Falling asleep on your keyboard is a good sign that you are fatigued. But sometimes fatigue is not that obvious.

Inability to concentrate, having memory lapses, or being unable to remember instructions can be symptoms of fatigue. Being sleepy in the office is an inconvenience, but being sleepy while operating equipment is a safety problem.

Lack of sleep is a problem all over the U.S. today. Weariness affects production levels and increases safety risks. The National Sleep Foundation concludes that 51 percent of working people say sleepiness affects their performance at work.

Shift workers and people who have erratic schedules may suffer from exhaustion. This group includes public safety officers, doctors, nurses, truck drivers, and anyone whose job requires more hours than a regular workday.

Fortunately, you can do several things to fight fatigue. The National Safety Council recommends:

  • If a high-stress job is not best for your physical and psychological makeup, consider asking to be reassigned. Stress, insomnia, and depression cause fatigue.
  • Working on time management skills may help to keep office hours under control. Using a daily planner and staying with scheduled activities can help.
  • Study your sleep habits. Sleep regular hours in a dark, quiet, cool bedroom without a telephone, computer, or television to disturb your sleep.
  • If you can't get a short nap on the job when fatigue overtakes you, take a break. A brisk walk could revive you.
  • Breathe. Tired people don't breathe as deeply. Breathing is an important part of staying energized. One cause of fatigue is lack of oxygen in the lungs.
  • Avoid quick fixes like caffeine. They might help for a time, but their effects may also stay with you and cause a sleepless night.
  • If you have frequent fatigue, see a doctor to make sure it isn't a symptom of a larger problem.