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Tiredness at work

WebMD Medical Reference
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

It is common for people to feel tired at work sometimes. Depending on the work done this could mean struggling to keep focussed on a computer screen, feeling like you may be about to nod off in a long meeting, or there's the danger of falling asleep at the wheel if you drive for a living.

Feeling tired once in a while may not be anything to worry about. It could be down to a late night or having a new baby, for example. However, it could be due to sleep problems or health conditions. If tiredness or fatigue at work is happening regularly, seek medical advice.

You could also consider these self-help tips:

Get enough sleep: Late nights and early mornings chip away at the refreshing sleep time your body and brain need to work well. Learn to know how much sleep you need. Too much can sometimes be as bad as too little. Somewhere between 7-10 hours is right for most people. Learn to wind down towards bedtime with less screen time, less caffeine and less alcohol.

De-stress: Stress and anxiety from daily life can affect sleep and drain energy throughout the day. Try relaxing more if you can and avoiding stress triggers - but seek medical advice if you are concerned about negative thoughts or depression.

Don't skip breakfast: Breakfast can be the most important meal of the day and can help make you more alert and helps with concentration during the day ahead. Look for a combination of carbohydrates and protein for energy and endurance. Good options include cereal with fruit and yoghurt, or wholegrain toast with scrambled eggs. Make time for a healthy breakfast rather than grabbing a less healthy snack on the way to work.

Sit less: With some office jobs it can be easy to end up spending most of the working day at your desk. Find reasons to get up and walk around more - perhaps see a person in another department face-to-face rather than sending an email.

Get outside: If possible get out in some fresh air during a break or lunchtime - try walking to a sandwich shop that's a bit further away instead of the work canteen so you have some exercise too.

Get some exercise: You may feel too drained to exercise - but getting the muscles and heart pumping perks up the brain too.

Watch your waistline: Putting on the pounds can make you more tired - and tiredness can lead to more comfort eating in a 'vicious circle'.

Have more water cooler moments: Another good excuse to leave a desk is to get a drink from the water cooler. As well as stretching the legs staying hydrated helps avoid fatigue. Aim for 6-8 glasses of water a day.

Light lunches. A lighter snack at lunchtime is less likely to lead to a mid-afternoon energy slump than a big meal - or worse still a 'liquid lunch'. Think wholegrain chicken sandwich rather than burger and fries.

Avoid the vending machine: It is easy to get into a routine of heading to a vending machine for a chocolate bar when energy levels begin to slump, but consider fruit or some 'complex carbs' instead - like a small piece of low-fat cheese with some wholewheat crackers.

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Reviewed on November 29, 2016

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