Have you been struggling to stay awake during meetings lately? You’re not alone. Research has shown that a staggering one-third of employees fall asleep on the job (1). That same research has also shown that only 1 in 6 people describe their work meetings as ‘inspiring’ and that 80% of them find that being at their desk instead is far more productive than attending any kind of presentation.
So while ineffective, inefficient or uninspiring some meetings may be, there could be more going on with your physical, and mental, reaction. Does falling asleep during meetings actually mean something worrisome? Let’s take a look and see what could be causing this as well as the tips to help prevent you from dozing off in meetings or presentations.
Reasons you’re tired at work all the time
There are many different reasons why you could be feeling sleepy at this week’s sales performance meeting. Let’s take a look at the most common reasons:
1. Physical exhaustion
Your tiredness could simply be a sign of physical exhaustion – perhaps you’ve not slept well lately or have been battling insomnia, been pushing yourself physically because you’re training for a marathon or have had a lot on your plate with no time off. If this sounds like you, all you probably need is time to rest and recharge your batteries. Our bodies operate best when we give it adequate time to recover, for example through sleep, meditation or gentle yoga.
2. High workload and deadlines
Another reason you could feel fatigued and exhausted at work is that you’ve had a lot on your plate, like an unusually high workload and a lot of tight deadlines. We all go through phases like this and if it’s temporary, it isn’t something to worry about. We human beings are incredibly resilient!
It’s been said that stress is the 21st century epidemic – a sign that our coping mechanisms to life’s difficulties and challenges are overtaxed. Stress can take its toll on you in a dozen different ways, tiredness or fatigue being one of them.
There are obvious stress-causing situations, like arguments at home, sickness, bereavement, breaking up with a partner and moving into a new home, but there are also more subtle stress-causing situations.
For example, feeling stuck in a dead-end job, being in a career that doesn’t suit you or working for an employer whose culture and vision don’t match yours can cause considerable stress – yet this is something not widely acknowledged or talked about.
While there are certain stress-reduction techniques that can help, like exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy diet, cultivating supportive relationships, meditation, walking in nature, listening to music and journaling, sometimes the best thing we can do is remove the stressor in its entirety.
Stress-reducing techniques can only do so much and if your job or career is genuinely making you feel bad, it’s time to re-assess. Sure, work can be demanding and stressful at times, but it shouldn’t leave you feeling like a shell of a person, constantly feeling sluggish and exhausted.
Should you quit your job?
If work increasingly has you feeling like that and you can’t keep your eyes open during meetings, it could well be time for a change. Here are a few questions to help you on your way:
• What elements or activities of my job do I like or enjoy?
• What elements or activities give me most stress? In other words, what do I dislike the most?
• What is it that I dislike about that?
• What could I do to remove these dislikes and add more of the things I do like?
These are just a few pointers to get you into a work environment that suits you and makes you happy. Don’t be disheartened or, worse, stressed out if the answers don’t come easily. Know that finding work you truly enjoy is a process and that the key to true happiness in your career is to be honest with yourself in regards to what you love.