We’re so used to waking up with our alarms that we don’t try to work on our sleep schedule. The first thing we do when our alarm goes off in the morning is to reach out for our phone. We rush to the bathroom and then have our daily dose of caffeine with breakfast.
Because why not? It’s something that makes us feel refreshed and gives a kickstart to our day. Not to say, it does come with a lot of benefits but can trap you into its vicious cycle after the effects start to wear off. It disturbs your natural sleep cycle and decreases the quality of sleep. But obviously, what else would you do to keep yourself awake?
Well, there are ways to keep your energy without resorting to a cup of coffee. They can definitely help you stay awake, alert, and energized throughout the day.
1. Keep Your Body Moving
We are so used to the humdrum routine that we fail to make our lives any more exciting. This develops unnecessary stress which makes our daily life hell a lot boring. However, if you take a quick step into the sunshine and move your body, you’ll be able to give a positive start to your day. A 10-minute brisk walk or a quick jog can give you an energy boost that can help you stay productive throughout the day.
This is due to the pumping of oxygen through your veins, brain, and muscles. If you reach out for a breakfast bar or a candy bar instead, you might end up getting a “sugar crash” after an hour or so. Exercise releases essential chemicals in the brain such as norepinephrine and endorphins that are vital for staying awake and alert.
2. Consider Having a Nutritious Snack
Eating healthy is not only essential for our overall well-being but also to keep ourselves awake. Low blood sugar can make you feel lazy and fatigued throughout the day. Eating foods that have a low glycemic index can make you feel energetic for a longer period of time. On the other hand, eating sugary snacks can give you an energy boost but lead to mental fogginess and laziness later on. A combination of carbohydrates, protein, and fats can be good for you.
Try having a low-fat yogurt with unsweetened granola or green leafy veggies that will help you avoid an energy slump.
3. Take a Power Nap
A small 20-minute power nap can do wonders for you. This can help in restoring energy and give you a quick boost. However, you should make sure that you don’t sleep more than 20-25 minutes as you may enter a deeper sleep phase and wake up even more tired. And yes! Don’t consider taking a nap close to your bedtime.
If you’re trying to take a nap at work, make sure that you get one during a break and set an alarm to wake you up. Have a glass of water after you wake up. But don’t rely on just power naps to make up for your night’s sleep.
“It might be difficult for some people to take a quick nap. If you are one of those, consider keeping your eyes closed for 10-15 minutes and resting quietly”, suggests William Henderson, a physician and health consultant at Hisblue.
4. Breathe Deeply
Deep breathing helps your muscles to relax and allows blood vessels to dilate, thereby improving blood circulation and lowering blood pressure. It helps to transport oxygen to various parts of the body and boost energy levels. Breathing deeply also reduces stress and anxiety levels in the body which helps to boost the immune system.
5. Stay Hydrated
If you’re feeling lethargic, it could be due to dehydration. Dehydration causes an energy slump. Make sure you drink plenty of liquids and eat foods high in water content such as fruits and vegetables. Water not only helps in lubricating joints and flushing waste from the body but also shuttles essential nutrients such as oxygen, carbohydrates, etc. to different parts of the body, including the brain. Even a small 1-2% loss of water in the body can lead to fatigue and confusion. Try to drink at least 8 glasses of water in a day.
6. Listen to Your Favorite Jam
Groove to your favorite song and recharge yourself. Listening to music releases the feel-good chemicals in your brain that can give you an energy boost. Make sure that you listen to something loud and not something relaxing as it will make you feel even more tired. Try singing along! It helps you feel less tired and more energetic.
7. Give Your Eyes a Break from the Screen
Looking at the computer or mobile screen for a long period of time can cause eyestrain and worsen sleepiness. The more focused your eyes are, the more tired you will feel. Take a break from the screen. Go and splash some cold water on your face. Make sure to keep your eyes open while splashing the water.
Limit the risk of damaging your eyes by reducing the glare on your screen. Try correcting your posture and blinking frequently.
8. Chew Gum
Chewing gum increases blood flow to your brain and reduces daytime sleepiness. Keeping your mouth busy by chewing gum can make you feel more alert. Chewing gum also reduces anxiety and increases reading comprehension. A UK study found that people who chewed gum for 15 minutes felt more alert than those who did not.
9. Practice a Good Sleep Hygiene
Practicing good sleep hygiene is essential for your body to know when it should be awake and when it should be asleep. Try getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep every day. Make sure that you maintain a consistent bedtime and go to bed at the same time every day. Sound sleep is necessary for your body and brain to function properly. The reason why most people need a cup of coffee or tea in the morning is due to the lack of quality sleep. Sound sleep can keep you awake and make you feel more alert.
However, this could be an issue with people suffering from sleep disorders. Therefore, they should consider getting help from a medical professional.
Medical professionals such as sleep therapists often prescribe smart pills such as Waklert that promote wakefulness to the mind and reduce daytime sleepiness. Your sleep therapist may also ask you to make certain lifestyle modifications to improve your condition.
10. Go Out in the Sun
Our biological cycle that regulates the sleep-wake cycle is influenced by sunlight. Try spending at least 30 minutes outside in the sun. For people with insomnia, sleep experts recommend an hour of morning sunlight every day. Stepping outside and getting a breath of fresh air can also revive your senses and boost your energy levels.
You don’t need a cup of coffee to keep yourself awake. Following these simple tips can keep you feeling energized throughout the day.