Oil rig workers in the Gulf have long shifts. Sometimes 14 hours long. And while energy drinks are sweet and cold and contain enough caffeine to keep every set of eyes in a small village open for weeks, there are better, and healthier, ways to stay awake and alert on the rig.
According to articles by healthline.com and the Mayo Clinic the following will help you stay bright eyed and bushy tailed on the job. The top five ways to stay awake are:
1. Stretch. If you are at a computer, standing or sitting in the same position for long periods actively move your body into different positions. Reach your arms over your head and lean side to side. Do forward lunges and squats to get the blood moving through the large muscles in your legs. If bending forward take breaks to lean back with your hands on your waist and gently look up and back to stretch your low back and neck.
2. Use a bright light at night. After the sun goes down make sure you get breaks between a dim working light, a bright working light and the dark night sky.
3. Drink cold water. This prevents dehydration. In humid environments we can sweat a lot and not realize it. While you have the cold water handy splash some on your face.
4. Avoid sugar highs and lows by keeping your blood sugar stable by eating healthy snacks such as peanut, cashew or almond butter slathered on an apple, plain yogurt with sunflower sees and fruit such as grapes or pineapple, cheese and wheat crackers, or carrots and dip.
5. Listen to upbeat music. The more beats per minute (BPM) the more likely the music will wake you up. Look for music that has between 170-180 BPM. Avoid soothing, slow 60 -70 BPM tunes until you’re ready to hit the hay.
Bonus tip: While not every rig job allows it, the best way to stay awake is to pay off your sleep debt. This means squeeze in a 20-minute power nap in the middle of your shift. Twenty minutes is all you need to be able to effectively muscle through the rest of your work. Not only that but the National Sleep Foundation states that a 20- 30 minute nap is shown to “improve mood, alertness and performance.” Every roughneck can benefit from this.