Everyone gets tired on the job at some point. But if you are working late hours, your sleep schedule can be even more of a challenge.
Here are six tips to help you stay awake and alert.
1. Get Enough Sleep
Especially when you are working non-traditional hours, you may find yourself staying up late (or early) to run errands, spend time with friends and family or watch TV. However, you need to make sleep a top priority. Set a bedtime and a wake-up time and stick to this schedule. If you have trouble staying asleep for eight hours in the middle of the day, try breaking your sleep time into two four- to five-hour blocks with a three- to four-hour period of wakefulness in between.
2. Eat Healthy Snacks
Junk food and soda pop will give you a burst of energy followed by the dreaded sugar crash. Resist the temptation of the vending machine by bringing a stash of healthy snacks to work. Ideas include plain yogurt mixed with fruit or granola, whole wheat crackers with cheese, cut-up vegetables with hummus or peanut butter, whole fruit and nuts.
3. Drink Plenty of Water
Dehydration can cause you to feel drowsy. If you start to feel tired despite being well rested, make sure you are drinking enough water throughout your shift.
4. Use Caffeine Wisely
A cup of coffee can jump-start your morning (or evening), but caffeine late in your shift may prevent you from falling asleep after work. A good tactic is to spread small doses of caffeine throughout the early part of your workday. This will keep you focused on the job and able to wind down when you get home.
5. Take Naps
Good news! Naps are allowed. Naps can be part of your regular sleep schedule, or you can catch a quick snooze when you feel overtired. The trick is to nap smart. You don’t want a long nap to interfere with your regular nighttime (or daytime) sleep. One great strategy is to drink a cup of coffee, and then take a 20- to 30-minute nap before you head out to work. The caffeine will kick in when you wake up, so you’ll get some extra rest without feeling groggy.
6. Space Out Your Breaks
Breaks during your workday can be refreshing and re-energizing. Make sure you use them. Pay attention to the times during your shift when you feel the most tired and plan your breaks accordingly. Try to step away from your workspace and give yourself a change of scenery. Go to the breakroom to chat with co-workers. Or, venture outside for some fresh air. You can even walk the stairs, stretch or take a walk around the block. Exercise is another clever way to fight off sleepiness.
Are You Thinking About Switching to a Different Shift?
At FirstStaff, we place light industrial workers in Little Rock, Arkansas and Paris, Texas. Search our open jobs to find a shift and a position that is right for you.