How to avoid Sleeping on the Job

I expect nobody likes sleeping on the job.


Reality is most of us have had some experience of sleeping on the job at some time or another. It may only be for a few moments or it may last a few minutes but it happens. However, it can become a serious problem. In 2012 Slater and Steier of School of Medicine, King’s College, London estimated the prevalence of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS) as 18% of the community and considered it to be

a significant public health problem.

EDS can be caused by simple things like Jet-Lag but also by disorders in your nervous system, heart or lungs or some psychological issues. The most common sleeping disorders are insomnia, restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea, a potentially life-threatening disorder in which people stop breathing during sleep, 

Just like our politicians, your occasional problem could turn into a worst situation. There is already a petition to sack them for falling asleep in parliament. So what can you do to make sure you do not suffer more serious consequences.

You should seek professional medical help if you think you have a more serious sleeping issues. However I hope this article will help in lesser situations.

Step 1 – A Good Night’s Sleep

Research has shown that you need 7-8 hours of good sleep a night. You may burn the candle on the odd occasion, but continue doing it and you will end falling off when you least want to. There is plenty of advice about how to get a decent sleep including the right sleeping position, right pillow and the right bedroom environment. 

Here are some general tips from recognised research organisations:

National Health Service (UK)

The National Sleep Foundation of USA

Step 2 Be Aware of Your Body Clock
Body Clock

Your body is a wonderful creation but it has its own needs and habits too. It likes to take a rest in the afternoon around 1-3pm. It responds to light and when it gets dark the melatonin starts to kick in to prepare you for sleep.

From my research the one interesting tip is to understand your body cycle and its inclination towards being a Lark or Owl, a morning or evening person, and to create a sleep routine that is consistent all the week. Yes, research by the Sleep Research Society even shows that laying in on your day(s) off is not a good thing. Psychologist and sleep researcher Susanna Jernelov says

It’s partly because of our circadian rhythm, so when you sleep in later, it’s like giving yourself a bit of jet-lag and jet-lag makes you less bright and perky. If you sleep a little bit too little all the time and just catch up on the weekends, you are messing with your circadian rhythms, you should stay on a regular schedule but that doesn’t really work with most people’s lives.

Step 3 Master your 24 Hour Cycle

The theme throughout the above is to develop good sleep habits. Certainly 

Effective people master their 24 hour cycle so try these ideas.

If you focus on developing a good 24 hour routine the weeks and years will take care of themselves.


Timely Wishes


Passionate about time. Enjoys helping those who want to improve. 

Following a career in Sales and Marketing, Trevor became a business and management educator working for Universities, F.E. Colleges and commercial clients in the areas of Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Management. He was a member of the Institute of Directors and the Chartered Institute of Marketing as a Chartered Marketer.

Now he works writing and blogging on Time Skills based around his book the Myth of Time Management.

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