You didn't get enough sleep last night, did you? And now there's that long stretch ahead until the end of the workday. How are you ever going to stay awake? You could consume massive doses of caffeine, but that's likely to leave you wired and even more exhausted at the end of the day. Instead, try these alternatives.

  1. Stand up. There are many good reasons to get up out of your chair from time to time. Fatigue is one of them. Stand up often throughout the day and walk around for a while or run in place (but only if that behavior isn't out of place). It's also a good idea to simply stand up and stretch once in a while. If possible, do some of your work standing up.
  2. Keep your cool. Warm temperatures and fatigue go hand-in-hand, especially when you're indoors and trying to get some work done. Turn the heat off or the fan on.
  3. Have a drink. Drink lots of water throughout the day (and splash it on your face from time to time). Iced drinks of any kind will give you a jolt. Sip on something mildly caffeinated with a touch of spice, such as iced green tea with ginger or iced chai tea.
  4. Have a bite. Snack throughout the day, rather than having your usual lunch. A big meal midday will make you even more tired, while smaller bites every hour or two are more likely to give you a much-needed boost.
  5. Let there be light. Many people work in dimly lit offices and cubicles to save electricity or create a calmer environment. But calm is not what you need when you're trying to stay awake. You need bright lights and action!
  6. Give yourself a break. When you can't get up and walk around, take regular mini breaks, think about something a bit more stimulating, do a few neck rolls, shake out your hands, stretch out your arms and legs.
  7. Pump up the volume. If you can get away with it because you're home alone, or work in an office where ear buds are permitted, play the kind of music you can't possibly fall asleep to, something with a fast beat. For less distraction, choose music without vocals.
  8. Get some fresh air. If it's a cool day, step outside whenever you can. Fresh air and a change of scenery will buy you some wide-awake time.
  9. Take a power nap. Use your break or lunch period to get just 20 minutes of shut-eye, preferably out of sight of other employees, especially your boss. Set an alarm, however, or get someone to wake you up, because a longer nap can interfere with your ability to fall asleep that night.


Brody, J. "New Respect for the Nap, A Pause That Refreshes." The New York Times (reprinted by Ohio State University). 4 Jan 2000. Web. 11 Aug 2010.

Brown University Health Education. Caffeine. Web. 11 Aug 2010.,_tobacco,_&_other_drugs/caffeine.php