Mondays are the worst. But in reality, we all have a propensity to be tired at work. During the worst possible moments, like an important meeting or presentation, we long for a quick little snooze to re-energize and make it through the rest of the day. Sometimes it’s just hard to stay awake at work without caffeine.
At best, feeling this tired is annoying, and impedes your productivity. At worst, it can get you in serious trouble with your supervisors and employers. But what do you do?
Fortunately, the answer may be more straightforward than you think. Consider embracing any or all of the below tips to be more awake at work, more productive, and happier even as you long to the weekend and your bed.
1. Get Some Fresh Air
Outside of merely falling asleep, fresh air might be the single biggest cure for being tired at work. If you have the chance, open a window to let in some air. If you don't, take a quick walk outside to enjoy the fresh air. You'll be surprised at the effects.
Fresh air works well when it's chilly outside. But sun itself can also be of help; in fact, the Vitamin D you soak in will be vital to get you the energy you need.
2. Start Moving a Bit
If you don't have easy access to fresh air or cannot leave your desk to go outside, get some circulation going. Walk up and down the hall if need be, or take a quick trip to run an errand you've needed to run anyways.
Alternatively, look for some simple exercises to do while sitting at your desk. Either way, get your muscles moving at least a little bit to pump the blood through your veins and stay awake.
3. Step Away from the Computer
Staring at a screen for a long time doesn't just strain your eyes, but also reduces your energy levels. Even when it's not time to do some small exercises, try to vary your tasks and activities a bit.
Rather than staring at your computer screen for hours, clean your desk now and then. Read over some printed documents, or re-adjust your office decorations. Merely focusing on something other than your computer might do the trick.
4. Stimulate Your Brain
Repetitive, mindless activities are poison for a tired mind. Or should we say they're sleeping pills? Either way, now and then, you might have to stimulate your brain waves for a little bit.
Like your body, your brain needs exercise to stay awake. Solve a crossword puzzle, or play battleship with your co-workers. Break outside of your regular workday thinking habits, even if it's just for a couple of minutes every hour.
5. Get Your Adrenaline Going
Nothing wakes you up better than some adrenaline pumping through your veins. But unless you work in an amusement park, it can be challenging to accomplish. What do you do if your office doesn't have a roller coaster readily available?
You find other ways to get the adrenaline moving. Watch a trailer for your favorite horror or action movie series, or read a mystery short story. Even splashing some cold water in your face may be enough to wake you up.
6. Engage With Others
You'd be surprised just how great facetime can be when it comes to waking up. And we're not talking about Apple's video call app in this case. When you feel yourself getting tired, try to talk to someone whom you enjoy.
This type of face-to-face contact does several things. First, it helps you concentrate on a conversation, which wakes you up more than sitting by yourself. Spending time with those you like also increases your endorphin and oxytocin levels, both of which boosts your energy. You have to make sure that you actually enjoy and are actively involved in the conversation.
7. Drink Some Water
Even if you are just a little bit dehydrated, your energy and activity levels begin to decrease. You start to suffer from fatigue, which only gets worse if you lack sleep, to start. The simple solution: drink some water.
Always make sure you drink enough, especially when you're tired. If need be, bring a cold water bottle to the meeting you know will be boring. As a bonus, you might need to visit the bathroom more often, which also increases your activity level.
8. Adjust Your Posture
When we're tired, we start to slump. But slouching makes us more tired. Instead, make a conscious effort to sit up straight, and pay attention to every detail around you. Adjusting your posture is a minimalist step that still can have significant effects.
One study found that sitting up straight makes you feel more energetic and excited about the work you're doing. You might also want to think about adjusting your chair, crossing your leg, and changing your posture in other ways that force you to pay attention.
9. Listen to Music
Of course, we don't mean classical music here. Vivaldi is beautiful, but also great for sleepy music. Instead, pick an album, channel, or station that invigorates you and gets you excited.
Some suggest jazz because the disjointed style will force you to keep paying attention and keeps your mind off-balance. But you might prefer rock, hip-hop, or even metal. Anything that causes you to feel excited should be a good fit, depending on your taste.
10. Adjust Your Sleep Patterns
Finally, let's not forget about the actual, underlying reason for your sleepiness: a lack of sleep. All of the above are great tips if you find yourself at work barely being able to stay awake. But what if you could instead make sure that situation never even occurred?
Sleep Better at Home So You Don't Snooze at Work
Improving your sleep takes care of that problem. Establish a routine, reduce screen time right before bed, and wake up at the same time after about 8 hours of sleep every day. And of course, it might also make sense to take a close look at your mattress and pillow. Contact us for more information about our options, which can help you stay awake at work without caffeine and maximize your productivity.