How to Prevent Being Sleepy At Work


FIG 1 and 2. Sleepy at work

Have you ever felt sleepy at work? I think most people have ever felt it. Actually feeling sleepy is completely normal. It’s a sign from our body that we need to take a rest but excessive sleepiness will disturb our work and other activities. So, how do we prevent being sleepy at daytime, especially at work? I found several tips from two sources here: from WebMD and HealthGuidance. I will try to combine tips from these two sources and maybe all of us can find these tips useful. However, these tips are not meant to replace professional medical advice.

1. Get adequate sleep at night

Health Guidance suggest if you can, try to have an 8 hour long sleep. If not, try to have at least 6 hours of good sleep. This tip is very obvious and sounds simple but WebMD article said that most of us actually succumb to shaving an hour or two off our sleep time in the morning or at night to do other things. With adequate sleeping time and quality, your body will feel better at the morning and throughout the day.

2. Keep distractions out of bed

Discipline yourself to use your bed only for sleeping. Don’t do your homework, playing games, watch TV, browsing internet in bed. Don’t caught in heated discussion or doing something that may make you stressful before bedtime.

3. Set a consistent wake up time

Barry Krakow, MD, medical director of Maimonides Sleep Arts and Sciences Ltd. in Albuquerque, N.M., and author of Sound Sleep, Sound Mind: 7 Keys to Sleeping Through the Night, suggest setting a wake-up time. “Stick by that for the first few weeks or even months to establish a rhythm,” he says. “That process of always getting up at the same time helps to anchor the circadian rhythm. And if you do that and have a bad night, you’ll also to be sleepier the next bedtime.”

4. Gradually move to an earlier bedtime

We can try going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night for four nights and then stick with the last bedtime.This gradual adjustment is easier than suddenly trying to go to sleep an hour earlier.

5. Set consistent, healthy mealtimes

Eating a healthy breakfast and lunch on time — rather than grabbing a doughnut and coffee in the morning or a late sandwich on the run — also prevents energy deficits during the day that will aggravate your sleepiness.

6. Eat the right meal

Avoid drinking coffee too much and don’t drink alcohol especially at night, because this takes at least 8 hours for its effect to wear out and will only affect your sleep. Avoid taking large meals at night and drinking too much as this can cause you to wake up at night lessening your sleeping hours. Maintain a healthy diet. Remember to stay away from too many sweets. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. You can take a vitamin supplement rich in iron and B12 – check with your doctor first. Avoid taking medicines that may disrupt your sleep. Check with the doctor if you have to take medicine for your medical condition and it should not interfere with your sleep.

7. Set up your work place

Get more lights into your room, so you won’t feel sleepy and you would feel active again. Avoid glare in your computer monitor because it will make your eyes tired and you will feel sleepy. If you feel sleepy, you can do some physical exercise; this will help you get rid of your sleepiness. Do some stretching or walking around to keep you moving and get rid of your sleepy blues. Take a break. Go to pantry and drink some water. If you still sleepy, wash your face with some cold water to reduce your sleepiness.

8. Do Exercise

Sleep experts recommend 30 minutes of exposure to sunlight a day because daylight helps regulate our sleep patterns but you should avoid exercising within three hours of bedtime. You can try to aerobic exercise as it is good for making your sleep more soundly.

9. Manage your schedule

Try to eliminate tasks that aren’t really important. Don’t try to say YES to all the responsibility to you. Sometimes you need to say NO or delegate your job to your colleagues. Getting enough sleep at night will help you perform better during your other activities.

10. Learn to think positive

Work on your feeling of enthusiasm, so you can release positive energy in you and lessen your sleepiness. Just focus on your work and think of the good result of doing a good job out of it. Stress and anxiety causes you to lack of sleep at nights and this will only make you feel sleepy the following day.

11. Don’t go to bed until you’re sleepy

If you go to bed when you’re just tired, you probably won’t be able to fall asleep. Discipline yourself that you’re going to bed only if you feel sleepy. This is said to make you sleep easier when you go to bed.

12. Don’t take a late nap in the day

Try taking a short nap especially in the afternoon as this can refresh you to continue your work for the rest of the day but don’t be too late. Late afternoon napping can make daytime sleepiness worse if because it can interfere with nighttime sleep.

13. Create a relaxing bedtime ritual

Make sure your room is quiet and your environment is propped up to make you sleep soundly at night and to avoid feeling sleepy the next day. Take a hot bath before going to bed to make your sleep more comfortable at night. You can also try meditation or listening to soothing music to make yourself more relaxed.

14. See a sleep specialist

If your sleepiness is still present even though you have enough quality sleep, you should consult medical expert to get more advice. Sleepiness can also be caused by certain illnesses and medications. Mental conditions such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety are very commonly linked to sleep problems. Sleep specialist will help you understand the real cause of your sleepiness problem.

That’s 14 tips that I got from my two sources (see links above). I hope these tips can be useful for us to be more productive and perform better in all our daily duties.

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