Gbemiga, a banker working on the mainland faces a dilemma every work day. Usually between the hours of 10:00am and 12:30pm, a cloud of dizziness overwhelms him while at his work station and he goes into an unproductive time battling with sleep, most times, sleep having the better part of him.
“It’s a big dilemma for me, most especially because I sit just opposite my boss and he couldn’t just but notice this daily battle”, Gbemiga explains. “It’s very embarrassing to the extent that one way or the other, my reputation has been affected.”
This young professional is just one out of many that struggles to stay awake during work hours meant for extreme productivity.
Experts say that the body of an adult needs 7 – 9 hours of sleep daily. A typical professional like Gbemiga gets 6 hours or less at night due to the fact that 4:30am is not a negotiable waking up time so as to beat traffic and get to work as early as possible.
The first advice on staying fully awake at day time is to get enough rest at night time. As they say, you can’t cheat nature, she’ll come back hunting for the sleep you deprived her last night. Serving nature it’s due is the most effective way of dealing with struggles to stay awake in the daytime.
It’s also important to note here that the body, after some time recognizes and adapts to sleep patterns. This means it’s best to have a standard sleep time and wake up time for a good night rest. For the early risers: “Early to bed, Early to rise,” as they say. It’s best to calculate the required sleep time by subtracting the recommended hours of sleep from the required wake up time. This means that for the likes of Gbemiga who wakes up by 4:30am, the highest he should go would be to sleep by 9:30pm.
However, getting to rest well is easier said than done and it’s tempting to reach for a power drink or coffee when we feel sleepy at work. It should be noted that consuming caffeine to combat sleepiness can lead to a vicious cycle. Experts say that caffeine can reduce your sleep time, alter the normal stages of sleep, and decrease the quality of your sleep.
Therefore, other ways of staying awake at work naturally are:
1. Stand on your feet, move around, stretch or take a walk to edge off sleepiness. A good way to do this might be to keep memos or items to be given to someone across the hallway until you’re feeling sleepy and then using such times as a moving around period. You can also simply excuse yourself for a quick walk.
2. Take a 15 – 20 minutes power nap, probably during your lunch break. Researchers say that a power nap activates the right hemisphere of the brain, which is responsible for storing information.
3. Wash your face with some chilled water: Your body will have to do some work to keep you warm, thereby staying awake for that period.
4. Get some additional light exposure: Looking outside the window for a good period of time works magic, especially because it’s natural daylight. The pineal gland doesn’t release Melatonin, the hormone responsible for sleep; when there is exposure to bright light.
5. Listen to some music: Make sure you have your earphones plugged in. Researchers say that music triggers emotional responses in humans and helps in engaging many parts of our brain.
6. Avoid breakfasts that are high in carbohydrates because it gives the body a sugar spike and the crashes afterwards.
7. Last but not the least on my list here is to chew something. Probably bubble gum or peppermint. At this point, the body releases insulin in preparation for food intake which keeps you alert.