4 Reasons Why You Are Falling Asleep at Work

April 28, 2021

A woman sleeping

A car’s alarm went off right outside your home at 3 am. The night out with colleagues escalated with quite a few drinks. That new episode of ‘13 Reasons Why’ just needed watching. There are numerous reasons (most of which are self inflicted) you might feel like your eyelids are getting heavier and you can’t stop yawning in your workplace.

Sleepless nights aren’t fun for anyone. However, most of us have experienced it at least a couple of times in our lives. Of course, a disrupted sleep schedule isn’t typically what you need to be worried about. If you’re frequently falling asleep or fighting that irresistible urge to nod off, it is a surefire sign that you need some lifestyle changes. 

Why are you falling asleep at work? Whether you’re working remotely or have returned to the office, we’re about to discuss a few reasons in this article so you can finally start being productive. 

1. Diet

One common factor that tends to have a very serious impact on your sleeping habits is your diet. For instance, if your diet plan doesn’t consist of a sufficient amount of iron, you are bound to feel distracted, weak, and sluggish. 

If you are struggling to stay awake while working on a project of high importance, don’t forget to consider what you have been eating recently. Consider planning your diet carefully and immersing yourself in an active lifestyle. 

If you have no clue whether your diet is the root of the problem, you should try to make notes of what you eat and drink in a food diary. For instance, too much fat or sugary foods are bound to cause sudden upsurges and crashes in energy throughout your work hours.

Instead of consuming sugary delights, switch to fueling yourself with some natural sources of energy such as honey, quinoa, peanut butter, or spinach. All of these foods consist of Vitamin D and, therefore, work reasonably well to keep you awake and alert. 

2. Sleep Disorders

Falling asleep throughout the day or feeling groggy at work may also be a sign that you may have a sleep disorder. For example, narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) are common disorders that stand in the way of people getting sufficient sleep. The inevitable result of this problem is that the person with this disorder can’t resist falling asleep at work. 

Another common health problem is anxiety-induced insomnia. This health problem can keep individuals awake all night, making it very challenging for them to stay alert during work hours. If you feel like nodding off at work only once or twice every month, you may have nothing to worry about. However, if you experience this problem more frequently, you should think about scheduling an appointment with a doctor to rule out the possibility of a sleep disorder.

3. Stress

Stress has become a sad reality in most of our everyday lives and, more often than not, our workplace is the biggest contributor to this problem. 

Stress tends to be both emotionally and physically exhausting. It is our body’s natural reaction against situations that it considers uncomfortable, perilous, and threatening. Common symptoms of stress include an increase in blood pressure, quicker breathing patterns and an increase in heart rate. 

All of these symptoms, when combined, result in affecting our sleeping patterns. Dealing with stress is the only way to prevent this problem. If your workplace has a stress management programme, go ahead and give it a whirl. Otherwise, you can encourage your managers to think about adopting one as it may help support colleagues who feel fatigued due to work-related stress.

If the latter isn’t an option either, you should try to try speaking to someone about your stress, take timely breaks from your work, and try breathing exercises.

4. Overworking

Speaking of stress, overworking is another common reason why our body feels stressed. As a result, overworking also has the ability to impair sleep and leave us feeling exhausted and groggy. 

Not only will overworking exponentially increase our chances of dozing off at our desk, resulting in a backlog of work, but this may actually be worse for your company in the near future. You see, overworking results in a decrease in productivity and, at the end of the line, employees begin to experience a burnout. 

If you think that your boss has been handing down too much work lately and have reason to believe that it is having a negative impact on your health, you should have a friendly discussion with them. Try to convince them on how your workload can be divided more fairly.

Tips on How to Keep Yourself Awake 

1. Stand Up

Most of our work schedules entails sitting at our desk for seemingly endless hours, and this sedentary lifestyle tends to worsen the problem. What you need to do is get up from your workstation after fixed time intervals and walk around the office to increase your blood pressure. Doing so will not only help you stay awake but will also help you increase your productivity and concentration.

Some of our work schedules don’t allow us to stay away from the desk longer than a couple of minutes. For this reason you need to get a little creative and find ways to move right at your desk. Now you can either fidget while working or invest in a standing desk to boost your energy at work or perhaps even start pedaling in a fitness chair to experience the same benefits. 

In addition, if your work hours require you to talk on the phone, you should try doing so while pacing around in the room or maybe even stepping outside for some fresh air. 

2. Have Some Coffee

If you’re prone to feeling a little sleepy at work, some caffeinated coffee might just grant you the energy boost you needed to get through the day. Caffeine is a known stimulant that can increase nervous system and brain activity. As a result, you will get a boost of mental performance and  thinking ability and fight your sleepiness. 

If you don’t mind a little coffee, head over to your kitchen or break room, and make yourself a coffee. If neither of these options are available to you, you can always take a short walk to the cafe. 

However, do make sure not to overdo it. Too much coffee may overstimulate your brain, which will result in you feeling all jittery and unproductive. 

3. Take Power Naps

If your work allows it, giving in to the waves of sleepiness can help you overcome the problem. Even if you have a lot of work to do, you can easily squeeze in some time to take a power nap during a lunch break. 

If you have your own cubicle or a private home work space, then go ahead and close your door and bury your head in your arms over your desk. Alternatively, you can also walk over to your car, recline a passenger seat, and doze off. 

Typically, a 15- to 30-minute power nap could grant you enough energy to get you through the remainder of the day. However, never forget to set an alarm before closing your eyes or you might end up oversleeping and making matters worse. 

4. Listen to Some Motivational Music

If you’re beginning to feel a little sleepy during work hours, maybe the root of the problem is that you're working in pindrop silence. If this is the case, you need to wake your brain by listening to some uplifting music. 

Make sure to check with your employer whether you have permission to do so while on-the-job. It is highly unlikely that they would have a problem with you listening to music unless it affects your productivity. 

5. Have a Light Lunch

As counterintuitive as it may sound, having a heavy lunch makes matters worse for daytime sleepiness. Try to keep well away from carbohydrates like white pasta, white bread, sodas, and sugary snacks. 

To keep your energy levels high, have a light lunch and make sure to pick the healthiest food items. The most common sources of energy include whole grains, vegetables, nuts, berries, chicken, and boiled eggs. Remember, the point of a lunch break is to feel satisfied and not stuffed!

Final Thoughts

If you have ruled out medical conditions and unhealthy diet plans as the perpetrator for your daytime sleepiness, you just need to induce a little more activeness in your otherwise sedentary work schedule. 

We have a solution that works 100% of the time. FlexiSpot’s Sit2Go 2-In-1 Fitness Chair allows you to pedal while sitting in a comfortable chair. Now, you have no excuses to put off your fitness journey and pedaling along at work will keep your mind sharp during work hours and creative activities. 

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