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Promoting 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 reduce fatigue. 
  • 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 promote safety. 
  • 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 later.
  • 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.

Source: Unknown

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