Many people rely heavily on caffeine to keep them alert throughout the day, but caffeine highs usually end in a crash that is worse than the original sleepy feeling. Caffeine is also known to cause jitteriness and anxiety. The good news is that there are plenty of other ways to keep yourself awake that are not as harmful as caffeine. These include short naps, exercise, healthy snacks, and sunlight.
As a kind of public service, we thought we’d list several of the best Ways to Remain Awake Without Caffeine and then tell you a little bit about the advantages of each method.
Take a Short Nap
If you are feeling tired late in the day, a short nap is usually all you need to get through the rest of your workday. One option is a drop nap. This involves holding something in your hand that will make noise when it falls to the floor. Relax in your chair and allow yourself to fall asleep. You will probably wake as soon as the object falls from your hand and hits the floor. Drop naps only last a few seconds, but they can give you a large burst of alertness. If you instead just want to use some kind of an alarm, we might be able to give you a suggestion for that.
Eat a Healthy Snack
Eating a healthy snack such as a low-carb protein bar or a piece of fruit will boost your alertness naturally. Fruits are great for boosting your energy because they are easier to digest than most foods. They will give your body fuel as well as the vitamins and minerals it needs to keep your body healthy and productive. Taking vitamins may also increase your alertness, especially if you find yourself feeling tired almost every day.
It’s easy to become sleepy when you are doing repetitive work. One way to boost your alertness is to do something else. It is best to switch to something that can be completed quickly, especially if it is very different from the repetitive work you are doing. Allowing your brain to switch gears will stimulate your mind and keep you alert.
Open a Window
If you must complete a repetitive task and cannot leave your office, opening a window may help you feel more alert. Letting in the sunshine will stimulate your body to stay awake, and opening the window to allow a slight breeze to enter the room is also stimulating. Just make sure that there isn’t a strong wind blowing, otherwise your papers may end up getting strewn across the room in the wind.
Whether you are just starting an exercise program or already running marathons, exercise is a great way to boost your energy level and alertness. Even raising your heart rate for a minute or two will help you feel more alert for hours. It is best to exercise when you’re on a break, as your coworkers may wonder what’s going on if you suddenly start doing jumping jacks. You can even keep a jump rope in your car for a quick cardio workout on your break. Exercise increases blood flow to your brain, keeping you alert and focused.
People often feel tired when they are dehydrated, so staying hydrated by drinking water will help you feel alert and productive throughout the workday. Some people set a goal to drink a certain amount of water each day, while others stay hydrated by keeping a large water bottle on their desk and refilling it as necessary. It doesn’t matter which method you choose as long as you are drinking water throughout the day. Drinking water is especially important if you live in a warm climate or if your building is not air conditioned.
Connect With Others
Taking a break to talk to coworkers or call a friend is a good way to stay alert. Your drowsiness may be caused by emotions you are not dealing with, so talking to a friend about how you feel is a great way to boost your mood. You can also make plans with your friend that will give you something to look forward to. Keep your conversation short so that you are not wasting your energy on talking when there is work to be done. Try setting an online timer for five minutes so that you are sure to keep your conversation short.
If you are unable to call a friend or chat with a coworker, sending an email or checking your social media pages can have a similar affect. Simply taking your mind of work for a few minutes is a great mental break that can help you stay alert for at least an hour afterward.
Play a Game
If you are working on a project that is particularly boring or stressful, playing a game may help you become more alert, especially if the game is competitive. Online games are great because you can generally take your turn in a minute or two and you can interact with your friends while you are playing. The combination of social interaction, strategy and competition will help boost your brainpower for other tasks.
Even if you are unable to leave your desk to exercise, stretching for a few minutes will give you some of the same benefits. Doing basic stretches at your desk will help you get rid of tension and boost your alertness. You may even increase the flexibility of your muscles. Start by stretching your arm, leg and neck muscles. Try making up your own stretches or looking up ways to stretch different muscles online.
Still not convinced?
Well then, there is always the alternative:
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But do yourself a favor: try staying awake without caffeine first. Your body will love you for it!