So you are having a hard time staying awake at the office? Well…guess what…you are not alone! According to this CNBC article, 51% of Americans snooze at work. The article further gave a breakdown of percentages from different industries.
If you are someone who works at an office, spends the majority of your time sitting in front of a monitor, and does a lot of repetitive work, you have a higher chance of getting tired easily. In this post, I am going to share with you 5 tips on how to stay awake at the office without taking any caffeine.
It’s not that I hate caffeine, but I always try avoiding any kind of chemical or substance to my body if possible. And because of that reason water is my favorite beverage!
The following ideas work for me really well so I see no reasons why they will not work for you.
Without further ado here are my tips:
1. Get a good night sleep
First and foremost you must have enough sleep the night before. This sounds obvious but you will be surprised to hear that more and more people do not get the number of hours they need. For Adults (18-60 years) getting 7 hours or more of sleep as recommended by CDC gives your body and mind a great start to accomplish many things.
However, it is still not a guarantee that you will not feel tired at some point during the day. You will just have a lot more energy to start your day.
The likelihood of you feeling tired in the afternoon is reduced greatly just by having a well-rested night. Ideally not only you need the right number of hours but also a quality sleep. What do I mean by a quality sleep? Simply put you need an uninterrupted deep sleep and then wake up after you get your hours.
I am aware that every person has different circumstances, such as her health and environment so my best recommendation is to try your best to limit any distractions that you can control. I will share my tips to reduce distractions before you go to bed in the near future.
But what if I still feel tired despite having a good night sleep? Well the next few tips will help you with that.
2. Know and list your activities for the day
When I come to the office, the first thing I do is to go over my agenda and tasks that I need to accomplish that day. By doing this, you will have your whole day scheduled and you will not scramble to find things to do as the day goes on. It will help your mind stay focus at certain task and anticipate the next activity.
What if I don’t have many things to list? Well…first of all, good for you!!! Sometimes I wish I could be in your position but I personally would rather have too many things to do. I suggest that if you truly have time to do non-work related stuffs from your desk that will not disrupt your job and jeopardize your employment, you can write down those activities.
For example, if you are looking for a new home or car insurance, you can write a reminder to call several insurance companies. Or perhaps you are looking to buy something that you have never bought before and you are searching for a review, you can allocate some time to do that. I do not, however, recommend doing the latter too often because you could easily be tempted to look at random things that will distract and waste your time.
I knew a co-worker who spent a lot of time daily browsing around Amazon looking for deals and guess what she was not with the company anymore.
3. Get a frequent regular break
By now your mind is fresh after getting a good night sleep and you know exactly what you want to accomplish for the day. Now we can talk about some practical ideas that involve moving your body.
In order to maintain your focus and stay fresh, it is necessary to get a frequent regular break during the day. What I do at the office every day is to take a short walk around the office for about 5-7 min every hour. Yup, you heard me right…it’s every hour. I also invite my coworkers to join me whenever they are available.
I actually set up a reminder in my Fitbit so that I don’t have to keep looking at the clock. This routine gives my eyes a break and forces me to move my entire body. I feel refresh whenever I get back to my desk. Walking is good for your health!
You obviously do not want to spend too much time walking. Otherwise you will lose time working on your job and your boss will not be happy about it.
So far I receive no complaint from my boss and in fact he encourages me to continue the routine. The only negative feedback that I receive is coming from an unknown person who informed HR that my walking route is somehow bothering him/her. The next day I took a different route where I would bypass fewer cubicles and offices and I had not heard anything since then.
So if you think that your walking route might be a disturbance for some people, I suggest you strategically select your path and see if someone will complaint about it or not. Even better you may want to talk to those people in advance and ask whether your new routine would be an issue for them.
On to the next tip!
4. Eat a healthy portion of lunch
It is very common to experience sleepiness as a result of overeating. I will not go into details about all the hormones released when our digestive system works. But in short, the more food you take, the harder your body will work to burn that meal. Therefore, eating a light portion for lunch is one of the best ways on how to stay awake at the office.
If you like going out for lunch, go to a restaurant where they focus more on quality than quantity. If you are lucky enough to find a place that serves great food with above average quantity, you may want to consider bringing some home instead of throwing it away.
If you like me who regularly packs his own lunch, you have a complete control on how much and what type of food that you are planning to eat. In my opinion, the food that you consume also matters if you try to minimize feeling drowsiness after lunch.
I know that there is no firm conclusion that can explain sleepiness after eating but based on my experience carbohydrate-rich food, such as white bread, French fries, or pasta make me more tired easily. As a comparison when I have salad with a few pieces of grill chicken, I feel just fine.
So you truly just want to have a balance diet while you are at work. No overeating!
5. Avoid sitting for long time! Try standing desk!
Finally my last tip that will help you not only overcoming tiredness at work but also improving your health is to limit your sitting hours. I mentioned earlier about taking a frequent regular break, which would be very helpful in overcoming sleepiness. However, being able to reduce your sitting hours overall is actually a better solution.
When you sit too long looking at your monitor screen, your eyes and body will eventually get tired. Sitting straight for hours has an adverse effect on your body especially your back. I am saying this from my own experience. My current job requires me to sit down for long hours so after doing it for a few months, I started getting a lower backache.
One of my coworkers suggested me that I tried getting a standing desk so that I could alternate my posture. She has been using a standing desk converter for a while and she loves it.
I eventually bought one for my home office because I did not want to sit again when I use my computer at home. If you are interested to know more about a standing desk, I wrote an article about how to buy a standing desk for first-time buyer. It could be something that will help you in the long run.
Slowly but Surely
It is never easy to do something new or change an old habit but it is not impossible. I hope you are willing to try one of the five tips mentioned above. Start slow instead of changing your routine completely. For example, if you are only used to sleep for 6 hours a day, try increasing it first by 30 minutes but do it consistently.
My suggestions on how to stay awake at the office should work for most people who often feel tired in the office. However, I will not rule out a possibility of medical related issue especially if you have done all of the above ideas. If you believe your situation might be related to health issue, I encourage you to see your doctor.
Do you have any other helpful tips? I invite you to share them below in the comment box.
Thanks for reading.
To Your Health,