In this , the modern era, there is perhaps no struggle more universal, more eternal, and more insurmountable than the daily struggle to stay awake at work. Whether you're morning shirt, 9-to-5, or graveyard, blue or white collar, a plumber or a social media specialist, everyone's head starts bobbing around 2 o'clock.
Unfortunately, you probably don't get a nap time at work (if you do, please switch jobs with us!), so it's important to try and find a strategy to staying awake that works for you. Not only will this help you make more of your work day, it'll also cut down on stress in and out of the workplace and probably improve your mood, too. Nothing makes us grumpier than feeling really tired and not being able to sleep--trust us, it might be happening right now.
Here are a few good practices some of us here at Coordinated have discovered during our own Sisyphean quest to stave off our lethargy. Give these a try and see if you don't feel a little more peppy when that mid-afternoon lull comes kicking around.
A Consistent Sleep ScheduleObviously, we're not going to put "get more sleep" on this list. What do we look like, rank amateurs? Don't answer that. Anyway, obviously if you're feeling tired during work you should consider getting some better sleep. But, I mean, we get it: nobody gets enough sleep. That's maybe the other eternal struggle of the modern era. There are too many good shows! Everyone else has already seen Stranger Things and Bill from accounting ALWAYS talks spoilers.
What a lot of people don't know, however, is that sleeping consistently is arguably just as important as sleeping enough. Your body needs a consistent sleep schedule to regulate your circadian rhythm. When you don't sleep regularly, your body doesn't know when to cycle through all the different "levels" of sleeping to get to that good Rapid Eye Movement level, which is what you really need. Then, your body won't know when to feel tired and when to feel awake. This is also why jet lag can really mess with you.
We know you're a big kid, and big kids don't have bedtimes, but just bear with us and try it for a week. Aim for a particular time to go to sleep, not just bed (your gameboy will be there in the morning), and a time to wake up. After a couple days, you should notice you're starting to feel awake at the appropriate times and sleepy at the appropriate times. We're not saying you have to go to bed before the sun's gone down, just try not to go to bed at 3 am one night and 9 pm the next. Your body will thank you for it.
Eating Healthy You've probably heard all about how important eating healthy is to your overall health and wellness (breakfast is the most important meal of the day, blah, blah). If you or someone you know has diabetes, you probably know a thing or two about managing blood sugar levels. What you might not know, however, is keeping a figurative eye on your blood sugar is a good way of making sure you stay awake during the day.
Your blood sugar naturally fluctuates higher and lower throughout the day as your body makes energy. Low blood sugar results in sleepiness, trouble concentrating, sweating, irritability--basically, you around 2 o' clock. Or maybe we're projecting. The reason why you feel so sluggish and tired about an hour after eating has a lot to do with the food itself. When you eat processed carbs full of simple sugars, your body is able to digest them very quickly and start producing sugars to use for energy. However, you end up digesting a little too well, and then your body has to crackdown on the sugar entering your system before you overload. What results is the infamous sugar crash.
So what can you do about the sugar crash? Start by eating proteins, vegetables and complex carbohydrates. Healthier foods take longer to break down into sugar than junk food does, which means you'll receive energy more consistently throughout the day. You should also try to be consistent with your eating habits. Eat meals at regular intervals and if you snack, try snacking on something with a little more going on than salt or sugar. A few cashews could be all it takes to save you from imminent zombification.
We'll let you in on a little secret: tea is a miracle drink. Did you know that there's a good chance it would have been impossible for the Western world to industrialize without the help of tea? That tea is positively loaded with antioxidants, and might be healthier to drink than water? How about that the caffeine in tea is naturally counteracted by an amino acid, L-theanine, found only in tea. L-theanine works to calm and relax the body, which prevents the jittery-ness caffeine can cause without preventing its positive effect of waking you up and making you more alert.Seriously, we're starting to sound weirdly like an advertisement (Coordinated doesn't make any teas, unfortunately), but literally everyone drinks coffee in the morning, and relatively few people make afternoon tea. Having tea in the afternoon is like having coffee, but it's a lot less hard on your stomach, it won't make you jittery or unfocused and it'll really kickstart the rest of your day.
There are a million different kinds of tea, and even more flavors. What we're trying to say is you've got no excuse. It seems like everyone's had some kind of negative experience, where they tried tea unexpectedly and they hated it and never tried it again! We think that's a tragedy, because if you can find the right tea for you, it's nutritious, delicious, auspicious and... another -ious word. It'll keep you awake. It's great. We might be drinking some right now. We might have gone to get it before we started writing this segment.
This might not seem as direct as the other suggestions at first, but bear with us: one of the biggest causes of fatigue is feeling overwhelmed. If you have too much going on, you may not know where to begin. Then, you're pouring your energy into feeling stressed out instead of getting work done, and THEN when you aren't getting enough work done and you get stressed about that. It's a vicious, tiring cycle.
Organize Your Day
This doesn't have to be how it works, though. Try setting aside some time at the beginning of your work day to decide what you'd like to accomplish.You don't have to get your schedule down to some exact science; that sounds stressful too! Instead, just knowing what you're going to be doing all day and knowing what you're doing right now and why can be a big help. Always having something immediate to focus on will help keep you from drifting into la la land, which will also help keep you awake.Finally, you might find a little organization will help you feel better about your work day generally. Usually, when you pause to break a project down, you'll realize it isn't as daunting as it first appeared. When you're less stressed out, the hours will pass faster, you'll be more productive and you'll feel more awake. Just make sure you schedule some time for afternoon tea. What? We're serious, you're going to love it!
Remember: your body and schedule are different from anybody else's. Applying these general strategies might help perk you up when your sugar crashes and the afternoon comes in like a steamroller, but they might not. That's ok! Feeling tired is natural and isn't something you should feel guilty about, and beating yourself up about it certainly won't help you feel more awake.
The most important thing you can do, whether you're trying to stay awake at work, trying to be more productive or trying to live a happier life, is take care of yourself. It's easy to put self care on the back burner or to neglect it entirely; we're all out there on our grind everyday. However, this is beyond being a good employee. To be a good friend, family member or anything else, you have to devote some time and energy to yourself, the way you would any other project in your life. Take it easy every once in awhile. Remind yourself that you're doing alright. Read some hilarious internet articles. Look at some cute animal pictures. Make yourself some tea! What?
Oh, and if you're tiring yourself out stressing out about some equipment or supplies your business needs and doesn't have, fear not! Just get in touch with us today and we'll help you find your solution quickly, painlessly and effectively.