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Sleeping at work
July 12, 2005 2:31 PM   Subscribe

I share an office with a co-worker and over the past few months she's been sitting at her computer and falling asleep during the day, mainly in the afternoon.

Normally this wouldn't bother me too much, but every single time it happens I have this scary feeling she might keel over and hit the keyboard. Sometimes the frequency of these occurences (the head bobbing and waking up when it goes to far) is about once every 2-3 minutes for several hours. It's not really annoying, it's a little distracting and that's about it but I feel I should say something. What do you think?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (65 answers total)
 
Is she an air traffic controller or something else like that where nodding off is likely to cause others harm or danger? If not, MYOB.
posted by spilon at 2:38 PM on July 12, 2005


Buy her a red bull.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 2:44 PM on July 12, 2005


Why do you feel you should say something? What goes on outside the office should stay there, unless her falling asleep has adverse consequences for your job and job performance.

If you absolutely must say something, try mentioning it casually in an off-handed sort of way (e.g. "Burning the midnight oil again?"). Otherwise, say nothing.
posted by staresbynight at 2:46 PM on July 12, 2005


It would actually be really funny to watch a coworker fall asleep, fall over, and hit their head on a keyboard. It'd be hilarious if they fell out of their chair even, and sustained some sort of injury awkwardly landing on the floor and like writhed in some kind of pain.

I'm envious. Take some pictures.
posted by xmutex at 2:49 PM on July 12, 2005


She might suffer from narcolepsy, sleep apnea, or another type of sleep disorder.
posted by WCityMike at 2:50 PM on July 12, 2005


Maybe she's pregnant. I'm with the "leave her alone" crowd.
posted by peep at 2:51 PM on July 12, 2005


Do pregnant women get a free pass on falling asleep at work?
posted by xmutex at 2:53 PM on July 12, 2005


I'd take to farting loudly.

Seriously, your reflexes take over when you're nodding like that. Either she'll gradually keel over, or she won't hit very hard.

Should you say something? It depends on your relationship. You might say something like: "Hey, I've noticed you seem really sleepy in the afternoon. I find that taking a short, brisk walk after I eat really helps with that."

On preview: pregnant woman get a free pass for their first trimester.
posted by Specklet at 2:53 PM on July 12, 2005


sleeping co-worker + video camera + office Christmas party = good times
posted by Robot Johnny at 2:57 PM on July 12, 2005


If you have a relationship w/ her that would allow you to discuss such things . . . you might want to suggest that she go to a sleep clinic. Sleep apnea is common, esp. among overweight folks.

I had the same problem, went to a sleep clinic, got a goofy little air machine that I wear at night and it has absolutely changed my life. No joke.

Imagine what it is like to go for weeks or months waking up every 15 or 20 minutes at night - then you will get an idea what it is like to live with untreated apnea.
posted by teredwar at 3:03 PM on July 12, 2005


Wonder why everyone's thinking the coworker is overweight?

Maybe she's a stripper; anonymous - find out where she moonlights!
posted by PurplePorpoise at 3:12 PM on July 12, 2005


If you are concerned for her, maybe you could get her a neck pillow to encourage a better napping position and to prevent neck injuries. My mom sometimes did the head bobbing thing as she dozed off and one of those times when she woke up with a sudden movement she injured her neck and had to go to physical therapy for a while after that and take pain relievers for a while too.
posted by PY at 3:13 PM on July 12, 2005


If the pillow idea seems ludicrous to you, and you are concerned, maybe you could just let the co-worker know that you worry about her hitting the keyboard or falling over when she's dozing.
posted by PY at 3:16 PM on July 12, 2005


pregnant woman get a free pass for their first trimester.

No, they don't. Or at least they shouldn't at the expense of their co-workers. Unless it's their own business and they're the boss or they work from home and can catch up on work when they're not tired.

Work time is not nap time, so I think you should say something or tell your boss. It isn't telling tales, if someone is doing something at work that they shouldn't be doing, then you have every right (responsibility, even) to complain. If she has a genuine illness, then at least you'll know (or she'll be prompted to see a doctor).
posted by speranza at 3:16 PM on July 12, 2005


Jesus Christ, speranza. I certainly hope you never do anything like READ METAFILTER on company time. I could nap for 2 hours a day at my work and still get more done than every single one of my co-workers.
posted by peep at 3:20 PM on July 12, 2005


"Hey, I'm running out to get a cup of coffee. Want one? My treat!"
posted by elisabeth r at 3:28 PM on July 12, 2005


I certainly hope you never do anything like READ METAFILTER on company time.

No, I don't.
posted by speranza at 3:35 PM on July 12, 2005


Work time is not nap time

I just want to hear that over and over. Work time is not nap time. No, it certainly isn't. Work time is not nap time. Say it with me now. Work time is not nap time. Work time, my friends, is not nap time.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 3:35 PM on July 12, 2005


I used to doze off at my first job out of college - all the time. I think it was the change to sitting in front of the computer all day. It took me a while to adjust but I've not done it since, but if I do feel dozy I have to have a wander for a while to wake myself up again.

Be kind and go and wake her up and advise her to have a screen break. I used to be really selfconscious that my boss would catch me at it but I really couldn't stop myself. She'll more than likely be embarrassed if you point it out, but think she'd be happier to keep her job instead. If I were her I'd appreciate my own friendly personal alarm clock :)
posted by floanna at 3:43 PM on July 12, 2005


This happens to me whenever I have Mexican food for lunch. Too heavy, too many carbs/not enough protein, something like that. When the mid-afternoon sleepies hit, I get up and go get some water.

*is very glad to have an office of her own, where no one else can watch the head-bobbing.*
posted by ambrosia at 3:45 PM on July 12, 2005


I don't know about the rest of you, but watching someone sleep while I am working would really irk me. I don't really understand the "leave her alone, let her sleep" mentality. It's not like sleeping on the job is a valid activity like, say, listening to the radio at a reasonable volume while she collate. Now I'm not suggesting that you pry or even question what is making her so sleepy, is there really any acceptable reason to fall asleep on the job?

In any case, maybe she keeps doing it because she has not realize that you've caught on to her afternoon siestas. In the morning, well before naptime, I'd say "I don't know how you manage to fall asleep in your chair, they are so uncomfortable" and hope she takes the hint. If she fell asleep once or twice, that wouldn't be a big deal and I wouldn't suggest you say anything. However, napping each afternoon a bit excessive.
posted by necessitas at 3:51 PM on July 12, 2005


Once every 2-3 minutes seems like a bizarre sleep pattern. I vote for some sort of medical explanation. What's more, if you're falling asleep for a few seconds every few minutes, this could be microsleep and she may not even be aware that she's not even aware she's taking naps.

I vote for "hey, I notice you're really tired in the afternoon" followed by "can I get you some coffee when I run out?" some other friendly I-am-not-sperenza-and-I'm-not-trying-to-get-you-in-trouble-I'm-just-kind-of-worried type comment. Your goal is to make sure she knows she's actually falling asleep so she can seek appropriate attention if necessary (is she driving home? that would worry me). Beyond that, MYOB.

I'm lucky enough to be able to pick up and go home to bed when I over-carb my lunch or under-sleep the night before. I can't imagine having to just keep sitting at the desk even then, nevermind if there's a medical issue.
posted by duck at 3:57 PM on July 12, 2005


One person's opinion: the reason I have a "leave her alone" mentality is because of the wording of Anonymous's question. He doesn't say she's not completing her work, or that he is having to pick up any of her slack.

It appears that this is a somewhat new thing and he has worked with her for a while, so it's not like the company hired a new employee and all she does is sleep. It also leads me to believe the behavior might stop in the future if it didn't happen more than a few months ago.

Finally, he's not her boss - perhaps she's already let her boss know of some scenario that might cause the behavior. If it is a medical condition of any kind, it's not the co-worker's business.
posted by peep at 3:59 PM on July 12, 2005


As she falls asleep how about shouting "Hey, hey, are you okay? You're falling asleep there" in a lighthearted manner. Proceed as her response dictates.
posted by fire&wings at 4:01 PM on July 12, 2005


if you're worried about her, surely it's better to say "excuse me, but i'm worried - do your realise you're falling asleep all the time?" rather than "you seem tired", if she may not be aware of the problem.
posted by andrew cooke at 4:01 PM on July 12, 2005


What peep said. If she's getting all her work done, what's it to you? I really wouldn't worry about her hurting herself.

If it's that distracting, can you turn your chair/monitor a bit so her sudden movements are out of your field of vision?
posted by rafter at 4:03 PM on July 12, 2005


collateS and realizeD

Sorry, I guess I am a bit sleepy and could use a good nap
posted by necessitas at 4:05 PM on July 12, 2005


Work time is not nap time, so I think you should say something or tell your boss. It isn't telling tales, if someone is doing something at work that they shouldn't be doing, then you have every right (responsibility, even) to complain. If she has a genuine illness, then at least you'll know (or she'll be prompted to see a doctor).
posted by speranza

Occupation: Student

Heh.

posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:10 PM on July 12, 2005


Get her a pillow, but not a neck pillow. Just get a nice fluffy pillow and put it on her keyboard while she's asleep. Then when she wakes up deny knowing where it came from.
posted by nicwolff at 4:10 PM on July 12, 2005


He doesn't say she's not completing her work, or that he is having to pick up any of her slack.

This is true, but if he/she was perfectly happy with the situation, then he/she wouldn't have posted the question.

If it is a medical condition of any kind, it's not the co-worker's business.

I don't know, I think it's a matter of courtesy to let your co-workers know if you have a condition that may affect your work. I don't mean every single person in the company, obviously, but the people you work closely with everyday. I worked for a company where there was a girl with diabetes and I know that the boss and a couple of her friends/co-workers knew what to do if she got ill at work. That seemed sensible to me. I mean, if there is a possibility that the woman could actually hurt herself, then wouldn't anon want to help make sure that didn't happen? Also, if anon was aware that it was a medical condition that was causing her to fall asleep, then at least he wouldn't be sitting there getting more and more annoyed at the woman.

Of course, it's still quite possible that she's just a big slacker who needs a kick in the ass.
posted by speranza at 4:12 PM on July 12, 2005


Occupation: Student

Heh.


Erm, yeah, I was hoping no one would notice that.

Still, I've had/have jobs, so I'm allowed to answer. :p
posted by speranza at 4:14 PM on July 12, 2005


This sounds like a job for a Super Soaker.

I'm in the "don't say anything" camp, unless it somehow has an impact on your workload.
posted by MegoSteve at 4:19 PM on July 12, 2005


I am absolutely with necessitous and speranza--I heard a phrase a while ago--oh what was it--oh yes--Work time is not nap time--no matter how you cut it or rationalize it is inappropriate behavior in the work place, is a disservice to the employees who are focused on work and it is a distraction--we are not talking about the spontaneous nod we all have at times--I have no idea what her responsibilities are but think of the times you have been annoyed by excessively long waits, slow service, interminable recorded messages while on hold, delayed insurance paper work, late deliveries etc. I always flash back to what a friend told me (interestingly, head of a union)--It's called work for a reason--if it wasn't work they would call it play. Work can, and should be personally and financially rewarding, validating and, if your lucky (and perhaps diligent) being part of something greater than yourself. From a strictly ethical point of view sleeping while being paid is stealing. My advice, courteously express to her that it is a bit of a distraction, ask if there might be a problem and thank her for her consideration.
posted by rmhsinc at 4:23 PM on July 12, 2005


I have no idea what her responsibilities are but think of the times you have been annoyed by excessively long waits, slow service, interminable recorded messages while on hold, delayed insurance paper work, late deliveries etc.

Let's stress that anonymous said nothing to imply that she was doing a disservice to customers or to coworkers.

From a strictly ethical point of view sleeping while being paid is stealing.

That depends. Is she being payed by the amount of hours she clocks, or the amount and quality of the work she completes? Maybe she's tired but she's bringing work home. Or maybe while she is awake she is a far more efficient worker than her coworkers.
posted by rafter at 4:37 PM on July 12, 2005


Are you concerned that she's slacking, or that she may be ill and not realize it?

If it's the latter, maybe mention that you've been noticing that she's nodding off, and is everything ok? I had something similar happen to me back in December; a trip to the doctor and a tweaking of my antidepressant dosage fixed it.
posted by spinifex23 at 4:44 PM on July 12, 2005


Rafter--I think you are pushing the envelope of credulity but you might be right--I think the test would be to suggest to her, that while it is only a bit of a distraction for you, she might discuss it with her boss to get his endorsement and her coworkers to get their support. But after all, I am an employer.
posted by rmhsinc at 4:51 PM on July 12, 2005


Jesus Christ, speranza. I certainly hope you never do anything like READ METAFILTER on company time. I could nap for 2 hours a day at my work and still get more done than every single one of my co-workers.

Yeah but that's not a "free pass," that's accomplishing your duties. I'm not a student (so nobody can snicker about my profile) and I concur: pregnant, diabetic, psychotic, whatever, it's your duty to accomplish your tasks in exchange for your salary. If you're so brilliant/productive you can read MeFi, nap, or have morning sickness from 8 to 1p every day and still get everything done just as well, super. If not, you should be appropriately accountable. Else you eventually get so many sob stories and good reasons for a "free pass" than the single childless (and people with some sense of obligation) are the workbitches for the other 80% of the staff.

That said, anonymous is not Ms Snoozy's superior and likely it's not hir business how unproductive and crappy that worker may or may not be. You don't have any obligation to cover for this person but if it's not causing you more work or (if it's a small/employee-owned company) harming you financially by harming the company then narcing them out is kinda petty. Wouldn't make you wrong per se, but definately a busybody.

I think the concern here is more personal. Falling asleep sitting up could very well be an undiagnosed sleep disorder or a drug problem. If you're at all social you should express some concern - for all you know she's narcoleptic and unaware of it. If she's out smoking crack all night and sleeping at work, well, at least you let her know someone cares at least a little.
posted by phearlez at 4:53 PM on July 12, 2005


rafter - that is incredibly lame. there could be something wrong with this person. excusing yourself because she puts in the work and then turning your monitor and chair away so you aren't distracted by her passing out? jesus fucking christ.
posted by fire&wings at 4:57 PM on July 12, 2005


And As she falls asleep how about shouting "Hey, hey, are you okay? You're falling asleep there" ISN'T incredibly lame? Between minding my own business and being a passive-agressive jerk I'll take MYOB, thanks.
posted by phearlez at 5:04 PM on July 12, 2005


I once had a project manager that told me that in an eight hour work day you can only realistically expect about 4 hours worth of work from people in your project. He claimed that the rest of the time is spent, eating, sleeping, talking, reading Metafilter, pissing, shitting, walking, adjusting things in your environment (window shades, opening and closing doors, chairs, monitors, etc.), pretending you are listening to somebody during a meeting -- oh, and napping.

Of course he was absolutely right.

If she is not directly affecting your workload than don't run to your boss and squeal; your boss will immediately lose all respect for you because nobody likes a squealer, nobody, and you will lose any hope of being promoted from office-sharing drone to single-occupancy office drone.

Maybe you should try napping as well?


on preview: impressive university brainwashing of futrure office drones. Repeat after me: work time is not nap time, must work, must work.
posted by sic at 5:10 PM on July 12, 2005


If you are concerned about her and have a relationship you want to keep with her you might want to mention that sleepiness is one of the symptoms of type II diabetes, especially after lunch.

If she's just a co-worker and you don't care, I vote buy a big bag of rubberbands and shoot her in the forehead every time she nods off. When she wakes up find something engrossing to do and take no notice. Repeat until it gets boring.
posted by 517 at 5:13 PM on July 12, 2005


sic, please don't make assumptions about me, you know nothing about what I want to do with my life. Call me crazy, but I grew up being taught that having a work ethic was a good thing.
posted by speranza at 5:14 PM on July 12, 2005


(,,,)
please insert when needed.
posted by 517 at 5:16 PM on July 12, 2005


Call me crazy, but I grew up being taught that having a work ethic was a good thing.
posted by speranza at 5:14 PM PST on July 12 [!
]


You are crazy.
posted by sic at 5:18 PM on July 12, 2005


I'm with peep on leaving her alone, basically.

But, if you do want to bring it up, do it to her, not to anyone else. And do it only if you're concerned about her and are not sure if she realises what's happening. In that case, you could just try and bring it up kindly and delicately. She may be on medication that makes her feel drowsy. Hopefully she'll appreciate the concern. This so depends on people and context, you have to assess that yourself.

If on the other hand all you're bothered by is being distracted, then just don't look at her. It would be very rude for you to ask her 'not to do it', unless she was snoring or something so comically obtrusive you just can't ignore it.

And, if you're only bothered by the fact she gets to nap while you work, well, it's not your place to be concerned about the impact of her drowsiness on the company's productivity - clearly it's not been much, or someone else would have already noticed.
posted by funambulist at 5:18 PM on July 12, 2005


(NB I added that last paragraph only because some comments were interpreting the situation that way, personally I didn't read in Anonymous's words that kind of 'she gets to nap! unfair! anticapitalistically wrong!' annoyment, only that immediate distraction effect and concern/interest for the other person).
posted by funambulist at 5:25 PM on July 12, 2005


If you share an office, odds are you should be on good enough terms to bring the topic up - particularly after it's been going on for two months or more. If you care about your co-worker, just ask point-blank if they're having trouble sleeping or whatever, and mention that you're concerned.

I've worked graveyard shifts where it's very difficult to stay awake between 3:30 AM and 5:00 AM, particularly when you don't get much sleep during the day thanks to noisy neighbors, etc., and had similar difficulty staying awake during the shift. Maybe if they're going to school or moonlighting, they're having trouble getting enough sleep and it's catching up to them.
posted by jzb at 5:25 PM on July 12, 2005


If your work duties are entertwined, I think the best course of action is to talk to her in a simple, nonjudgemental, unapologetic way. Tell her you've noticed, tell her it distracts you, tell her that you hope she finds a solution, ask her how you can help.

I love the whole MYOB concept, but due to your close proximity you might at some point be called on by an authority figure to explain for a lack of production in your area. Someone may one day walk into the room, wake her up with a jolt, realize that she was sleeping and then develop a suspicion about you for not reporting it.

If you don't think that could ever happen and you're comfortable "covering" for her, then leave it alone. Her situation might be temporary. Give it time. Engage her more during the day. Agree on some music and play it in the afternoons, talk about it, ask questions just for the sake of human connection. Give her one small and positive reason to stay awake and participating in her life.

Personally, I hope she has the balls to tell you that she doesn't care and sleeps because she can. I hope she converts you and that through the mention of the matter on ask.mefi, Sleep Club is born.

And you know what the first rule would be?
posted by cior at 5:28 PM on July 12, 2005


Get an audio version of The Promise of Sleep by Dr. William Dement. Play the part dealing with sleep disorders and sleep problems while you're at work. Hopefully your co-worker recognizes herself and, if necessary, will talk to her doctor about getting a sleep study.
It's a wonderful book. Could help her, and, even if you don't have sleep "disorders," could help you live your life better - I'd recommend it for anyone.
(I've read the printed version.)
posted by mistersix at 5:33 PM on July 12, 2005


I don't know what it is about this topic, but anytime I hear someone say something about not doing anything inappropriate on company time it really pisses me off. Work is so far from the most important thing in the world. Maybe this lady is up all night taking care of her sick kid, or she's on some kind of medication that makes her tired. It's possible she is just out partying all night. I just can't understand why someone who has no personal stake in the situation would get all bent out of shape that she's sleeping at work.

If you get paid by the hour, you get paid to show up, and I'll prove it to you. If I show up they have to pay me. They can fire me because I don't do enough work, but they have to pay me for the time that I was there. An hourly employee is getting paid to spend time someplace that they would rather not be. Any work that may, or may not, get done is incidental as far as getting paid goes. Employees don't have a "sacred responsibility" or any of that B.S. We're talking about a free market economy here, not the Boy Scouts. If this lady can slouch by without getting fired, bully for her. She's sticking it to the man who would otherwise be sticking it to her.

As far as the original question goes, I'd maybe take the lady out for lunch and ask her why she keeps falling asleep. It seems to me that you're not really the kind of person that talks to coworkers a lot or you'd probably have asked her the first time it happened. So it might take a bit of effort to break through whatever resistance you might have to discussing the situation. It might be that asking the question would just be the beginning of a conversation with this person that you work with every day. You're obviously concerned about her.
posted by jefeweiss at 5:37 PM on July 12, 2005


take her wallet. then offer to buy her a cup of coffee. that'll wake her up.
posted by terrapin at 5:41 PM on July 12, 2005


I'm just jealous. I have trouble falling asleep in my own bed.

There is another side. Anon is not her slave driver (boss) but someone else is. The co-worker might appreciate having this brought to her attention. She may not realize how obvious the problem is. It's better that a co-worker brings it to her attention than the "man". (I hate the man.)
posted by Carbolic at 5:51 PM on July 12, 2005


I once had a similar problem that was med related. No matter how much coffee I drank or how much sleep I got the night before, I constantly found myself nodding off at work.

I also can vouch that sleep apnea can cause similar symptoms. My husband had it so bad he could literally not sit still without falling asleep. The cpap machine was a literal lifesaver.
posted by konolia at 6:40 PM on July 12, 2005


Let's not also forget that sitting in an office for eight hours a day pretending you're doing something meaningful is goddamned draining.
posted by xmutex at 7:31 PM on July 12, 2005


Whoops, I read mefi at work sometimes for a 3 min break in between hours of staring at squiggly lines. I guess I didn't get the memo.

I would second "andrew cooke"'s response verbatim; and I could probably add about 20 things to the laundry list of medical things this person might have. Most probable is just excessive daytime somnolence due to inadequate sleep hours; our society is in the midst of an epidemic of not sleeping enough, if you believe that such a thing could be an epidemic.

I think appropriate concern for an acquaintance would be at least to establish that the person was aware of the problem and that it wasn't normal. Lots of people with small head-drop atonic seizures, for example, either don't know they have them or don't realize it's abnormal to have them. Many folks with sleep apnea don't realize that everyone doesn't feel crappy in the daytime, either - they think drowsy irritability is just the lot of adulthood.
posted by ikkyu2 at 8:05 PM on July 12, 2005


Let's not also forget that sitting in an office for eight hours a day pretending you're doing something meaningful is goddamned draining

I'd like to second that thought.

Also, as an extension, all work is not inherently good. It's just work.
posted by Elsbet at 8:14 PM on July 12, 2005


rafter - that is incredibly lame. there could be something wrong with this person. excusing yourself because she puts in the work and then turning your monitor and chair away so you aren't distracted by her passing out? jesus fucking christ.

Just to clear my good name, I did not mean to imply that anon should be negligent of the coworker's health. The question was what to do about the distraction and annoyance — my assumption is that the coworker realizes she is dozing off, in which case I suggested that anon just not be so easily distracted.

If anon has honest concern for her well-being, there is a lot of good advice in the thread. But I quite doubt that falling on her keyboard is much of a threat, and I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with her catching some winks at the office (so long as she's not causing stress for others).
posted by rafter at 9:27 PM on July 12, 2005


A friend of mine was suffering from excessive sleepiness at work, when they eventually got round to seeing a doctor they found out it was due to a thyroid problem. She should get checked out.
posted by teleskiving at 1:04 AM on July 13, 2005


She could be working a second job to support kids. She could be studying after work. She could be ill. She could be having trouble with her marriage. Don't squeal on her. If her work is bad, the bastards will get her anyway.
posted by pracowity at 2:43 AM on July 13, 2005


If her work is bad, the bastards will get her anyway.
Amen.

I once worked a menial job where the work output was easily quantified, and was recorded. For a while, I was part of a 7pm-to-7am shift. The older members of the shift explained to me that their practice was to sack out for about three hours after the bosses had all gone home, and that's what we did. Our recorded output always exceeded that of the day shift.

They pay for product. If they get it, they have no complaint.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:48 AM on July 13, 2005


Right on. Mention her habits to her, but say that it's fine. She doesn't snore, does she?
Stealing from the company? HA! Welcome to capitalism.
posted by klangklangston at 7:02 AM on July 13, 2005


I got fired once because I did the head dropping thing for 30 seconds and the boss walked by. It was a temp job in Oregon. The boss moonlighted as a clown. They had overhired. I hadn't slept well for the past few days.

The point is, I had sleep problems, probably due to stress. Later, like 10 years later, I did a sleep study but nothing conclusive came out of it. I get good sleep like one night a week, but the rest of the time it's just mediocre, not terrible. That book by Dement looks good.
/tired and rambling
posted by craniac at 7:26 AM on July 13, 2005


It isn't telling tales

Yeah it is, and I'm glad I don't have to work with you. On the plus side, you're a student, presumably young, and hopefully you'll grow out of the Hall Monitor phase. If not, expect to be hated by your coworkers.

As for the question, there's not enough information to give a meaningful answer. I'm not sure why this is anonymous; "my coworker might read MetaFilter" doesn't seem to me sufficient justification. (For one thing, how could she? She's asleep!)
posted by languagehat at 7:49 AM on July 13, 2005


I want to add that the pattern of head bobbing and sleeping every 2-3 minutes definitely sounds like a sleep problem. I had a student in my class last year who did this very thing. It would really piss me off, but after talking to her I realized that she was totally unaware that it was happening. Her sleep clinic tests were also inconclusive, but she was diagnosed with ADHD, and falling asleep in the middle of the day is apparently a symptom of that too. I think that you co-worker may want to know. I would say something to her privately, "I noticed that you often fall asleep in the afternoon. Is everything okay?"
posted by picklebird at 10:03 AM on July 13, 2005


Head bobbing is a symptom of ADHD? Cripes. I just figured it happened when you didn't get enough sleep, as was the case for me thoughout my high school and university career.

As to the question of whether it's dangerous, I suppose it's possible but it probably isn't. I'm still alive, despite bashing my head on subway poles during many a head-bobbing session. I may, of course, have an undiagnosed sleep disorder, but if she's only started nodding off recently, I'd chalk it up to lack of sleep.
posted by chrominance at 12:31 PM on July 13, 2005


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