Alertness at Work - Health Care Tips
Promoting Alertness at Work
Here's what you can do to promote your
alertness on the job:
- Take short breaks to rest. In one
study, even a six-minute break taken during a 12-hour shift helped
- Try to work with a "buddy." Talking
to another co-worker can help keep you alert. Co-workers can also be
on the lookout for signs of drowsiness in each other in order to
- Consider the use of a light box on
the job to help you shift your biological clock to your nontraditional
work schedule. Light boxes, available in specialty lighting stores,
have been found to help individuals adapt to new time zones or work
schedules. The average office offers light equal to about 500 lux
(light is measured in units of lux; one lux is equal to the light
presented by one lit candle). Light boxes offer between 2,500 and
10,000 lux, depending on how close one works or sits nearby. Consult
your doctor about using a light box to reset your biological clock.
- Eat healthy snacks and avoid eating
too much or too little. It's hard to sleep on an empty stomach and on
a too-full one. Avoid spicy foods at your last meal before bed.
Heartburn or upset stomach from spicy or fried foods can leave you
with regrets about your indulgence at bedtime.
- Use caffeine early in your shift, if
desired. But use it in moderation; drinking too much caffeine can
cause all sorts of side effects including rapid heart beat,
dehydration and dizziness. Remember that caffeine can be found in many
sodas, coffees, teas and chocolate. Some people are so sensitive that
caffeine early in the shift still creates sleeping difficulties hours
- Exercise during breaks. Exercise has
been shown to improve mood and promote alertness. If you don't have
access to an exercise facility, take a brisk walk, climb stairs, or go
for a run.