It happens to everyone at some point. Our bones become jelly, and getting out of bed becomes painful without the IV drip of Redbull straight to our bloodstreams. We rely on crutches, cup after cup of coffee and energy drinks. But these things we do to jumpstart us and try to maintain our alertness throughout the day can actually have long term adverse effects on how awake we feel, and how awake we’re capable of feeling. Here I’ve assembled 11 “tricks” to feeling more awake throughout your day.
1. Turn Off Your TV, Computer, and Phone
Kind of a “duh, obviously” sentiment, but it’s still worth mentioning. According to the CDC 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep.
And the worst culprits? Checking your twitter in bed, watching TV, or working on a computer has been shown to keep you up later. To combat this, turn off your phones and TV an hour before bed. Bonus points for reading from a book, in a well-lit room, before crawling into bed.
2. Sleep On Your Back
Sleeping on your back helps you rest more easily and prevents quite a few of the aches, twinges, and pains that plague you through the day and wear you down. Sleeping on your side, even with a pillow between your thighs reduces the quality of your sleep dramatically.
3. Watch What You Eat
Leafy greens and lean meats for lunch are key to staying alert throughout the day. The darker the green the more nutrient dense it is, and the more likely it is to keep you puffing away after lunch.
Bike to work, jog in place, do jumping jacks at your desk. Or, in a less-obnoxious method, do some squats or some windmills. Do whatever you can to get your blood moving.
So simple, and yet so effective. Exercise reduces stress, and the increased blood flow helps get more oxygen to your brain and all your blood cells.
5. Ditch Your Energy Drinks
Throw them away. You don’t need to spend $3 a pop on overly-expensive soda-pops that give you the shakes.
Caffeine is a drug, and that feeling you get when you digest the energy drink, pop, or coffee it’s because you have a chemical dependency. Break free of the cycle and you’ll find yourself with more energy than you expect.
6. Drink Tea
I know I just said to break the chemical dependency cycle. I know, trust me. But tea is different. A good green tea has numerous health benefits, but also tea gives you a much different “caffeine high” than energy drinks do. Tea gives you energy and focus.
Most people don’t get all the vitamins they need out of their food. For energy help, try introducing a B-complex supplement into your morning routine.
B-12 is the vitamin that’s most commonly used for energy, but it won’t digest properly without the rest of the Bs to give it a helping hand.
8. Avoid Sugar Rushes
As fast as you go in a sugar rush, that’s how hard you’re going to crash. You may not even realize it at the time, but you’ll end up crashing, burning, and dragging yourself through the rest of your day no matter what you try.
9. Drink More Water.
It’s the solution to everything really. Headache? “Drink more water.” Sore? “Drink more water.” Tired for no apparent reason? “Definitely drink more water.” Mild dehydration is enough to make you tired.
10. Power Nap
Power nap, cat nap, whichever you like to call it: 10-20 minutes of intensive shut eye is enough to boost your energy back to normal. Bonus, it won’t mess up your night’s sleep routine.
11. Turn the Lights Up
Darkness tells your body to slow down, curl up, snuggle down and get your forty winks. That’s why overcast days are so “gloomy” and “dreary” because your body is trying to convince you to go back to bed “it’s not daytime yet!”
So throw open the curtains, light a few extra candles…or turn on a few more lights (whichever is more practical) and remind yourself that it’s daytime.