Staying Awake at Work

By | Posted October 23rd, 2012

Your eyes are heavy as the copier lights and dims. The gentle keystrokes from your neighbor’s office lull you into a pre-dream haze. After what feels like days fighting off a breakroom nap, you finally work up the courage to glance at the clock, certain you’ve got only a few minutes left before it’s time to go home. That’s when you realize you’ve only been back from lunch an hour and you’ve still got four more to go. So you fill your mug to the brim or grab a quick energy drink and grit your teeth, begging for relief from exhaustion. Sound familiar?

We’ve all been there. Preventing yourself from drifting into a peaceful slumber at work can be a challenge. To make the problem worse, you’re constantly bombarded with ads for products that supposedly help you get through the workday. But just how healthy are these products? What should you do to stay awake at work and which products should you avoid? The next time you’re struggling to stay awake at the office, try these tips to make it through the day.

Do: Exercise

Finding the time and energy to exercise can feel next to impossible. But a 2010 studyclaims just walking a few minutes a day can dramatically increase your energy level and decrease your fatigue. The great thing about this method is that it’s free and you don’t actually have to do it at the workplace. Exercising just a little at home can rid you of those 3 o’clock yawns and make drinking all those energy drinks a thing of the past. Speaking of which…

Don’t: Drink Energy Drinks

Energy drinks are the fastest growing products in the United States beverage market and comprise a $9 billion industry. With all the advertising for energy drinks around, it can be tempting to turn to these caffeine-loaded cans in times of need. But the energy contained within doesn’t come without a significant price – namely, your health. Research in Australia indicates over-consuming energy drinks can lead to heart palpitations, shaking, restlessness, gastrointestinal upset, chest pain, dizzy spells, numbing of the skin, insomnia, respiratory issues, and headaches. Are those two hours of energy really worth it?

Do: Breathe

It may sound silly, but proper breathing can actually increase your energy level throughout the workday. Drawing deeper breaths increases the oxygen flow to your bloodstream which, in turn, gives you more energy. Just by taking three to four deep breaths, you can wake yourself up enough to stride toward that 5 o’clock finish line. And, like exercise, breathing is free and easy.

Don’t: Drink Coffee

We’ve all sort of accepted that coffee is the go-to method for gaining and retaining energy throughout the day. This is evidenced by the fact that half of the American population drinks about 3.1 cups of coffee individually every day. That’s roughly 155.5 million coffee drinkers consuming 482.05 million cups of coffee on a daily basis. Unfortunately, coffee also has a slew of negative side effects. Coffee can cause anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, nervousness, upset your stomach, lead to vomiting, increase your blood-flow, as well as many other side effects. Instead of chugging down mug after mug, why not rock out to your favorite tunes instead?

Do: Listen to Music

You’ve already got the music, you’re a pro at hiding your earbuds, and you can’t be bothered to breathe or exercise when you’re facing a deadline. Well, crank up the volume and tune up the airband because listening to music can actually keep you awake at work. Not only that, listening to music increases your concentration and your mood, so you’ll be awake, happy, and productive as you inch closer to closing time. This makes music is a good alternative to caffeine, provided you don’t listen to the music so loud your eardrums bleed.

Don’t: Drink Sodas

That soda vending machine in the office break room may seem like the perfect way to get you through until five o’clock, but be warned, soda consumption has some definite downsides. Soda can raise your blood pressure, lead to heart disease, increase your risk for diabetes, lead to premature aging, cause insomnia, make your heart palpitate, and maybe even lead to some forms of cancer. But diet soda is better, right? Wrong. Even diet soda can cause osteoporosis and other health issues.

Incredibly, the very well documented negative side effects of soda consumption haven’t done much to lead Americans away from their sugary cans of choice. Half of American citizens or roughly 155.5 million people drink soda daily.

You can’t do much to control your workload or lessen the amount of advertising begging you to consume unhealthy sources of energy. You can, however, make smart choices to get you through the workday alert, energized, and healthy.