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The 4 Main Reasons Why You Sleep at Work.

Updated on August 8, 2016
Daniel Waduka profile image

I am a writer, adviser, and an Applications developer. I write about Productivity, Programming, Life experiences, and Success. CHEERS!

Employee sleeping
Employee sleeping | Source

Is sleeping affecting your working productivity? You are not alone. Many people worldwide have the same problem. Most importantly, by the end of this post, you will not be among those people anymore.

Sleeping is natural and cool, until it occurs at the wrong time and place.

Sleeping is a vital activity in our lives, and therefore we should have enough of it. It has a number of health benefits, including:

  • improving memory
  • helping you live longer
  • developing creativity

At work, however, sleeping may never be related to any of the above benefits. It is usually related to laziness, and carelessness.You wouldn't like to have any sleep when deadlines are tight, neither will your boss like it, in case you are employed.

The sad news is that this problem is increasing at a higher rate, due to today's unstable economy which forces most people to work till late at night, to earn some extra income in order to supplement the monthly salary.

Recently I have faced this exact problem. I could doze off in the midst of an important task. Don't worry that this post will end here and I doze off, because I changed some lifestyles, and the problem became history.

The fact is that taking a nap can sometimes help you refresh, and become more alert. Actually, some companies, for example Google, Uber, among others, allow their employees to nap. They believe that this can actually help to boost their productivity. If you are one of the employees in such companies, lucky you.

This, however, is not the case for most companies, where just resting your head on the desk can trigger a serious action from your boss. Sleeping can never be tolerated in such companies. When you sleep, you are taken to be an enemy of the company. If you have the sleeping problem and you work in such companies, then you have to find an immediate solution, before you are ...........fired.

The reasons below will help you understand what might be making you sleep during working hours.

1. Not having enough sleep.

Lady working at night.
Lady working at night. | Source

This is the most common cause of sleeping during working hours. Many people get less sleep mainly because of tight deadlines, watching movies, earning extra money, among others.

Sleeping is vital to your overall body health, and therefore, having enough of it is a must, not an option.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults are recommended to have 7 to 9 hours of sleep. This, however, sounds too much for most people, and therefore they end up getting insufficient sleep.

This was the most serious culprit on my side. I could rarely go to bed before 1am. I could use this time to catch up with my side projects, and do research. Normally, I could sleep at 2am, then wake up at 5:30am to get set for the day job. As you may have already guessed, I could just doze off, and find myself sleeping seriously during work hours.

The solution I applied was to at start sleeping at 10pm, and wake up at 4:30 to use the morning hours for my side projects. The problem was solved there and then.

Insufficient sleep leaves no other option for you, other than to revenge back onto you, the time you probably don't need it at all.

You may also need to use sleep calculators. These can be found online, or as mobile applications. They help you to ensure that you have enough sleep, and wake up when you have completed a full sleep circle, as waking up in the midst of a sleep circle leaves you feeling tired and unsteady.

You can use them by entering the time you want to wake up, and they recommend the best time for you to go to bed, or you enter the time you want to go to bed, and they show you the optimal time for you to wake up.

Just ensure that when you go to bed, avoid all possible distractions, otherwise these tools won't benefit you.

Online sleep calculators include:

You can also freely download them as mobile applications from Google Play. These include:

According to, the following are the hours of sleep, different ages need. Note that the younger ones are left out since they cannot work.

Teens (14 - 17 years)
8 - 10
Young adults (18 - 25)
7 - 9
Adult (26 - 64)
7 - 9
Older adult (> 64)
7 - 8
The recommended sleep you need.

2. Not having enough rest at work.

Cat Resting
Cat Resting | Source

Chances are high that you work very hard to impress your boss. This shouldn't be a problem, after all, the boss pays you to do so. However, the same boss may not be happy if they find you resting your head on the table during working hours.

This means that however much you want to impress your boss, please ensure that you give yourself time to rest, else you will be overwhelmed to an extent of dozing off.

Resting is also vital to overcoming stress. Stress affects many workers world wide. It might be caused by family issues, financial or health problems, among others.

Taking breaks at work is highly recommended for increased productivity. In fact, the 90 minute rule emphasizes it. It recommends that the average person can concentrate for 90 minutes, after which they start losing productivity if no break is taken.

These breaks are usually simple stretching or walking exercises. You can just move around the offices and gain momentum. However, do not over exercise, since this can leave you exhausted, doing more harm than good.

It is always advisable to walk away from your seat, and make some movements. Spending the whole day sited is not healthy. If you start witnessing pains in your body joints, especially legs, arms, back, and neck, it might be a sign that you over sit, and therefore you need to start taking hourly breaks.

Most companies offer annual leaves to their employees. These may be a few days or weeks depending on the company's policies. The main reason for the existence of such leaves is to offer you some rest. Therefore, it is advisable not to do any side work during this period. Use this time to stay with your family, revise your finances, and do any other self development work, and most importantly, have enough rest.

3. Feeling Bored.

Girl bored
Girl bored | Source

According to the researchers, led by York University professor John Eastwoodan, Boredom is the aversive state of wanting, but being unable, to engage in satisfying activity."

According to, you become bored when:

  • you have difficulty paying attention to the internal information, such as thoughts or feelings, or outside stimuli required to take part in satisfying activity.
  • you are aware that you’re having difficulty paying attention.

Feeling bored leads to losing engagement in the current task at hand, and this usually leaves you with two options, either doing what is inappropriate at that time, or end up sleeping, both which lead to loss of time and therefore making losses for the company.

When I had just gotten a new job, I spent some time without doing anything serious. Most of the time, I could find myself dozing off. At first, I thought I had to change my sleeping patterns at night. I started sleeping earlier than before. This helped me by reducing the amount of sleeping at work. Yes, it reduced, but that didn't stop me from sleeping again.

One time, as I was struggling to keep my eyes open, my colleague offered me some task which he couldn't solve. As soon as I started applying logic to it, sleeping took off there and then. I became extremely alert, though I had been dozing before.

Challenges help in activating, and increasing your brain activity. Trust me, you can never doze off when your brains are fully active. In case there is currently no work for you, try out some online free IQ tests to wake up your brains.

Also, always ensure that you love the tasks at hand. The moment your mentality begins to hate the tasks you are supposed to accomplish, your current brain activity reduces, leading to the boredom state. That is why, when you switch to a more interesting task, all the boredom and sleep run away, leaving you feeling more stable.

4. Medical condition.

During a blood test
During a blood test | Source

Yes, what if you get enough sleep, have enough rest, and always have challenges that keep you going, but still, you keep sleeping during working hours. Then probably it may be a medical condition that will need assistance from a qualified medical personnel.

The medical term usually associated with such disorders is called Excessive Daytime Sleepiness. Check to read more about it.

In case you are facing sleep disorders like sleep apnea, your doctor may forward you to a sleep specialist to handle your situation.

Since most of these disorders are not accompanied by serious symptoms, they don't usually cause alertness, and therefore most people tend to ignore them. However, as long the problem persists, and it is bothering you much, then take the next step of seeking medical advice.

Feel free to share with us any techniques that have worked for you before.


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