If you’ve got a teething toddler, a family full of drama or health issues, or generally struggle to sleep well at night, you’ve got issues on how to stay awake at work. We feel you.
You can’t always avoid meetings or desk jockey duty, though, so we’ve collected these 10 best tips on how to stay awake throughout a mostly inactive day.
The 5 Best Tips for How to Stay Awake at Work
1. Get Some Fresh Air
If you’re lucky enough to work in an office with windows that can open, try cracking the window, or if it’s a nice day, throw that sash wide open.
If, however, your office is up too high for opening windows, or you’re too far away from them, use your work breaks to get outside and take a short, brisk walk. Even if it’s freezing cold out, a couple of minutes out in the fresh air can help keep you awake for a while.
2. Smell Some Mint or Citrus
Peel an orange, pop an Altoid, or spray a citrus or mint essential oils spray. The scents of these plants can help you stay awake, as well as lower anxiety and frustration levels. Breathe in the scent for a minute or two every so often, and you’ll perk up.
3. Go to the Restroom
Get up, and make a visit to the ladies’ room. Even if you don’t need to sit on the throne, you can splash your face with water to help you wake up. Just getting up and moving around a little bit can be an easy way to get your body awake again.
4. Be (Slightly) Less Efficient
Instead of loading up with everything you need to take across to the other side of the office, make it in two trips. The movement will always help your sleepiness levels, as well as improve your health through more activity.
5. Take a Power Nap
Not everyone can do this, but if your break room has a couch, take a power nap on your breaks instead of eating a snack or going outside to smoke. Your body will thank you for not putting rubbish into it, and you’ll start to recover from the lost sleep the night before.
Here’s A Relevant Video From YouTube:
The 5 Best Tips for How to Stay Awake In a Meeting
1. Take Small, Regular Sips of Your Morning Joe
Instead of guzzling that java down, take small sips often. The minor motion can help to keep your brain engaged enough to not nod off for as long as you’ve got the coffee going.
2. Take Rigorous Notes
Not only can this help you stay awake, but you might impress the boss or presenter since you’re probably the only one writing down the comments about his son’s favorite sports team.
3. Participate Whenever Possible
If you’re able to give feedback or ask questions during the meeting, do so. This engagement with the speaker can help to keep your brain focused on the topic at hand, rather than drifting off to Sandman’s abode.
Participating will also help you stay tuned into the topic at hand, which could be especially important if the meeting is critical for your job.
4. Get Uncomfortable
One of the best ways we’ve found for how to stay awake during inactive periods is making yourself mildly uncomfortable. If the room is a little cool, take your sweater off. Let the cold keep you awake.
If your chair has a slightly less comfortable position it could be placed in, try sitting that way.
Or, if you need to, try digging your nails into the undersides of your thighs every so often, and holding the position for a minute or two.
Best of all, if you’re able to stand during the meeting or conference, do that instead of sitting. It’s much harder to fall asleep while on your feet.
5. Try Eating a Snack or Chewing Gum
If you just can’t make it, grab those donuts you’ve been resisting. Take small nibbles to elongate the ability to snack throughout the meeting.
Or, if you’re counting calories and concerned with eating too much sugar, grab a stick of sugar-free gum and start chewing. Just make sure you don’t blow bubbles and draw attention to yourself.
Apply These Tips
Combine any of the above tips to best suit your needs. Eat a snack in meetings, take small regular sips of coffee for a caffeine boost and mild activity, take notes, or grab a power nap on your break.
You may not be able to control your sleep schedule with a teething toddler or avoid family emergencies at two a.m., but you can use these tips on how to stay awake, and function anyway.