Maybe you’re coming down with a cold, or you stayed up too late binge-watching that new Netflix series, or perhaps you’re even you’re hungover (oops), or you’re just plain tired at the end of a long work week.
How do you deal with fatigue during your work day and remain productive? We’ve got some tips that will help! Getting enough sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your body and mind, so don’t aim to use these to keep up bad behavior—here’s looking at you, workaholic.
Being mindful of what goes into your body is always important, but especially so when you’re overly-fatigued. You might want to have some feel-good junk food, but it won’t make you feel good, it will just slow you down even more! Drink lots of water, and focus on protein and fiber-dense foods. For example, edamame has 18g of protein and 8g of fiber in just one cup! It’s great for snacking, and you can cheat a little with salt or other seasonings.
Most importantly, do NOT drink coffee. The brief buzz is not worth the crash, and if you over-do it you’ll be messing with your already-compromised thought processes.
When it comes to working while tired, choose simple tasks if you have that option, and set clear goals. Write them down if you need. Keep yourself on track by micro-managing yourself more than usual! If you have detailed notes, you can break larger tasks down into tiny ones which are easier to handle. You’ll still be getting the same amount of work done, but it will feel like a lot less.
Even if you’re working to a deadline and just don’t have the time, make the time. If you can close your eyes for even 10 minutes of “wakeful rest”, you’ll get a memory boost. Plus, that little nagging fatigue headache? It will probably go away. We recommend power naps of 15 minutes so that you’re not so far-gone you can’t come back. A power nap will improve your alertness without giving you sleep inertia.
If you’re not able to nap, just walk around. Do some jumping jacks or run on the spot. This may be the last thing you feel like doing, but getting your adrenaline going will give you a guaranteed productivity boost!
Sitting at your desk nodding off, you probably are telling yourself that you will never stay up late again. In reality it’s unlikely you’ll stick to this plan. But keep in mind— sleep debt is hard to recover from. Getting extra sleep won’t restore all systems. Lack of sleep can cause insulin resistance which leads to type 2 diabetes, and recent studies have even connected extended sleeplessness to irreversible brain damage.
It can be tempting to watch that one last episode, or stay up too late with a friend who’s in town, but keep in mind the consequences. Sleep is too important to miss out on even if you’re feeling great at the time.
If you do have to pull an all-nighter or deal with an emergency that keeps you up, keep hydrated, eat well, get lots of sun when you’re able, and don’t just get some extra hours the next night. Make sure you keep a regular schedule, even on weekends, and you’ll feel healthy, happy and most importantly—awake.