Exhausted at work? 9 Tips for a more productive workday

Being exhausted at work can be dangerous, your more like to make a mistake or even cause an accident. It’s important to make sure your well rested and awake.

Photo of a tired construction worker.

When you’re tired at work, it’s easy to make an error throughout your day or, even worse, cause an accident. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “Highly sleepy workers are 70 percent more likely to be involved in accidents than non-sleepy workers, and workers with chronic insomnia (difficulty getting to or staying asleep) are far more likely than well-rested individuals to report industrial accidents or injuries.”

Here are nine quick tips to avoid fatigue in the workplace, increase alertness, increase energy levels, and create a safer, more productive day.

1. Get enough sleep!

The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep for most adults. A lack of sleep increases the risk of accidents, and it’s a leading cause of workplace fatigue. Figure out how much sleep you need to function at your best, and go to bed at the same time every night. Napping in the afternoon can restore wakefulness, too. Ten minutes is enough to boost energy.

2. Listen to your body clock

Are you a morning person or a night owl? Schedule demanding activities when your energy levels are typically at their peak, and plan ahead to avoid high-risk situations when you’re least able to focus and react. Shift work can be especially problematic as schedule changes and set work hours can disagree with your natural clock.

3. Rule out health problems

Fatigue is a common symptom of many diseases (diabetes, heart disease, anemia, thyroid disorders, etc.) Be sure to schedule your annual checkup with your doctor to monitor your health, diagnose any illnesses, and get treatments, if needed.

4. Check your medications

Lots of medications can contribute to fatigue, drowsiness, or dizziness. There are often warnings right on the bottle. If you start a new regimen and notice a change in energy or alertness, share your observations with your doctor. There may be another treatment option that works better for you.

5. Drink lots of water

Dehydration drains us of energy and makes it harder to concentrate and can lead to job burnout. To stay hydrated, drink half of your body weight (in pounds) in ounces of water each day. For example, if you weighed 160 pounds, you would need eighty ounces of water each day.

7. Get moving

Contrary to what your tired mind is telling you, physical activity boosts energy levels. Exercise improves how your body’s vital organs function (brain, heart, lungs, etc.). Exercise also gives you more energy for any activity.

7. Yoga? Yes, yoga

After six weeks of yoga classes, volunteers in a British study reported improvements in clear-mindedness and energy. If you aren’t quite ready to begin or to enhance your skills in front of a class, search for a list of yoga poses, purchase a DVD, or download an app on your phone to get you started.

8. Omega-3 oils

According to a study by Italian scientists, volunteers who took an omega-3 supplement of fish oil capsules for 21 days demonstrated faster mental reaction times and reported feeling more vigorous. Other sources of omega 3 oils include flaxseed oil, salmon, and chia seeds.

9. Lose extra weight

If you are overweight or obese, your weight could be affecting your sleep, and your sleep could be affecting your weight. It’s a vicious circle. In fact, 77 percent of older adults who are obese report some kind of sleep problem according to the National Sleep Foundation. Even a small decrease in weight can improve your sleep health and feeling less tired from work.

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