How To Stay Awake at Work: 5 Tips for Overcoming Tiredness | Sleep Clinic Services

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How To Stay Awake at Work: 5 Tips for Overcoming Tiredness

Stay Awake at Work

Do you ever struggle to stay awake at work? Maybe you doze off during a long meeting or hit an afternoon slump and need sugar or caffeine to jolt you awake. Feeling tired at work affects your productivity. It can make you less motivated, less efficient and in some cases can be very dangerous.

Tiredness at work is common. You may have had a late night or two during the week or you may struggle to stay awake at work on a daily basis. Either way, we have some quick fixes that will help you get through your day.

1. Go for a walk

A brisk walk around the block does wonders to re-energise your body and mind. Walking pumps oxygen through your brain, muscles and veins, and can keep you alert for up to 2 hours after. Even if you don’t think you have time for a 10-minute walk in the middle of your working day, a brisk walk to grab lunch or walking up and down a flight of stairs a few times will help you stay awake at work. The effort is worth it.

2. Break It Up

Staying motivated at work often boils down to how interested and excited you are about what you’re doing. In our fast-paced world, most of us are used to constant stimulation. So, if you’re doing the same repetitive task, you’ve been staring at a screen for over an hour or you’re reading through a dense report, try breaking it up a bit. There are a number of ways to do this. Schedule your day to do the tedious but necessary things in the morning and leave the afternoon for the tasks you find more interesting. Or, simply take regular short breaks and get up and move. Even doing a few stretching exercises or jumping jacks can help re-charge your mind and make you more focused.

3. Drink Water

Dehydration causes fatigue. If you’re even slightly dehydrated your brain may be getting less oxygen which makes your heart work harder to pump oxygen to your organs. So it makes sense that drinking water will help you stay awake at work. And it’s great for you. If you’re feeling tired drink a glass of icy cold water. Not only is it refreshing but your body will start working to convert it to room temperature.

4. Brighten Your Space

Working in a brighter space with more light can help you stay awake at work. Your circadian rhythm (your inner clock) tells your mind and body when to sleep and when to wake up. The biggest indicator of when to wake up is daylight. Even just one hour of bright light each day has been proven to have a significant impact on cognitive ability and physical performance. Exposure to bright light during the day can also help you sleep better at night. Create a lighter and brighter workspace by opening blinds or curtains or position your desk closer to a window. If a lighter workspace isn’t an option head outside on your lunch break for a natural light fix.

5. Turn on some Tunes

If you’re working on a task that is tedious and doesn’t require a huge amount of concentration music can help you stay awake at work. Energetic, fast-paced music can help keep you more alert and motivated. Don’t forget to use headphones if you’re in a shared or open-plan office space.


The Best Way to Stay Awake at Work

If you’re always tired at work it’s time to start looking at your health and lifestyle habits as a whole. Either you’re not getting enough sleep or your sleep is not deep enough to be restorative for your mind and body. These are a number of lifestyle changes you can make today to help you stay awake at work:

Eat and Drink Well

What you eat makes a big difference to how well you sleep. Fresh, healthy food provides your body with sustenance and longer-lasting energy to help get you through the day. Sugary or high-fat food creates a toxic environment where your body has to work harder to process food. And the glucose highs and lows of sugary food just aren’t worth it. Drinking plenty of water will also make a big difference as opposed to caffeine, alcohol or sugary drinks which may impact your quality of sleep.

Regular Exercise

Getting regular exercise improves the flow of oxygen to your brain and throughout your body making you more alert during the day. In fact, the use of muscles releases adrenaline, a super powerful stimulant. Exercise also results in a deeper sleep.

Assess Your Sleep

If you find yourself struggling to stay awake at work even after changing your lifestyle habits, it’s time to look at your sleep habits. Feeling tired during the day on a regular basis may be a sign of an underlying health issue. 1 in 3 people suffers from sleep-disordered breathing which can have a huge impact on whether or not you are getting deep, restorative sleep. Most people who suffer from snoring and sleep apnea don’t even know they have it. They wake hundreds of times each night without even realising.


If your daytime sleepiness is affecting your work and productivity or you just want to feel more alert and healthier, it’s worth taking the time to assess your sleep. A sleep self-assessment is a quick and easy process that may lead you on the road to a better night’s sleep. Call us today on 1300 246 637 or submit the contact form below for a free no-obligation chat with one of our friendly Sleep Therapists. Contact us now.


  • Corbett, R. W., Middleton, B., Arendt, J. An hour of bright white light in the early morning improves performance and advances sleep and circadian phase during the Antarctic winter. Neuroscience Letters. 2012 Sep 13; 525(2):146-51. Epub 2012 Jun 26.
  • Chellappa, S. L., Gordijn, M. C., Cajochen, C. Can light make us bright? Effects of light on cognition and sleep. Progress in Brain Research. 2011;190:119-33.
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