T Nation

Staying Alert at Work

I just started my full time job out of college and need some advice. I tend to get extremely tired around 11 and 1-2 in the afternoon. I get a full night sleep every night (except on weekends when I’m generally fine) but I can’t seem to get my body adjusted to the hours. Anyone have any advice for staying alert and focused? I was thinking of taking caffeine pills or something of that nature around those2 times. I don’t drink coffee, and for the most part don’t find being tired affecting my workout after work.

Also, my diet is pretty spot on, so I don’t think that’s why I am getting so fired. But maybe there’s something I am missing. Any advice is much appreciated.

Sleep is individual. Even if you think you are getting enough you may not be, or may not be sleeping well. zinc and magnesium can sometimes help. Try googling sleep environments and whatnot.

What you are eating before you get tired may affect drowsiness.

I stand at work much of the time, or you can try sitting on a ball.

I also don’t think caffeine is a good answer. You can use it to temporarily relieve symptoms, but it will only exacerbate things in the long run.

I did not get use to a 9-5 schedule out of college for 8 months.

It may just take time to adjust.

I would recommend:

  1. trying lifting before work

  2. take a ZMA supp and see if your quality of sleep improves.

I found that movement is a big factor for me. If I stay in one spot too long I start to get sleepy eyed, but I also don’t get much sleep. If I get up for a quick little walk it kind of wakes me up and I feel more alert.

[quote]TomRocco wrote:
I just started my full time job out of college and need some advice. I tend to get extremely tired around 11 and 1-2 in the afternoon. I get a full night sleep every night (except on weekends when I’m generally fine) but I can’t seem to get my body adjusted to the hours. Anyone have any advice for staying alert and focused? I was thinking of taking caffeine pills or something of that nature around those2 times. I don’t drink coffee, and for the most part don’t find being tired affecting my workout after work.

Also, my diet is pretty spot on, so I don’t think that’s why I am getting so fired. But maybe there’s something I am missing. Any advice is much appreciated. [/quote]

drink coffee, if it didnt work we wouldnt be drinking as much as we do. ALTERNATE it with water though as water helps to stay awake.

Lift before work. since i did this i only need 0-1 coffees a day (after my initial wakeup coffee) to stay alert

I will say I used to have this problem a lot, but a couple of things I’ve changed in the last 3 or 4 months must have done something about it:

  1. Weekend drinking. Instead of drinking a case of beer or 2-3 bottles of win, etc, I drink far less. Typically I drink liquor on the rocks, especially Bourbon. Has equated to better weekend sleep

  2. I’ve always drank ~12-16oz of coffee in the morning. I’ve never done it for energy needs since the morning I’m typically good BUT I used to drink that coffee plus a diet soda in the afternoon. I’ve cut out the soda (not on purpose) and surprisingly, after a couple of months, I’m pretty energetic all day.

  3. I’ve increased the fats in my diet…like A LOT. Fat calories probably make up 40-50% of calories (I’m eating calorie surplus right now). So my diet split up is something like 50/30/20 with fat/protein/carbs. I’m not sure if this is directly related to my energy all day, but it is a significant change to how I used to eat.

  4. Breakfast is my biggest meal of the day…at least 50-75% more calories than any other meal. I then have 4 meals throughout the rest of the day. Again, not sure if this is directly related, but I an tell a big difference.

Again, all 4 of these happened at the same time so it could be just one item or a combination of them.

[quote]TomRocco wrote:
I just started my full time job out of college and need some advice. I tend to get extremely tired around 11 and 1-2 in the afternoon. I get a full night sleep every night (except on weekends when I’m generally fine) but I can’t seem to get my body adjusted to the hours. Anyone have any advice for staying alert and focused? I was thinking of taking caffeine pills or something of that nature around those2 times. I don’t drink coffee, and for the most part don’t find being tired affecting my workout after work.

Also, my diet is pretty spot on, so I don’t think that’s why I am getting so fired. But maybe there’s something I am missing. Any advice is much appreciated. [/quote]

Are you engaged at work? I find on days I don’t have much to do I feel tired, but on days I am busy it’s the complete opposite. Could be just that.

I’ve also found eating almost no carbs until mid afternoon keeps me awake as well.

[quote]ZJStrope wrote:
3. I’ve increased the fats in my diet…like A LOT. Fat calories probably make up 40-50% of calories (I’m eating calorie surplus right now). So my diet split up is something like 50/30/20 with fat/protein/carbs. I’m not sure if this is directly related to my energy all day, but it is a significant change to how I used to eat.

  1. Breakfast is my biggest meal of the day…at least 50-75% more calories than any other meal. I then have 4 meals throughout the rest of the day. Again, not sure if this is directly related, but I an tell a big difference.[/quote]

These are interesting ideas. I may have to do some experimenting here myself.

[quote]LoRez wrote:

[quote]ZJStrope wrote:
3. I’ve increased the fats in my diet…like A LOT. Fat calories probably make up 40-50% of calories (I’m eating calorie surplus right now). So my diet split up is something like 50/30/20 with fat/protein/carbs. I’m not sure if this is directly related to my energy all day, but it is a significant change to how I used to eat.

  1. Breakfast is my biggest meal of the day…at least 50-75% more calories than any other meal. I then have 4 meals throughout the rest of the day. Again, not sure if this is directly related, but I an tell a big difference.[/quote]

These are interesting ideas. I may have to do some experimenting here myself.[/quote]

Please let us know if you do! It’s funny this post showed up b/c the last few weeks I’ve really been thinking about how much energy I have during the day.

It’d be interesting to see if these changes had any merit.

Use caffeine to kill tiredness.

[quote]ZJStrope wrote:

[quote]LoRez wrote:

[quote]ZJStrope wrote:
3. I’ve increased the fats in my diet…like A LOT. Fat calories probably make up 40-50% of calories (I’m eating calorie surplus right now). So my diet split up is something like 50/30/20 with fat/protein/carbs. I’m not sure if this is directly related to my energy all day, but it is a significant change to how I used to eat.

  1. Breakfast is my biggest meal of the day…at least 50-75% more calories than any other meal. I then have 4 meals throughout the rest of the day. Again, not sure if this is directly related, but I an tell a big difference.[/quote]

These are interesting ideas. I may have to do some experimenting here myself.[/quote]

Please let us know if you do! It’s funny this post showed up b/c the last few weeks I’ve really been thinking about how much energy I have during the day.

It’d be interesting to see if these changes had any merit.
[/quote]

I do remember reading that vitamin d and fish oil (or just oils in general) can keep some people awake, and to take them earlier in the day if they cause issues.

I’ve been working crazy shifts my entire adult life, which is multiple decades btw, ugh, anyways, I used to experience the 1-2ish AM/PM crash regardless of how much coffee I pounded. I have gone to a carb backloading / mountain dog type / inspired diet for the last year or so and I generally feel fairly “steady” all day long. For me, this is pretty substantial because I average anywhere from 3 to 9 hours of sleep depending what’s going on with the family and whether I’m on night / day shift. I am genuinely impressed by this. Mr. Kiefer / Meadows certainly have their stuff together in this area.

[quote]LoRez wrote:

[quote]ZJStrope wrote:
3. I’ve increased the fats in my diet…like A LOT. Fat calories probably make up 40-50% of calories (I’m eating calorie surplus right now). So my diet split up is something like 50/30/20 with fat/protein/carbs. I’m not sure if this is directly related to my energy all day, but it is a significant change to how I used to eat.

  1. Breakfast is my biggest meal of the day…at least 50-75% more calories than any other meal. I then have 4 meals throughout the rest of the day. Again, not sure if this is directly related, but I an tell a big difference.[/quote]

These are interesting ideas. I may have to do some experimenting here myself.[/quote]

If have tried it and it works for me if the first meals are high protein/high fat. If I eat a lot of carbs early in the day I am knocked the hell out. There are times I am to weak to make a tight fist.

[quote]xXSeraphimXx wrote:

[quote]LoRez wrote:

[quote]ZJStrope wrote:
3. I’ve increased the fats in my diet…like A LOT. Fat calories probably make up 40-50% of calories (I’m eating calorie surplus right now). So my diet split up is something like 50/30/20 with fat/protein/carbs. I’m not sure if this is directly related to my energy all day, but it is a significant change to how I used to eat.

  1. Breakfast is my biggest meal of the day…at least 50-75% more calories than any other meal. I then have 4 meals throughout the rest of the day. Again, not sure if this is directly related, but I an tell a big difference.[/quote]

These are interesting ideas. I may have to do some experimenting here myself.[/quote]

If have tried it and it works for me if the first meals are high protein/high fat. If I eat a lot of carbs early in the day I am knocked the hell out. There are times I am to weak to make a tight fist.[/quote]

I do include carbs in my breakfast… but it’s not insane.

My breakfast is the following:

-4 eggs
-4 oz chicken sausage
-4 oz chicken breast
-1 handful onions
-1 handful peppers
-1 small/medium potato
-2 tbsp coconut oil
-1 piece of fruit

It takes me a month or so to get my circadian rhythm in check after starting a new schedule, i wouldnt worry too much about it if you just started.

Learn how to drink black coffee, sip on some when needed.

Apparently apples have a fairly strong waking effect, I’ve heard.

Have you tried any nootropics?

[quote]rrjc5488 wrote:
Apparently apples have a fairly strong waking effect, I’ve heard.

[/quote]

Rocco, you don’t like coffee but, how do you like them apples?

One thing that may be a problem is the snooze button. If you are hitting the snooze button it can lead to sluggishness later in the day. It has something to do with starting a sleep cycle that is not allowed to finish.

Adderal. Whenever I have drill I go from getting off a 12 hour shift at 2am to showing up ready for the day 5 hours later. Amphetamines work wonders.