Tips for Staying Awake on the Job

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Here are five easy ways to keep yourself alert and productive during your shift:  

  1. Take a walk before your shift . If you’re an evening shift worker, take a walk before your shift, ideally when the sun is still up. Sunlight has an alerting effect on the body and may help you feel more awake during your shift.
  2. Nap strategically . It’s often hard for shift workers to sleep seven to nine hours continuously, so naps are very important. Take a nap before your shift, and take short naps on the job if possible—even a 15-20 minute nap can improve alertness. See more tips for smart napping.
  3. Try caffeine . Drink caffeine during your shift. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep when you’re off duty, limit your caffeine to the first part of your shift and taper it off during the last half. Caffeine stays in your system for many hours.
  4. Keep moving . When you’re sedentary for too long (for example, at your desk), you’re more likely to become drowsy. Keeping your body active will help you think clearly and feel alert. If you’re talking on the phone at work, stand up or walk around while you do so. During your breaks, move away from your workstation, take a short walk or walk up and down stairs, and stay in motion.
  5. Stay safe . Take public transportation home if you can. Drowsy driving is dangerous for everyone.