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Opinion: Eat, drink, and (don’t) sleep at work

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The warmth of summer sunshine sometimes makes me want to fall asleep… at work. I could be in the middle of a great conversation or typing up a breaking news story (probably not) when I start to feel the heaviness of my eyelids as they start to flutter. I then must resist the urge to completely shut down with fatigue.

Sometimes, a little research on an issue can help you prevent it in the future. For me, I realized that my third grade teacher was right in making breakfast the most important meal of the day. Even if it means waking up after my third alarm clock instead of my fourth, I’d rather be groggy before I get to work than hungry and tired by the middle of the day.

Many times, we feel tired because our blood sugar is low. While grabbing a candy bar or energy drink seems convenient and tasty, healthy snacks are a great way to get natural sugars into your body and keep you energized. My favorites are frozen grapes, apple slices, or granola mixes with a handful of marshmallows. If you’ve never had frozen green grapes, they are actually life-changing, mesmerizing pops of goodness that taste like candy — sweet, frozen, sour candy.

Even though the warmth of the sun makes me want to curl up like a cat and rest, the bright rays can also keep me awake. Natural sunlight is a great way to get Vitamin D to your skin, so switch up your working environment for a day or even a few minutes if possible. Take a walk outside during your lunch break or simply excuse yourself for a few minutes. Your co-workers don’t need to know where you’re going or for what reason. Just be back in 15 minutes and you’re golden.

There’s always the go-to cup of coffee to use as a wake-me-up, but I have to admit, I am not much of a coffee person myself — that is, assuming it is no longer frappy hour at Starbucks. Even so, my body needs an alternative to caffeine to keep me awake.

I now go for the most basic form of liquid energy: water. Reusable water bottles are the jack of all trades when it comes to staying alert on the job. Not only does the splash of cool water refresh my lackadaisical nature, but the act of refilling the bottle is an easy excuse to get up and walk around. Taking a break to stretch your muscles gives your body a wake-up call to keep it moving, so going to a water fountain or refilling your bottle knocks out a few ways to stay awake.

If nothing else works, give in to the slumber. Plan out your daily schedule to include a much needed cat nap at some point throughout the day. You might still feel tired after a half-hour, but your body will become accustomed to your nap schedule and you’ll be reenergized in no time. Just make sure you don’t take a nap on the job.

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