Drinking energy or caffeinated beverages to stay alert during the day is easy when you’re getting less sleep. Consuming these types of beverages in an effort to alleviate tiredness can lead to a revolving door of bad habits.
Even if you use caffeine, it can take as long as eight hours for the effects to subside. As a result, not only will you get less sleep, but the quality of your sleep will suffer as well.
So, how can you keep yourself alert without resorting to stimulants?
1. Get up and move around to feel awake
One well-known study examined whether a 10-minute brisk walk or a candy bar gave participants greater energy. It was conducted by professor Robert Thayer, Ph.D., of California State University, Long Beach.
The candy bar gave participants a short-term energy boost, but an hour later, they were more exhausted and had less energy. Two hours after the 10-minute stroll, I felt more energized. This is due to the fact that walking causes an increase in blood flow to the brain, muscles, and veins.
Sitting at a desk all day? Take regular breaks for brief walks. Instead than sitting in the office all day, get out and explore the area around your office when it’s time for lunch. Even if you only take a short walk around your workplace, you’ll feel more alert and energized.
2. Take a nap to take the edge off sleepiness
Taking a nap should be limited to no more than one, and it should not be taken too close to your bedtime.
Barry Krakow, MD, author of Sound Sleep, Sound Mind: Seven Keys to Sleeping Through the Night, recommends taking a five- to 25-minute nap. Preferably, you should snooze approximately six to seven hours before your usual bedtime. If you must take a sleep in the late afternoon or evening before going to bed, keep it brief.
On the job napping can be tricky. A vibrating alarm clock might help you keep track of the time you’ve spent napping at the office and avoid oversleeping into your working hours.
Nap rooms are becoming more commonplace in the workplace, but it’s still best to avoid sleeping at your desk.
Sleep medicine fellow Allison T. Siebern, PhD of Stanford University Sleep Medicine Center, advises that even if you can’t sleep, lying quietly with your eyes closed for 10 minutes can assist.
3. Give your eyes a break to avoid fatigue
Using a computer screen for long periods of time can lead to eye strain, which in turn can make you feel tired and sleepy.
Relax your eyes by taking a break from the computer screen.
4. Eat a healthy snack to boost energy
You get a fast burst of energy from a sugary snack, but it comes with the sugar “lows,” which cause mental fogginess and lethargy when blood sugar levels are low.
In the long run, snacks like these will give you a greater overall feeling of well-being:
- Crunchy whole wheat crackers or celery sticks with a spread of peanut butter.
- a handful of almonds or a piece of fruit in yogurt
- Low-fat cream cheese dip for baby carrots
5. Start a conversation to wake up your mind
Engaging in conversation can help revive you if you’re losing your faculties. Dr. Krakow of Albuquerque, New Mexico’s Maimonides Sleep Arts and Sciences, Ltd. advises his patients to “speak with a colleague about a business concept, politics, or religion. In a talk about politics, “it’s a pretty powerful behavioral stimulant.”
6. Turn up the lights to ease fatigue
Fatigue is exacerbated by dimly lit environments. Exposure to strong light has been demonstrated to reduce tiredness and boost alertness in studies. Increasing the brightness of your office lighting may help you focus better at work.
7. Take a breather to feel alert
Deep breathing improves the body’s ability to absorb oxygen. Your heart rate and blood pressure are both lowered as a result of this, as well as the flow of blood throughout your body.
For deep-breathing, inhale from the abdomen rather than your chest. You can perform these while sitting at your work station. Ten repetitions of this workout are recommended.
- Inhale deeply through your nose while holding one hand on your abdomen just below your ribs and the other on your chest. Let your tummy push your hand out. Chest movements are discouraged.
- Whistle out your breath with pursed lips. Pushing air out with your palm on your tummy can assist.
Stimulating breath is a yoga technique that provides an immediate burst of energy and heightened alertness:
- Keeping your mouth shut but relaxed, inhale and exhale rapidly via your nose.
- Breathe in and out quickly, roughly three times in a second.
- Then take a deep breath in and out.
- To begin, perform this for 15 seconds, then add five seconds every subsequent time until you reach a minute in length.
8. If you’re driving, pull over when sleepy
It is just as risky to be behind the wheel when you are sleep deprived, according to Siebern. When you’re behind the wheel, turning up the volume and opening the windows won’t do much to keep you alert for long periods of time, either. Siebern recommends getting out of the car and taking a nap until you’re no longer sleepy.
If you’re going on a long journey, make sure you switch drivers frequently. Take a break every two hours to get some fresh air and exercise.
9. Switch tasks to stimulate your mind
Those who worked 12-hour night shifts in Finland discovered that monotonous labor was just as detrimental to alertness as sleep loss.
Keep your most stimulating jobs for when you’re most tired. Alternatively, if you start to feel drowsy at work, you can switch to more interesting tasks.
10. Drink water to prevent tiredness
Fatigue is one of the symptoms of dehydration. Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.
11. Get some daylight to regulate your sleep cycles
Our sleep-wake cycle is governed by our circadian rhythms, which are influenced by daylight. Every day, make an effort to spend 30 minutes or more in direct sunlight. (If you suffer from insomnia, sleep specialists recommend getting an hour of sunshine in the morning each day.) Even a short walk in the fresh air can bring you back to your senses.
12. Exercise to increase energy and reduce fatigue
Researchers at the University of Georgia discovered that exercise was more helpful than some sleep drugs in enhancing energy and lowering daytime fatigue in a 2006 study of 70 studies involving more than 6,800 participants.
The quality of one’s sleep is also improved by regular exercise. Try to get 30 minutes of exercise in each day.
Your energy level may dip for a while and then soar for a few hours if you opt to work out hard on a regular basis.
Within two hours of a strenuous workout, a post-workout breakfast rich in both protein and carbohydrates can help restore lost energy. To ensure a good night’s sleep, end your workout at least a couple hours before bedtime.
13. Keep a consistent sleep schedule
People who don’t get a good night’s rest may feel the need for stimulants like caffeine. A good night’s sleep for most adults is between seven and nine hours per night.
Even if the amount of sleep varies from night to night, keeping the body’s energy levels consistent may be beneficial.
It may also be beneficial to stick to a regular bedtime and wakeup schedule. This may help the body get more rest and thus keep the mind sharp and engaged all day long if one follows a regular schedule.
14. Go outside
According to circadian rhythms that regulate sleep and wakefulness, levels of daylight influence the body’s internal clock.
When trying to reset circadian rhythms to establish a balance in the sleep cycle, it may be helpful to spend some time outside in the daylight each day.
The blue early morning light is preferred by some, but even just spending a few minutes outside each day might be beneficial.
15. Listen to music
It’s possible that listening to music while working or wearing headphones will keep your brain more alert. It’s up to the individual to decide what kind of music they want to listen to, however particularly tranquil or relaxing music can actually make people more tired. If you choose something upbeat, on the other hand, you may be stimulating rather than calming your mind.
16. Stay active
As an alternative to sitting in the break room all day, you can take active breaks throughout the day. A short walk around the office may be enough to keep the blood pumping during a break.
If getting up and moving about is not an option, some simple stretching at the desk or workplace may assist.
Performing a few torso twists or extending the arms above the head may help to loosen up tight muscles and keep the blood circulating to keep the body invigorated.
18. Stay hydrated
A lack of hydration might affect one’s ability to concentrate and remain alert throughout the day.
In addition to increasing thirst and urination, drinking more water can help keep the body alert while going to the bathroom.
19. Snack on healthful foods
Sluggishness or vigilance may be influenced by the sorts of meals consumed throughout the day.
Healthful snacks may require less energy to digest or regulate blood sugar levels than junk food or sugar-sweetened beverages, which can lead to weight gain.
To keep your body fueled and satisfied throughout the day, here are a few ideas:
- a handful of nuts or a bag of trail mix
- uncooked egg
- Yogurt made from natural ingredients
- Slices of hummus with vegetables
- Bananas, grapes, and apples are some examples of recent fruit.
20. Take a nap
It may also be beneficial to take a short nap around lunch or before a late shift in order to refresh the brain and keep the body energized.
This might be as simple as taking a 10 to 20 minute snooze in the automobile for those who work during the day.
People who work night or early morning shifts may want to take a nap before they start their day.
21. Keep cool
As the body works to recover the lost heat, it may assist awaken the body and the brain by squirting very cold water on the face and hands.
You can chill down your body and mind by taking off your jacket or other outer gear and cranking up the air-conditioning to its maximum setting.
22. Inhale sharp smells
Sharp or pungent smells may assist awaken the senses and make a person feel more attentive, thereby making them feel more awake. You may benefit from inhaling essential oils, such as those of:
The aroma of a freshly brewed cup of coffee might also help a person stay awake. The smell of freshly brewed coffee may help people stay awake even if they don’t intend to consume it.
23. Lifestyle changes
In order to minimize exhaustion and sluggishness, it may be best to make long-term changes to one’s lifestyle rather than rely on the previously suggested quick fixes.
A healthier diet, more exercise, better sleep, and other ideas for long-term improvements in lifestyle are all viable options.
How can I keep myself from dozing off in class?
Take a short bathroom break if you notice yourself falling asleep in class. As soon as you get to the bathroom, try squirting some icy water on your face to wake you up.
What should I do if I can’t fall asleep?
It may be a good idea to get out of bed and do something different to help you fall asleep. Stay away from anything that will cause your brain to be stimulated. Reading a good book or having a hot bath can help you relax. Try going back to bed once you’re feeling drowsy.
What if you experience caffeine withdrawal?
Caffeine does not have to be completely eliminated from your diet. To begin, cut your caffeine intake in half or gradually wean yourself off of it. You may, however, experience withdrawal symptoms like irritability or jitteriness if you completely give off caffeine.
Dr. Darling expects the symptoms to go away within a few days of discontinuing coffee.
In the event of a headache, take ibuprofen (Advil®) or acetaminophen (Tylenol®) and drink plenty of fluids. To obtain a better idea of how your body functions without coffee, start adopting healthy habits and you may be surprised by how great you feel.
“Every day is the same for us. It’s easy to become sucked into routines and habits that we don’t realize are harming us, says Dr Darling. Take a peek at what life would be like if you didn’t rely so much on caffeine.” The secret to success is to cultivate healthy habits that provide us with the energy we need to succeed.”
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