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22 Aug 2011

15 Tips to Prevent Falling Asleep at Work

Dozing off at work can be an embarrassing experience. It can also create a bad impression about you at work. A recent study on US office workers found that 30% were sleep deprived. You can think up a bizarre excuse, try the following list of 16 things you can do to avoid snoozing at office.

1. Have adequate sleep at night

This might seem obvious, but it is one of those things that people take for granted. The amount of sleep required varies from one individual to another. If you are feeling drowsy at work, you might want to increase your sleep.

2. Use power naps

Taking a short 20 minute nap is an ideal way to combat your drowsiness. If napping is discouraged at your workplace, allocate time from your lunch break. Power naps can only compliment and not substitute overnight sleep.

3. Do light exercises

Walk outside or if it’s not possible, gently do some stretching exercises. Sitting on a chair can slow down your blood circulation.

4. Wash your face

Cold water on your face can keep sleepiness at bay. Gargling with water or mouth washes and brushing teeth have also been found to be helpful.

5. Get exposed to bright light

Poorly lit work places can increase your sleepiness. Move out of your block and get some sunshine on to your face. Bright lights (even artificial lights) can help you stay awake.

6. Drink coffee

Caffeine ability can help you stay alert till you catch your next nap. Limit your intake to 3-4 cups of coffee or 6 cups of tea. Caffeine taken in the evening can interfere with your night time sleep.

7. Do not skip breakfast

A breakfast rich in carbohydrates and proteins can supply energy throughout the day. A good breakfast will help you cut down on your lunch.

8. Enjoy a light lunch

Avoid heavy meals at lunch. The body will divert all its resources towards digestion making you even more drowsy.

9. Avoid too much sugar

Foods rich in sugar can give a temporary boost, but you will have a hard time fighting off the snooze that comes after. Cut down on cakes and sweets.

10. Listen to music

Depending on your office regulations, try listening to some upbeat music. And why not dance to the beat? Store some useful songs on your iPod or mobile phone.

11. Use aromatherapy

Our brain responds strongly to scents. You can use this to induce a state wakefulness. A sweet aroma can also reduce your fatigue level.

12. Keep a good work posture

Correct ergonomics will reduce the stress on your body. Working too long on a bad posture will make you more tired. But when you are very sleepy, some find it to their advantage to have an uncomfortable chair or table, keeping them awake.

13. Rule out medical conditions

While you blame it on food and posture, the real culprit could be an undiagnosed condition like anaemia or thyroid disease. Consult your doctor if you continue to have sleep problems during daytime.

14. Check your medications

Certain medications like antihistamines can cause drowsiness. Some of these can be swapped for less sedating types. If it is severe, discuss with your GP to adjust the dose or discontinue medication.

15. Screen for sleep disorders

Excessive daytime sleepiness could be the sign of a sleep disorder. Sleep apnoea and narcolepsy can both cause problems staying awake. Diagnosing such a condition will only help improving your symptoms.

You may add your own experiences in avoiding daytime sleepiness at work. Or you can share some excuses that saved you after getting caught sleeping.

You might also like our post, Causes for Excessive Daytime Sleepiness


  1. After doing all these things also, i feel sleepy..wat to do?

    1. just go ahead and sleep already for christ's sake!lmfao

    2. means you 1. better file a 5 days leave 2. take a bath 3. you go to your blanket and pillow and take a cloy of sleep...^^

  2. Nice read! I like the suggestions.

  3. I really enjoyed the tips. This is something that I am living with everyday and I am truly struggling with it. My boss actually brought it up today. I cried because I try so hard. I keep a fan blowing on me and everything but my body is just so exhausted. I fear I will lose my job. My friends say I need to be tested for a sleeping disorder, but my work insurance does not cover the full cost... I don't know what to do.


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