If you spend more time lying awake than sleeping at night, getting up at the crack of dawn and then working for eight or nine hours can be gruelling. An occasional night of insomnia may not create too many problems, but when insomnia becomes a regular thing, you may need help staying alert and being productive at work.
Here are a few tips to survive the workday if you suffer from insomnia.
Eat Every Two to Three Hours
If you didn’t get much sleep last night and you’re struggling to keep your eyes open, make sure you’re eating regularly throughout the day – perhaps every 2 to 3 hours. But don’t eat junk food, which is loaded with simple carbs and sugar that can leave you sluggish.
A snack every couple of hours regulates your blood sugar and gives you a much needed healthy energy boost. Snacks might include raw veggies, fruit, crackers and nuts.
Don't Over Eat
While it’s important to keep your blood sugar regulated by eating throughout the day, don’t overeat. Pack a light lunch with whole grains, fruits and vegetables to avoid feeling sluggish around 2pm.
Wash Your Face With Cold Water
Every couple of hours, go to the bathroom and wash your face with cold water. If you’re on the verge of falling asleep, cold water wakes you up, keeps you alert and helps you stay productive.
Exercise on Your Break
Exercising might be the last thing you want to do if you’re tired, but if you walk around the parking lot or around the block on your lunch break, this releases endorphins that can help you stay alert and sharp for the remainder of the workday. If it’s too cold or rainy outside, do a few jumping jacks in the office.
Brighten Your Office
Dim or dark lighting doesn’t help when you’re feeling sluggish and tired. A dark office creates an atmosphere that reminds you of sleeping, and before you know it, you’re asleep at your desk.
If you feel yourself dozing off, open the blinds in your office and let the sunshine in, or increase the brightness on your computer monitor. If your office doesn’t have a window, step outside for a few minutes and the bright light might wake you up.
Staying cool is another way to remain alert and focused when you didn’t get a good night’s rest. A small fan in your office might do the trick, or wear lightweight clothes to stay cool.
Take a Power Nap
A 15 to 20-minute nap in your car or at your desk during lunch may be just what you need to get through the day. Just make sure you set your alarm so you don’t oversleep.
Play Video Games for Stimulation
The same way playing a video game before bedtime might keep you awake, your body may respond the same way at work. If you have a five or 10-minute break, pull out your phone and play a few rounds of your favorite game. Since you have to think and strategize, games can stimulate your mind and boost alertness.