Seven Ways to Feel More Awake at Work When You Got a Bad Night’s Sleep

Lack of sleep is fairly common among adults, with a full third of adults in the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut tri-state region getting less than seven hours of sleep every night. With so many demands on our time, it can be difficult to get the eight or nine hours that we need to be fully awake and alert, but it can have some serious consequences.

In some cases, that lack of sleep can be dangerous, as it can increase your chances of getting into a car accident. However, it’s the day-to-day discomforts that can really take a toll. That includes trying to make it through another workday when you just want to go back to bed.

Instead of using your precious time off to make up for lost sleep, give these tips a try to keep your head in the game while you’re in the office.

Eat the Right Food

One of the best things you can do is eat the right food. Some of the best snacks to eat if you’re feeling sluggish include:

  • Celery sticks or crackers with peanut butter
  • Nuts, fresh fruit, and yogurt
  • Cream cheese with baby carrots
  • Trail mix with nuts, dried fruit, and dark chocolate
  • Veggies and hummus
  • Hard-boiled egg

You’ll notice that some of your favorite snacks are missing from the list. Although things like chips and candy bars can give you a quick boost, you’ll end up crashing and feeling more tired shortly after eating them. Avoid the temptation and choose something healthier instead.

Know What to Drink and When

Just like you have to be picky about what you eat, you also have to be picky about what you drink. That means drinking the right things, avoiding the wrong things, and knowing what to drink and when.

Coffee can give you a great boost, but it shouldn’t be consumed later in the day. Drink it in the morning for a little extra energy, but avoid drinking it in the afternoon or evening, as it can set you up for another poor night of sleep.

You should also avoid sugary drinks for the same reason you avoid sugary foods. Instead of drinking pop, reach for water, as being dehydrated will just make you feel even more tired.

Take Active Breaks

Taking regular breaks at work is important, whether you get enough sleep or not. They enable you to rest for a few minutes so you can return to your desk with a greater ability to focus.

Although you may be tempted to head to the break room and scroll social media, if you didn’t get a lot of sleep last night, you need to do something more active. Put down your phone and go for a walk instead.

If there isn’t a good place for you to walk, or you only have a minute or two before you have to get started on the next project, do some quick stretches at your desk.

Go Outside

Our lives are controlled by daylight. It regulates our sleep-wake cycle, and it has the power to energize us when we feel sluggish. Unfortunately, most offices aren’t very sunlight-friendly. If you get a minute, head outside to recharge yourself.

Getting some sunlight in the morning can energize you for the day, while a midday jaunt outside can perk you up for the afternoon. Not to mention, breathing a little fresh air can wake you right up.

Is it cold, snowy, or rainy? Go outside anyway! Even if the weather is bad, the sunlight can still have a profound effect on your energy levels. Not to mention, breathing brisk winter air is a great way to wake up your senses!

Work on Your Most Engaging Project

Chances are, there are certain tasks you have to complete that make you feel tired, even if you weren’t tired when you got to work. If these tasks aren’t essential for the day, skip them, and work on a more engaging project instead.

Not only will working on a more interesting and engaging project help keep you awake, but it can also help pass the time. That way, your day feels a lot shorter, and it feels like you get to go home and rest sooner.

Listen to Energizing Music

Music can have a profound effect on your mood. Soft meditative music can help you sleep at night, while high-tempo music can provide you with energy. You can probably guess what kind of music you should listen to if you’re feeling tired!

Pop music and heavy metal can make you feel more awake, but so can listening to any kind of music you’re unfamiliar with. Give bluegrass and banjo music a try, or listen to a popular K-pop band that all the kids are talking about. By listening to something new, you’ll engage your brain, and you can bring that engagement to whatever project you’re working on.

Take a Power Nap

There are plenty of quick fixes you can try to reclaim some energy when you didn’t get a good night’s sleep, but at the end of the day, if you’re tired, your body just needs more rest.

You don’t want to get too much during the day, even if you could, as it will interfere with the sleep you should be getting at night. Instead, see if you can squeeze in a power nap in the early afternoon.

A power nap only has to be 10 to 30 minutes. If you’ve got a break at work, consider heading out to your car for a quick snooze. Just make sure you set your alarm so you aren’t late getting back inside!

In a perfect world, you would get just the right amount of sleep every single night. Unfortunately, this is far from a perfect world. No matter why you got to bed later than you planned, these tips will help you make it through the next day without too much of a struggle.


Sudarsan Chakraborty is a professional writer. He contributes to many high-quality blogs. He loves to write on various topics.