We’re not strangers to feeling drowsy after a heavy meal. This after-meal sleepiness occurs whenever we feel so full and relaxed that it’s hard for us to function, let alone keep our eyes open. Especially for meals containing high carbohydrates and fats, the body’s response is to slow down and to focus on digesting the food that has been eaten.

This becomes a little tricky when we’re at the office and duty-bound to perform our tasks for the day. To help you out with this predicament, we have identified 8 creative ways to battle your post-meal urge to snooze while at the office.

Chew gum

This is a simple way to help you stay awake at work. When you chew a gum, your facial muscles are stimulated causing an increase in blood flow to the head this makes you stay awake and attentive especially when faced with dull and tedious office tasks.

Stretch it out

Another way to keep your sleepiness at bay is by doing stretching exercises. Stretching out gives you a quick boost of energy and helps breathe deeply than normal. You can stretch out the front of your body by pulling your hands together behind your back or stretch out your hips by lifting your right leg out behind you.

Keep your mind busy

When your mind is not busy with something, your brain shuts down and you feel sleepy. What you can do is to focus on work and if you have to take a break, hang out with your most talkative colleagues. It’s also helpful that you think less about feeling sleepy because the power of auto-suggestion is greatest in this situation.

Keep your mind occupied by directing your attention on something, perhaps grooming and watering the flowers or succulents on your desk. You can also try creative visualization wherein you think of something that makes you feel happy. Yes, Peter Pan’s advice to “think happy thoughts” is not just useful for getting yourself off ground, it also deters sleepiness.

Eat an apple

Idleness and lethargy really are linked to your food choices. If you already ingested too much for lunch, instead of drinking a mug of coffee, eat an apple because it will wake you up much better. Like chewing gum, it keeps your facial muscles active so the body stays alert. And the most important thing is to have a balanced diet, say five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

Drink green tea instead of coffee

Another coffee alternative is a cup of green tea. It has less caffeine and can give you that afternoon pick-me-up without making you a zombie at night. It also has a lot of nutritional benefits to keep anyone awake and wide-eyed.

Switch up your tasks

If you’re working on the same tasks for more than 4 hours, take a rest or find a new task to tackle. This will refresh your mind and keep you awake. A change of pace, focus and even environment can help stimulate your brain. This is why some people prefer working at a café due to the additional stimulation and energy they get from other people in the vicinity.

Take a break

People more prone to drowsiness are those who are also feeling tired, so the simplest way to address this is to take a break. You can do something else that is not work-related like doing a crossword puzzle or anything that you enjoy doing.

Get enough sleep

The best cure is prevention. As such, to stay awake in the office is to regularly get enough sleep at night. According to a recent survey, the hours from 10:00pm until 2:00am are the most important hours for body relaxation and sleeping.

Make sure that when you sleep, you turn off the lights in your room, shut out any noise and power down your electronic devices. However, if you really can’t avoid sleepless nights, simply shut your eyes and take 10-20 minutes for a power nap. More and more offices nowadays allow employees to take power naps, especially during lull times.

Just make sure your power nap doesn’t stretch to REM-level sleep. Photos You may download the files here. These are under Creative Commons Zero, so there’s no need for attribution.