It’s easy to be tempted to take the easy option and reach for highly caffeinated drinks, fast food, crisps and snacks but these can be counter-productive. While they might provide a quick hit of energy you are sure to crash later on. The best thing to do when exhausted is drink lots of water and eat naturally. Fresh fruit particularly bananas are good sources of energy. You should also look for foods which release energy slowly throughout the day such as porridge or foods rich in protein.
If you find yourself really flagging then you might want to consider a power nap. Find somewhere quiet and get your head down for about 20 minutes during your lunch break.
Evidence suggests that mental fatigue is as dangerous as drink driving. This can be particularly dangerous if you work in a high risk industry such as rail or transportation. Have you ever driven somewhere and found yourself wondering how you got there? This can be a result of mental exhaustion. When a person is fatigued they can lose concentration without realising, often losing awareness for seconds at a time. Your body can go into automatic mode while your brain tunes out. Productivity, attention to detail and standards can all drop and mental fatigue makes it harder to prioritise. You should try to do anything you can to maintain concentration, whether this be writing down everything you need to do and working through the list one step at a time, getting up and moving around or popping out for some fresh air on your break.
When it comes to catching up on sleep later on then as many parents with young children know it’s all about winding down and routine. Take a warm bath, read a book and switch off. Stay away from social media, television or anything else that stimulates your brain. If you have drunk a lot of caffeine earlier in the day then you might struggle to sleep at night but don’t be tempted to turn to alcohol to help you sleep. Alcohol can alter your sleep patterns. Whilst you may initially fall into a deep sleep the overall quality of sleep is worse, meaning you wake up feeling even more fatigued the next day. Have some warm milk or hot chocolate instead