You Have Better Things To Do Than Sleep

grantdee Careers January 23, 2011 15 Comments


You Have Better Things To Do Than Sleep

By Donovan Grant

It is more common than you realise for people to fall asleep at their desks in the afternoon.

Not enough sleep night the before?

Eating or drinking too much at lunchtime?

Suffering from medical conditions?

These are just a few of the causes of this unwanted and quite embarrassing problem.

This behaviour is fine if you work from home or if you have a private office. When you work in an open plan office environment, you are expected to act in a certain way. Falling asleep on the job is not one of those ways. It is unacceptable; it can impact your work quality and potentially impact your performance rating.

If it’s a one off occurrence (that’s a big IF), then it’s not something to worry about for now. But if you are dozing off on the job on a regular basis, I would highly recommend that you look into it because if you leave it unchecked, the condition will lead to a lot of frustration for you.

I recently spoke to a friend of mine who brought the sleeping thing to my attention. He had been having the problem of falling asleep at his desk in the afternoons for more than six months. It was nearly a daily occurrence for him to doze off and he became quite worried. As he was a pretty healthy guy with a balanced family lifestyle he was a bit upset to be inflicted in this way.

He tried several self-help tips based on his own research on the internet, including…

– Daily multi vitamin supplements for men over 40

– Eating less hearty and carbohydrate filled lunches

– Drinking more water

– Going to bed by 11pm!

He noticed improvements in his general day to day health, but he still kept having the afternoon drowsiness!

At his recent annual medical inspection he shared the problem with the doctor. He explained how he had been feeling, what he had tried to cure himself. He then literally pleaded with the doctor to fix the problem for him.

This is a paraphrase of the conversation as my friend relayed it:

Doctor: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy are you in your job?”

Friend: “What’s that got to do with my condition?”

Doctor: “If you bear with me, we will get to that. What’s your score?”

Friend: “Probably a 6 out of 10.”

Doctor: “What would have to happen to take your score to a 10?”

Friend: “Maybe doing something new with a bit more challenge and interest and using more of my natural skills.”

Doctor: “Well I think that you’ve found your own fix. Look, you’re healthier than over 80% of the 1,000 clients that I interview from your corporation. You exercise, you get enough sleep at night and you have a nice family life. What you are lacking is mental stimulation in your day job! If you find a job that you are more passionate about, falling asleep on the job will not be an option!”

My friend was stunned. This was not the sort of advice that he was looking for from his doctor. No worrying diseases. No medical prescription required. No changes to his dietary habits.

It was as if the doctor said to him just press the “easy button.”

So what about you, my dear friend?

Would having fulfilling job have a big impact on your health and wellbeing?

I like the way that Harvey MacKay put it… “Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”

Are you falling asleep on the job?

If you are, then maybe just like my friend, you are lacking mental stimulation in your career too.

Try this easy quiz to get the first impression of your situation:

1.  On a scale of 1 to 10 how fulfilled are you in your current job?

2.  Does your current career offer you a good challenge and growth?

3.  If it was impossible to fail, what career would you prefer to spend your time doing?

If you answer to question 1 is less than 8, then maybe now is the time to consider a career change. Now maybe the time to discover that dream job. If your heart just doesn’t feel right in your old job, start to fix up your career today. Because you are the FIX that you are looking for.

There are many genuine reasons for falling asleep during the afternoon. If this happens to you regularly, it would be good to get a medical check-up.

If you get the ALL CLEAR from the doctor, then you might just want to listen to your body. It could be telling you now is the time to do what you love.

I believe in you and I believe in your dreams and want to support you in your career change. Let’s connect on Facebook.

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  • I had this problem at a job when I was in my early 20s. Of course, it could have been all the late nights out at the nightclubs (!), but I think it was more than that. Thanks for bringing up an issue most people probably don’t even want to admit exists. That said, sometimes a nap in the middle of the afternoon would be nice! ;o)

  • I have this problem often. But I didn’t relate it to my job either. I know that my job does not stimulate me as much as it did. That is why I have started my business on the side doing something that I love. When I start to feel drowsy, I take a break and work on something for my business to keep me going for the rest of the day.

  • Thanks Jamie. That’s great that your business does the trick for you. I think when we are enthusiastic about what we do, a little nap doesn’t even come into the picture!

  • Thanks Victoria, a nap in the afternoon would be such a treat! As you mention most people don’t want to admit the problem, many of those are not even aware of the connection that their mind and body has. Let’s spread the word.

  • Thank you, Donovan, for raising an issue that many of us might not have the courage to talk about. It seems like most Americans are chronically sleep deprived and most of the time don’t recognize the core issues… thanks for helping us to dig deeper to find solutions that work!

  • Anonymous

    I suffered from exhaustion and insomnia for over a decade. Never tested anemic, however, when i found out about ferritin levels, and tested them they were very low. now that i have boosted my iron, i have slept for 4 weeks. AAAAHHH! now I can stay awake during the day too!

  • Marla

    Very informative, I know someone who actually has a medical condition and falls alseep periodically thoughout the day! I really like the quote you have about finding something you love to do… so true.

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  • Hi Susan, I’ve seen it and I’ve experienced here in the UK too. My motto, is if in doubt, check it out!

  • Alisa, I’m please to hear that, I can feel the bounding energy through your writing! 🙂

  • Thanks Marla. Like you my first call would always be for people to get medical advice and get an all clear before looking at other causes of falling asleep.

  • Carol Giambri

    Love, love, love this post. How many people are sleeping and bored at their job without any stimulation to the mind? Or, how many are going through the rote method for the “sake” of needing a job. I’m thankful experiencing the joy of creating my own world without having a sleepy moment. There are advantages of taking charge of your own life–healthy pays great dividends. Do what you love and reap the rewards.

  • Thanks Carol, I love that quote “do what you love and reap the rewards”. That is a message that more people need to emabrace and make their own.

  • GRREEEEEEAT article! I had this problem when I was a temp of a few of jobs for the SAME exact reason! I was sooo bored out of my mind, I wanted to poke my eyeballs out by 1 or 2 pm, and got tired of drinking coffee and eating snacks to keep me awake. I had to keep asking to be transferred to new assignments until I found something that allowed me to use my creativity. So I know exactly what your client went through.

    At one place – I finally went to my supervisors and told them that I was getting things done too soon and volunteered to do other work. Well after that, I rarely had that problem anymore! A few times I thought “Man, maybe I shouldn’t have said anything! I’m doing TOOOOO much now!” LOL – But in the end it ended up being a great experience and they blessed me with a going away lunch (at a restaurant!!) when I decided to move on to another full-time job. I was told that I could return if I ever wanted/needed to! It was an awesome experience!

    But I totally agree. When you’re not challenged and not using your noggin as you should, it is no wonder your brain (and body) decides to take a nap! But if you speak up and ask to be challenged, your supervisors will respect you much more and they will favor you above others who just want to “get by” doing the minimum.

  • Thanks for sharing that Thea. Stepping up and being honest with ourself is essential if we want to keep moving forward. P.s. that going away lunch sounds like it was awesome!