feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed everyday.

Getting the Right Amount of Nightly Sleep

So you regularly get 8 hours of sleep every night but you still feel tired during the day. What’s the deal? For starters, the 8 hour sleep guideline is just that—a guideline.

Yes, the 8 hours of sleep standard has been routinely researched to be the number of hours of sleep that most people need. However, it doesn’t always work for everybody, and you may need to adjust it a little to get it right for you.

Fine-tune your body’s clock

Too much sleep can be just as bad as too little sleep. It’s important to dial in your personal body clock so that you feel refreshed and ready to tackle the day, everyday.

To do this, figure out what time you need to get up in the morning.

Count back 7.5 hours as a good time to start getting to bed.

7.5 hours is a good benchmark because the average person goes through five 90 minute sleep cycles alternating between sleep (non-REM) and deep sleep (REM).

It’s best to wake in-between deep sleep cycles rather than in the middle of one. Waking in the middle of REM can lead you to feeling groggy during the day. If you wake during non-REM you’re more likely to feel alert and attentive as the day progresses.

Try this 7.5 hours sleep duration for 3 days. If you find yourself waking about 10 minutes before your alarm goes off, you’ve found your perfect bedtime. If however you’re still relying on your alarm clock to wake you up, try moving your bedtime back 15 minutes every 3 days until you find yourself waking just a few minutes before your alarm goes off.

Once you find your body’s perfect internal sleep-clock, stay consistent with it. The less you vary from the norm, the more alert you will be during the day and the better you will function.

Practice better sleep habits

If you find yourself having difficulty getting to bed on time every night, there are a few things you can do to help you get to bed quicker:

  • Ditch your electronics. This may be the simplest yet hardest habit to break. The artificial light emitting from your cellphone, tablet, laptop, television set, e-reader, portable game console, etc, tricks your brain into believing it needs to stay awake because it associates light with daytime. This deception can disrupt your circadian rhythm, which in turn leads to poorer sleep at night and feeling rundown during the day.

  • Keep your room dark and quiet. Ditching those electronics may not be enough to create the ideal sleeping quarters. If possible, turn off all lights. If this is not possible, leave one dim light on or use a nightlight.

  • Try using “white noise.” Listening to music to help you get to bed may work for you, but it’s also likely to disrupt your sleep, causing more problems than it solves. If you must listen to music, try setting it on a timer that will shut it off shortly after you fall asleep. A better option is to listen to white noise while you sleep. White noise from a fan or a sound-machine creates a consistent rhythmic sound that can be both relaxing and help drown out other sudden noises that may cause you to wake at night.

  • Avoid caffeine before bed. This one should be a no-brainer, but many people have a hard time resisting caffeinated beverages before bedtime. Caffeine is a stimulant and will increase alertness at that crucial time when your body wants to wind down. If you are a habitual caffeine user, try avoiding using caffeine three hours before bedtime to help get you to sleep on time.

A Healthier Lifestyle Leads to Healthier Sleep

Diet and exercise can go a long way towards getting better rest at night and being more alert during the day. Balancing healthy eating choices with routine exercise can dramatically affect the way you perform throughout the day.

Foods to Avoid to Improve Sleep

  • Foods high in sugar and caffeine can have a temporary energy-boosting effect on the mind and body’s alertness, but is often followed by a crashing feeling that can last much longer than the short energy-surge you were after.

  • Fatty foods and processed carbs have also been associated with daytime sleepiness. These foods may fill you up but they’re not loaded with the vitamins and nutrients your body needs to produce ample amounts of energy.

  • Spicy foods close to bedtime. Spicy foods are notorious for causing heartburn, indigestion, and acid reflux. Heartburn can be made worse while lying down as it allows the acids to creep up into the esophagus and burn the sensitive lining.

For a thorough article on foods and sleep

Increase Quality Sleep with Healthy Choices

  • Eat more healthy foods. Eating more foods that naturally boost your daily energy levels can go a long way in helping you feel more alert everyday. Eat more natural, unprocessed carbs. Eat foods that are rich in antioxidants, amino acids, proteins and high in vitamins. A short list of high energy foods would be: leafy greens, whole grains, tree nuts, lean meats, eggs, fruits (especially apples, bananas, and blueberries), and bell peppers just to name a few.

  • Exercise more. Routine exercise can go a long way in curing your daytime fatigue. Exercise breeds energy. It is recommended that you exercise at least 40 minutes a day, 4 days a week. Aside from the energy boost you’ll experience, exercise also releases endorphins which will leave you simply “feeling good” about yourself.

Poor sleep could be a sign of a sleep disorder

If you practice the above guidelines of a healthier lifestyle and better sleeping habits but still find yourself suffering from daytime drowsiness, it may be a sign of a more severe medical condition such as: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), anemia, thyroid problems, narcolepsy, depression, restless leg syndrome, undiagnosed heart disease, or deficiencies in key nutrients. If you think that you may be suffering from one of these medical conditions you should contact your physician or local sleep clinic immediately.

And remember, you can always contact us here at The Alaska Sleep Clinic for questions or to schedule a consultation.

I feel sleepy during the day

By Professor Colin Espie

It is important to differentiate sleepiness from tiredness. When we feel sleepy, it is a conscious struggle to remain awake. On the other hand, when we are tired, we may feel fatigued but still remain relatively alert. You could think about this distinction by associating tiredness as a physical symptom experienced in the muscles in our body. Sleepiness however, is more like ‘brain tiredness’.
It’s a good idea to try to keep all your sleep for night-time, so if you feel mildly sleepy during the day do your best to counteract it. Exercise at lunchtime can be a good idea – a brisk walk perhaps. Getting out in the daylight is very important because natural light helps keep us alert. Then caffeinated drinks can also give us a much-needed ‘boost’ during daytime lulls.
The course helps to restore normal levels of sleepiness by increasing sleep pressure – This is a good thing and can be more pronounced during the course, which helps to get your sleep into shape. Often prior to the course, poor sleepers don’t feel sleepy at all, night or day! Sleepiness will wear off as your sleep continues to evolve.
However if you feel very sleepy – so sleepy that you might fall asleep without warning – you should take it seriously as it can be dangerous, particularly when driving. In this case you should seek advice from your doctor as soon as possible.

Filed under: Sleep disorders

Tips for Staying Awake on the Job

Here are five easy ways to keep yourself alert and productive during your shift:

  1. Take a walk before your shift. If you’re an evening shift worker, take a walk before your shift, ideally when the sun is still up. Sunlight has an alerting effect on the body and may help you feel more awake during your shift.
  2. Nap strategically. It’s often hard for shift workers to sleep seven to nine hours continuously, so naps are very important. Take a nap before your shift, and take short naps on the job if possible—even a 15-20 minute nap can improve alertness. See more tips for smart napping.
  3. Try caffeine. Drink caffeine during your shift. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep when you’re off duty, limit your caffeine to the first part of your shift and taper it off during the last half. Caffeine stays in your system for many hours.
  4. Keep moving. When you’re sedentary for too long (for example, at your desk), you’re more likely to become drowsy. Keeping your body active will help you think clearly and feel alert. If you’re talking on the phone at work, stand up or walk around while you do so. During your breaks, move away from your workstation, take a short walk or walk up and down stairs, and stay in motion.
  5. Stay safe. Take public transportation home if you can. Drowsy driving is dangerous for everyone.

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