Not falling asleep in the office

Does anyone have advice for what to do to not fall asleep when caffeine no longer works (or addy or coke lol)? I'm not talking about getting more sleep by prioritizing work better, but more that one off instance periodically where you're just simply STRUGGLING, struggling to stay awake despite best efforts. Very embarrassing/unprofessional to be dozing off in the office (though unintentional, a real issue). What can I do about it?

Looking for advice in the moment it starts setting on since I see it as unavoidable over the course of time

Comments (35)

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Jun 28, 2022 - 10:08am

One of the tricks I use is to not eat too much for lunch. And go for a quick run whenever you have time and take cold showers after. It worked well for me.

Jul 1, 2022 - 10:39am
anon-anon-anon-anon-anon, what's your opinion? Comment below:

One of the tricks I use is to not eat too much for lunch

Second this - I almost always skip lunch unless I'm going with someone far more senior than me. It was kinda weird at first, but nobody really cares. Just grab a coffee and a snack if anything.

Most Helpful
  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Jun 28, 2022 - 10:20am

Back off the caffeine first of all - let yourself have 1 coffee drink ~200mg in the morning (grande latte, not a Nitro cold brew). Assuming you've been using so much caffeine your body doesn't even respond to it anymore, gotta bring the tolerance back down.

I personally find I do best skipping breakfast and then having a greens/fat/fiber heavy lunch (big salad from Sweetgreen) and a LOT of water. Go to the gym around 2pm and just run hard on a treadmill for 15-20 minutes to wake yourself back up.

Personally would stay away from Adderall and the like as you can become very dependent on it

  • Associate 1 in CorpDev
Jun 28, 2022 - 10:20am

Stay hydrated and don't eat a heavy lunch especially if it's carb loaded. You think you are drinking enough water but you probably are not. At least for me, when 1pm hits I start getting drowsy if I did not drink enough water. I usually drink three glasses with my lunch and will drink a fourth one around 2. Aside from stimulants, another thing you could do is take a bite of a hot pepper if you feel drowsy. It sounds crazy but you'll kick your adrenaline in overdrive without caffeine and you definitely will kill afternoon drowsiness for a couple hours. 

Jun 28, 2022 - 11:49am
AltRightWarlord, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Watch a highlight reel of Trump's greatest owns. As you witness your country being made great again in real time the adrenaline will surge through you. How can one sleep when the satanic, radical, extremist left is out there trying to take your country from you? 

It sounds like the radical left has been replacing your coffee with soy-beans to turn you into a transgendered NPC with gyno. Best advice I can give you is to smoke crack in order to own the libs. They cannot stand crack because it turns the white man into Superman. Use your secret power anon, smoke crack and own the libs anon. 


Jun 30, 2022 - 7:33am
the_lonely_traveler, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If he runs and loses in spite of the historic lead repubs have, it'll be a result of morons like you pissing off the independents. I personally lean toward repub or libertarian in 2024 but this is the type of shit that makes people want to avoid any association with you retards. 

Jun 28, 2022 - 9:29pm
BoutiqueAsc, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Having taken a decent amount of stimulants for years of IB, I feel uniquely qualified to answer this one:

  1. Ditch the coke - seriously, aderall is kind of similar anyway and this isn't the 1980s... You will also lose your job if anyone finds / sees it
  2. You need to reset your tolerance - take a few days (3+) off aderall that will start to turn things around (try to avoid coffee as well). 
  3. This all probably highlights a bigger problem though - it also sounds like you're just not getting enough sleep, which completely zaps the effectiveness of aderall and other stimulants btw
  4. Make sure you eat something after a few hours of aderall - if it makes sense, you need to crash a little in order for your body to get the dopamine back you can't just keep going up and up and up... Also maybe try Recoup it makes aderall more potent for me...    

I know it's hard the first year, but I made it work by being very disciplined about not increasing my dose, getting sleep as much as I could, taking a few days off every month to reset tolerance, only having 1-2 coffees a day. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jun 29, 2022 - 6:29pm

Don't advise him taking drugs, wtf is wrong with you

Jun 29, 2022 - 7:27pm
BoutiqueAsc, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Haha what, I literally told him to 1) ditch the illegal coke and 2) take the aderall (which is legally prescribed) more responsibly... I think you need to read my post again.

  • Associate 2 in PE - Other
Jun 28, 2022 - 10:06pm

Echo some of the above. I found that cutting out caffeine, though it hurt in the short term, helped longer term. Whenever I'd get tired I'd drink some water instead. I used to be the person who fell asleep at the desk (once even fell asleep during a training as an intern - still got asked back!) and found the above + carving more time for sleep (at the expense of some personal life/time) helped.

Now I find I don't really have that problem anymore, but I also go to bed way earlier and feel more engaged in my role. Was definitely worse in my analyst years. 

Jun 29, 2022 - 12:37pm
snones, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Try going for a 10-20min walk if you're about to pass out. Fresh air, sunlight, and movement helps. I also used to take power naps in the backseat of my car in the office garage lol.

Jun 29, 2022 - 12:53pm
Orange2949, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Bright lights. Drink a decent amount of water. Full bladder sends signals to your brain to be awake to piss. This is what makes you wake up at night to go to the bathroom

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jun 29, 2022 - 2:02pm

Sometimes post lunch slump hits me HARD and it's hard to keep my eyes open. I used to get chipotle but now I go to a market/hot bar and get chicken and veggies. No matter how much I eat of it, I never get tired at the desk. Carbs will fuck you on the other hand.

Also, after you eat opt to stand and work if your office has standing desks

  • Intern in S&T - Other
Jun 29, 2022 - 3:12pm

today i took 2 shits, napped in the toilet, went for a walk and coffee break, and im still falling asleep on my desk. but i did only get 3 hrs of sleep last night soooooo

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jun 29, 2022 - 6:28pm

Are you guys kicking with coke and adderall? We're not at Burning Man. 

First of all if you're sleep deprived, onviously flag to your team you need some sleep and push back as much as you can. 

Take afternoon naps. Hell, even at 5-6pm. 

Alternate sitting/standing positions 

Go for walks. Do some cardio in the weekend. 

Cut off junk food and replace that with fruits and veggies. 

Limit coffee to 4-5 cups a day max. 

Try and sleep more again, start WFH if it can make you sleep in more.

Falling almost asleep in front of my desk happened to me only a couple of times and that was when I was working until 5-6am - let's agree that this is not normal and you need to push back hardcore on staffing and take some holidays (also for your mental and physical health)

Jun 29, 2022 - 9:38pm
GoingToBeAnMD, what's your opinion? Comment below:

We don't know a lot about your physical background but have you considered speaking to a sleep doctor about this? Maybe you need to increase the quality of your sleep, perhaps you have sleep apnea? I know that sounds like an extreme scenario, but if your schedule is this brutal then I bet you dollars-to-donuts that you've put on weight this year. Depending on your body, it doesn't take much to get you into at least some sleep apnea. 

Bottom line, the inability to stay awake during the day - no matter how little you sleep at night - is simply not normal. The circadian rhythm demands that you stay awake when the sun is out. Consider talking to a specialist about this. 

  • 2
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jun 30, 2022 - 4:47am

Why to people advise intermittent fasting, what is it with not taking breakfast ?

Jun 30, 2022 - 7:49am
bluechipdude, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Honestly, I don't know if it's just me. But when I dose off looking at my monitor, I can get a quick reset by looking at social media, texting. Think it just stimulates the mind. Also going for a quick walk around the office.

Jun 30, 2022 - 10:56am
Global_IU_11, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Modafinil or Provigil. Originally developed to help fighter pilots baseline at normal performance while being sleep deprived. Now it's assigned to shift workers and those with narcolepsy. It works differently than adderall where it doesn't get you a high euphoric feeling. It's also not addictive and taking larger amounts of it isn't effective. In short, works like a charm.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jun 30, 2022 - 11:40am

I am shocked. Don't take coke or aderall or any other substance for gods stake. If you can't handle the Pace either speak to your staffer or find another job. 

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jun 30, 2022 - 4:11pm

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  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jun 30, 2022 - 3:23pm

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