How do I Stop Falling Asleep at Work?

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  • Written By: Melissa Barrett
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 02 October 2019
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Falling asleep at work will probably reduce a person's work performance, if not get him fired. Poor sleep patterns, boredom, and some dietary problems can all lead to fatigue on the job. There are several quick fixes, such as changing activities and drinking coffee, that can give a person a temporary boost. A person who is habitually falling asleep at work may need to make more permanent changes in sleep patterns and nutrition.

Boredom can be a major cause of fatigue at work, especially if a job involves repetitive tasks. If the boss allows it, a person can try playing music at his work station. If certain music makes a person want to dance, chances are it will energize him enough to keep him awake at work. Keeping the volume low enough not to be distracting — personal headphones can help with this — means the music can occupy a person's mind while he is doing tasks that don’t require a lot of thinking.

Chewing gum, especially gum with a strong mint taste, can make a person feel less tired. Mint is stimulating to the taste buds and the nose, often causing the eyes to involuntarily open wider. The act of chewing alone can relieve boredom and reduce stress in the jaw and neck muscles. Finally, blowing bubbles with the gum can add a bit of fun to monotonous moments. A person should just be careful not to pop the gum, which could disturb his co-workers.


Coffee is a common picker-upper for many people who find themselves falling asleep at work, and for good reason. The caffeine in coffee is a stimulant that can notably reduce lethargy. In addition, the walk to the coffee pot can give a person a quick and needed break from work and allow him to stretch his muscles.

A person who eats a large lunch heavy with carbohydrates may find himself falling asleep at work a few hours later. Starches and sugars can make the blood sugar rise quickly, only to drop a couple hours later. This drop in blood sugar can cause drowsiness. For the times when heavy lunches can’t be avoided, a person should try keeping a package of peanuts or crackers at his desk to snack on throughout the afternoon.

Eight hours of sleep each night is required for the average person to function well the next day. An occasional late night out can be probably be endured, but a habitual lack of sleep will almost certainly lead to fatigue. A person who knows he didn’t get enough sleep the night before should consider finding a quiet, remote place and catch a quick nap during his lunch break. Even 15 minutes of sleep might make it easier to stay awake for the rest of the shift.

For some, chronically falling asleep at work can be a symptom of an underlying health problem. Anemia, undiagnosed sleep disorders and depression are just a few health problems that can cause lethargy. A person should consider seeking medical advice if he finds that he is sleeping excessively or is constantly fatigued.


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Post 3

I had a boss who suffered with narcolepsy. He would be sitting at his desk working one moment then he was sound asleep in a matter of seconds. He had a few little tricks to keep him going, but with his condition, at some point he would fall asleep.

Post 2

I went through a stretch at work where I would get unbelievably sleepy around 10 o'clock, which was strange because I was getting plenty of sleep at night. I would get so sleepy that I literally had trouble keeping my eyes open.

I tried everything I could think of to stay awake, including some of the things mentioned in the article. I walked around, snacked, drank coffee and so on. Eventually, I learned that my problem was dehydration. My body was mildly dehydrated and that was causing me to get sleepy.

Post 1

At my job, we work 12 hour shifts, so everybody gets sleepy from time to time. Management recently started a policy of letting us push back from our work station desks and take a nap in our chairs. As long as we are not at our desks, we are allowed to take a quick cat nap or two during shifts.

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