You’re in the middle of a meeting, and all of a sudden, you start feeling sleepy. You try to fight it off, but before long, your eyelids are getting heavy and your head is drooping. Sound familiar? If you have an office job, chances are you’ve experienced this phenomenon at least once or twice. But why does it happen? Let’s take a look at some possible explanations and how to avoid falling asleep in front of your colleagues.
Is feeling sleepy in meetings a common problem?
Have you ever been in a meeting where someone snored loudly, or their head kept drooping? Chances are, you have.
In fact, surveys have found that two thirds of workers experience fatigue during meetings. Perhaps even more surprisingly, more than a third of attendees admitted to dozing during a meeting.
What are the consequences of being tired in your meeting?
It’s no secret that meetings can be draining, both mentally and physically. When you’re already feeling tired, the last thing you want to do is sit through an hour (or more) long meeting. But sometimes, you don’t have a choice. You have to be there, whether you’re fully awake and alert or not. So what are the consequences of being tired in meetings? Let’s take a look.
1. You may miss key points:
If you’re struggling to keep your eyes open, you’re probably not going to be able to pay attention to everything that’s being said. And that means you may miss out on important information or key points that are being discussed.
2. You may not be able to contribute effectively:
Even if you are paying attention, it’s hard to contribute effectively when you’re tired. Your brain isn’t firing on all cylinders, so you might not be able to think of good ideas or questions off the top of your head.
3. You may not be able to think clearly:
This one goes hand-in-hand with number two. When you’re tired, it’s hard to think clearly or process information as quickly as you normally would. So even if you do have a good idea, it might take you a little longer to share it.
4. You may not be able to remember what was discussed:
This is another consequence of not being able to pay attention or think clearly. If you can’t focus on what’s being said, chances are you won’t remember much of it later on. That means you might miss out on key details or action items that you were supposed to follow up on.
5. You may not be able to focus on the task at hand:
It’s hard enough to focus when you’re well-rested and alert; when you’re tired, it becomes even harder. If you can’t focus, then it doesn’t matter how interesting or important the discussion is—you’re still not going to get anything out of it.
If you have to attend a meeting while feeling exhausted, there’s a good chance that it won’t go well. You might miss key points, struggle to contribute, have trouble thinking clearly, or even fall asleep!
So why do we get sleepy in meetings?
We’ve all been there before: you’re sitting in a meeting, trying to pay attention, but your eyelids start to feel heavy and it becomes increasingly difficult to focus. Before long, you’re fighting to keep your eyes open, and you might even doze off for a few seconds. So why does this happen?
It’s important to understand why you are feeling sleepy in your meetings in order to figure out the best way of avoiding it in the future.
1. Lack of sleep
One reason is simply that we’re not getting enough sleep. Most adults need around 7-8 hours of sleep per night, but many of us regularly get less than that.
Many of us lead busy lives and don’t get enough sleep at night. This means that when we sit down for a long meeting, our bodies are already tired from the lack of restful sleep. When we’re constantly sleep-deprived, our brains have a harder time focusing and paying attention, which makes meetings (or any other type of mental work) more difficult.
But it’s not just the quantity of sleep that matters – quality is important too. If you’re frequently waking up during the night or tossing and turning, that can also affect your ability to focus during the day. And if you suffer from insomnia or another sleep disorder, that can make it even harder to stay awake and alert.
So if you find yourself nodding off in meetings, it might be time to reevaluate your sleep habits. Getting a good night’s sleep can help you stay more focused and productive at work – and it might just help you stay awake during those long meetings!
2. Monotonous presenter
Meetings can often be long and drawn out, with one person talking for a while before taking questions or moving on to the next topic. This can make it difficult to stay alert, as our brains are not stimulated by different activities or conversations.
The same reasons you got sleepy in lectures in college apply to meetings as adults – and many of these are to do with boredom!
Boredom or stress can cause us to feel tired in meetings too. If you’ve been working on a project for weeks and there’s no resolution yet, the lack of progress may be disheartening and make it hard to stay awake.
Additionally, it may be due to the type of meeting. If there’s no clear agenda and discussion topics are repetitive or irrelevant to you, then it’s easy to lose interest. Boredom makes you sleepy because your brain literally tells your body to fall asleep when it is insufficiently stimulated.
4. Sitting still
Several factors can contribute to daytime sleepiness, including lack of sleep, stress, and boredom. But one of the most common causes is simply spending too much time sitting down. When we’re inactive, our bodies produce less energy, making us feel sluggish and sleepy. So the next time you’re dozing off in a meeting, try getting up and moving around for a few minutes. It might just help you to stay awake and alert.
Another factor is the environment. Most people find it difficult to stay focused in a room that’s too hot or too cold, or if the seating is uncomfortable. Even vibrant colors and patterns on the walls can be distracting.
Last but not least, dehydration can also make us feel tired and sluggish. When we fail to drink enough water throughout the day, our bodies become dehydrated and lack energy. So next time you feel like dozing off in a meeting, try drinking some water first – it might just help to keep you awake!
Read also: Why does my desk job make me so tired?
Best ways to stop yourself from falling asleep in meetings
So what can you do to make sure you stay awake and attentive during long or boring meetings? Here are ten tips.
1. Participate fully
If you’re actively engaged in the meeting, you’re much less likely to fall asleep. So if there’s a discussion, pipe up and offer your opinion or answer questions. And if there’s a presentation, make sure to ask questions afterwards. Make eye contact with your colleagues and talk when appropriate. Not only will participating keep you awake, it’ll also make the meeting more productive and worthwhile for everyone involved.
2. Take notes
Not all meetings are interactive meetings, and you may find it more difficult to participate and stay engaged if you are simply listening to a presentation.
Another way to keep yourself from falling asleep is to take detailed notes. Not only will this help you stay focused on what’s being said, but you’ll also have a written record of the meeting that you can refer back to later. And if you do happen to drift off for a few seconds, taking notes will give you something to look at when you wake up so you can get back on track quickly and easily.
3. Sit up straight
It sounds silly, but sitting up straight can actually help keep you from falling asleep. When you sit up straight, your body is in a state of alertness and readiness, which makes it less likely that you’ll drift off into dreamland. So even if you’re tired, try your best to keep your body position upright and pay attention to the meeting. Your boss will appreciate it too!
4. Open the window or lower the AC temperature
If the conference room is too warm, it can be tough to stay awake. That’s why opening the window or lowering the AC temperature can actually help keep you from dozing off during meetings. The cooler air will help wake you up and keep you alert for the duration of the meeting.
5. Drink water
Dehydration can actually make you feel more tired, so it’s important to drink water throughout the day—especially if you’re going to be sitting through a long meeting. Bring a cold water bottle with you and take small sips throughout the meeting to stay hydrated (and awake).
Staying hydrated will also help fight against brain fog, which can make it difficult to pay attention and participate in meetings.
It may be tempting to rely heavily on caffeine rather than water, but coffee will only help in the short term. For long-term alertness, it’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day.
6. Ask to take a break
If you’re starting to feel sleepy, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for a break. This will give you a chance to walk around, get some fresh air, and maybe even grab a cup of coffee to top off your energy levels before getting back into the thick of things. A quick walk around the office will give you the energy boost you need to see yourself through the rest of the meeting. And who knows? Maybe everyone else is feeling just as sleepy as you are and would welcome a brief break!
7. Apply pressure to your acupressure points
There are pressure points located all over the body that can help alleviate fatigue and sleepiness when stimulated correctly. For example, rubbing your temples in a massage-like motion can help relieve tension headaches that might be making it difficult to focus on the task at hand. Gently pressing on the point between your eyebrows with your index finger can also help stimulate alertness.
8. Suck a mint or chew gum
Sometimes, all it takes is a burst of flavor to wake us up. That’s why sucking on a mint or chewing some sugar-free gum can be great ways to stay alert during meetings. The strong smell and taste will awaken your senses and help keep you focused on the task at hand.
9. Excuse yourself
If all else fails and you just can’t seem to keep your eyes open any longer, don’t fret! There’s shame in excusing yourself from the meeting momentarily to gather your thoughts (and maybe grab another cup of coffee). Just be sure to rejoin the meeting as soon as possible so you don’t miss anything important. Staying awake for the majority of the meeting and leaving the meeting room for a few moments is likely to be better for your career than letting yourself have a half hour nap!
10. Get enough sleep
If you are suffering from sleep deprivation then you are much more likely to fall asleep in your meeting. Practice good sleep hygiene and get to bed earlier if you know you are facing a long meeting the next day.
Falling asleep in meetings is more common than we’d like to admit, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways we can fight against it. By following these tips, you can make sure you stay awake, alert, and engaged during even the longest or most boring of meetings. Your boss (and colleagues)will definitely appreciate it!
Conclusion: Why do I get sleepy in meetings?
If you find yourself getting sleepy in meetings, don’t worry – you’re not alone. There are a few reasons why meetings make us tired, but there are also a few things you can do to combat meeting-related fatigue. So next time you’re in a meeting and struggling to keep your eyes open, try getting up and moving around, drinking some water, or popping a mint to help wake yourself up.