T Nation

Staying Alert at Work

I work between 70 and 80 hours a week. The mid-afternoon “crash” is fairly common and I experience that when I’m under stress. Try to get up and move around during that time and get your blood flowing a little. If you cant leave your desk, knock out a few sets of push ups or something. Everyone else has given you some good advice so apply some of that.

Managing your stress level is very important. When you can’t control the “x” factors, and all else fails, a 5-Hour Energy shot does the trick for me. You can try the coffee, but for me, when I’m stressed out, I could drink a pot of coffee and fall asleep 5 minutes later. Good luck, let us know what worked for you.

Green tea is good too. Has a nice mood elevating effect aside from the caffeine.

I used to get a pretty bad after-lunch slump, too. Less carbs (i.e. no carbs) at lunch helps, and a handful of nuts mid-morning could give you an energy boost to get you through to lunch.

I’m lucky in that I now work from home, so I take a later lunch around 2pm so that the lion’s share of my work is already done by the time I eat.

Not all jobs allow it, but if you’re tired, just take a 20 minute power nap.

When I first started my job, I had the same issue as I was going from working nights (bartending) to an office job (8-5). The biggest thing that helped me was setting a sleep schedule and sticking to it, even on off-days. This helped my body adjust to always waking up, and falling asleep at the same time, versus only 5 days a week and then sleeping in. If you do that regularly, you’ll find you start naturally waking up at the right time and you will feel better throughout the day until it is time to sleep again. At least, that’s how it worked for me.

Being a weight lifter, you probably snore and border on sleep apnea.

I got a sleep apnea set up after reading about it here. Made a huge difference.

If you’re convinced your sleep and diet are good and not the cause, you could probably try out some nootropics since your body may take awhile to adjust. Some good ones that may help you are acetyl-l-carnitine, n-acetyl-l-tyrosine, and a coenzymated B complex (particularly B6/B12). Of course, a black coffee or some tea is nice, just drink it!

High DHA fish oil, zinc & magnesium are a must. Chromium is a good one for overall fatigue. Melatonin + bacopa (50% bacosides) can also be good to ensure a deeper sleep as they are serotonergic in nature… have to experiment those as it can make you feel groggy/unmotivated/fatigued the next morning.

You could try Brain Candy, with or without caffeine, whichever you think suits you. Just FYI, the caffeine in the Brain Candy is kind of ‘balanced’ with a good dose of theanine.

[quote]thethirdruffian wrote:
Being a weight lifter, you probably snore and border on sleep apnea.

I got a sleep apnea set up after reading about it here. Made a huge difference.[/quote]

There’s a connection between weightlifting, snoring and sleep apnea?

[quote]bdocksaints75 wrote:

[quote]thethirdruffian wrote:
Being a weight lifter, you probably snore and border on sleep apnea.

I got a sleep apnea set up after reading about it here. Made a huge difference.[/quote]

There’s a connection between weightlifting, snoring and sleep apnea?[/quote]

Well, thick neck–> moar sleep apnoea?

Also, power belly.

Moar visceral fat----> Moar sleep apnoea…

I’ll have to look into that because I’m told by wife that at times I snore like a bear

[quote]bdocksaints75 wrote:
I’ll have to look into that because I’m told by wife that at times I snore like a bear [/quote]

If you snore loudly – and have extra muscle – I will bet money you have apnea.

I am not remotely fat – more than bordering on too thin — and just having neck and chest muscle was enough to give me apnea.

Allegedly, if you really, really stretch out your chest/neck regularly and work on mobility, this helps a lot, but it never gave me much relief.

The machines have really advanced such that there are just little plugs in the noise for most people and don’t make any noise at all. I like it so much, I bought an extra one just for my TV chair. I get a really deep sleep with it.

[quote]orion wrote:

[quote]bdocksaints75 wrote:

[quote]thethirdruffian wrote:
Being a weight lifter, you probably snore and border on sleep apnea.

I got a sleep apnea set up after reading about it here. Made a huge difference.[/quote]

There’s a connection between weightlifting, snoring and sleep apnea?[/quote]

Well, thick neck–> moar sleep apnea?[/quote]

This.

[quote]bdocksaints75 wrote:
I’ll have to look into that because I’m told by wife that at times I snore like a bear [/quote]

Cheapest way is to perform a blood oximetry.

Costs like 50 bucks.

[quote]thethirdruffian wrote:

[quote]bdocksaints75 wrote:
I’ll have to look into that because I’m told by wife that at times I snore like a bear [/quote]

If you snore loudly – and have extra muscle – I will bet money you have apnea.

I am not remotely fat – more than bordering on too thin — and just having neck and chest muscle was enough to give me apnea.

Allegedly, if you really, really stretch out your chest/neck regularly and work on mobility, this helps a lot, but it never gave me much relief.

The machines have really advanced such that there are just little plugs in the noise for most people and don’t make any noise at all. I like it so much, I bought an extra one just for my TV chair. I get a really deep sleep with it. [/quote]

Would you mind sharing the model you purchased?

[quote]thethirdruffian wrote:

[quote]orion wrote:

[quote]bdocksaints75 wrote:

[quote]thethirdruffian wrote:
Being a weight lifter, you probably snore and border on sleep apnea.

I got a sleep apnea set up after reading about it here. Made a huge difference.[/quote]

There’s a connection between weightlifting, snoring and sleep apnea?[/quote]

Well, thick neck–> moar sleep apnea?[/quote]

This.
[/quote]

Got a stuffy nose often?

Those are both good ideas and I’ll look into them, getting quality sleep is very important.

On a side note I think caffeine will help but not in the long run, I’m currently trying to cut back on caffeine by only having a cup of coffee a day. I’m on day 3 and I’ve slept better the past 2 nights then I have in a long time. I’m also doing this so caffeine will once again have that effect it does when you first start drinking energy drinks or what not.

[quote]bdocksaints75 wrote:
Those are both good ideas and I’ll look into them, getting quality sleep is very important.

On a side note I think caffeine will help but not in the long run, I’m currently trying to cut back on caffeine by only having a cup of coffee a day. I’m on day 3 and I’ve slept better the past 2 nights then I have in a long time. I’m also doing this so caffeine will once again have that effect it does when you first start drinking energy drinks or what not.

[/quote]

You’ll probably reach a point where you keep getting increasingly tired during the day before it finally gets out of your system.

The first couple days seem to be ok, the next week or so gets horrible, and then it starts to get better.

My experience, which seems to be shared by most people I’ve talked about it with.

[quote]IamMarqaos wrote:

[quote]thethirdruffian wrote:

[quote]bdocksaints75 wrote:
I’ll have to look into that because I’m told by wife that at times I snore like a bear [/quote]

If you snore loudly – and have extra muscle – I will bet money you have apnea.

I am not remotely fat – more than bordering on too thin — and just having neck and chest muscle was enough to give me apnea.

Allegedly, if you really, really stretch out your chest/neck regularly and work on mobility, this helps a lot, but it never gave me much relief.

The machines have really advanced such that there are just little plugs in the noise for most people and don’t make any noise at all. I like it so much, I bought an extra one just for my TV chair. I get a really deep sleep with it. [/quote]

Would you mind sharing the model you purchased?[/quote]

ResMed — with nasal pillows and heated tube/water. I’ll get the exact model when I go home. On a horizontal well today/tonight/tomorrow in NoTrees, Texas (seriously), so “sleeping” in a chair in a trailer.

easybreath.com — I didn’t want to screw with getting a sleep study, so I had an “internet consultation” for $50 to get the script. Used to be, there was all this “setting your pressure” business but the newer ones will detect the pressure you need and adjust accordingly, making the sleep study pretty much a waste of time. Not covered by insurance if you go this route, but I could give a shit.

As Orion noted, you can also just test your blood O2 level and see if it drops periodically through the night. Apple sells an O2 monitor for iphones (just clips on your finger) that will test you continuously through the night and give you a handy report on your phone of how your night went.

By far the greatest thing hat has helped me has been doing my workouts first thing in the morning before work. I find that I am wired for the day & full of energy after this, then the tiredness hits when it should - at the end of the day before bed.
The more intense & nervous system demanding the workout, the more alert I feel. You will absolutely suck in the gym for the first few weeks while your body adjusts, but after a while you’ll be setting PRs when you’re normally in bed!

As for diet, high protein is key. Make sure you’re wolfing down the eggs in the morning.
Charles Poliquin has also mentioned that periodic doses of BCAAs throughout the day help maintain alertness.