How To Stay Awake Without Energy Drinks Or Coffee
Energy drinks and coffee have some powerful short-term effects for most people. They provide a quick boost of energy when you need it most. Unfortunately, they also have negative effects on your body, especially over the long term. So what’s the best way to stay awake without them?
Increase Your Oxytocin Levels
Before we give you some great ways to increase your oxytocin levels, an explanation of what oxytocin is and how it affects the body is necessary. Oxytocin is a hormone that your body releases that makes you happy and promotes mental energy.
Spending time with people or animals can increase oxytocin levels. It’s also released when we laugh or find something entertaining. So here are some specific ways to boost oxytocin levels.
Specific ways to boost your oxytocin
- Call your partner, family member, or close friend just to say “hi” and catch up for 5 to 10 minutes. If you’re trying to stay awake because you need to work on something, let them know that you’re busy working but just wanted to say “hello” quickly. Then you can tell them you need to get back to work after the chat, without feeling guilty for ending the conversation.
- Listening to your favourite music also increases oxytocin. If you have space to dance around a bit, you’ll get an additional boost of energy to keep you going.
- Watch some funny videos. If you’re working, set a timer for 15 minutes and stop watching as soon as the alarm goes off to make sure you don’t get sidetracked.
- Spend some time with your pets.
As a bonus, while these activities increase your oxytocin levels, they also decrease your cortisol levels. This is fantastic for you because cortisol is a stress hormone that can make you tired.
When it comes to exercising to stay awake, it’s more effective to do so in the mornings. This is because your body’s blood circulation and oxygen levels will be high after the session, and you can carry that energy over into your day.
When lunchtime comes, go for a walk in the sunlight and eat a light meal with water.
When you exercise your body, you exercise your brain as well. The hippocampus is the part of your brain responsible for memory and learning, and it’s highly active during physical activity.
Exercise that increases energy levels
Cardio training like running, swimming, jump rope, cycling, rowing, etc, causes faster heart rates and quicker breathing compared to resistance training. So cardio exercise is more effective at increasing your energy levels to keep you awake throughout the day.
Maintain A Healthy Sleeping Schedule
One of the most obvious and best ways to make sure you have energy during the day is by making sure you get enough sleep at night.
You need around 7 to 8 hours of sleep per day to energise you for the other 16 or 17.
Some people might take a little longer than others to fall asleep, but as long as you get around 7 hours of slumber in, you should have enough energy to get you through the day.
The quicker you fall asleep, the more energy you’ll have the next day. Use the method below if you struggle to fall asleep.
How to fall asleep quicker
- If it’s warm, put the AC or fan on because you’ll fall asleep easier in a cooler environment.
- As you lay down, focus on relaxing all the muscles in your body.
- Breathe deeply into your chest, with the same breath, breathe deeper so that your stomach expands.
- Gently exhale.
- Repeat until you fall asleep.
You can also perform this type of breathing in the mornings when you wake up to stretch out your lungs and get you ready for the day.
Important Advice: Don’t use your phone in bed, if you need to send messages or catch up on something, do it before getting into bed. The light from the screen will stimulate your brain and keep you awake for longer.
Besides the light in your eyes, it’s too easy to get carried away and deprive your body of the sleep it needs. Websites and applications are designed specifically to keep you logged on for as long as possible, so don’t use your phone in bed before sleep.
Expose Yourself To Bright Light
There’s a direct correlation between bright light and alertness, that’s why most workplaces are so well lit. Your brain releases a hormone called melatonin when it’s dark, making you sleepy. In a bright environment, the production of melatonin decreases, keeping you awake.
Adding light to your work environment will help you stay focused for longer. People who work from home often overlook adequate lighting. Subtle lighting is no good for productivity.
Stepping out into the sunlight for 10 to 15 minutes will also boost your energy levels and get you through the day.
We understand that everyone knows that they should drink plenty of water every day. So we’re just going to outline how water affects your energy levels.
Improves blood circulation
Water is vital for good blood circulation because around 55% of your blood is liquid. If you don’t drink enough water, your blood pressure will drop and cause you to be mentally and physically tired.
Speeds up metabolism
Water will help speed up your metabolism to healthy levels. With a healthy metabolism, your body will convert food into energy more efficiently. All this will help you stay alert and awake throughout the day.
Water reduces cortisol
Cortisol is a stress hormone that is triggered by dehydration so by drinking water throughout the day, you will stress less and be less tired.
Forces you to walk
Water passes through our bodies really quickly, which leads to us needing to visit the toilet more frequently. This is good for people that are working at a desk all day.
Decrease Your Sugar Intake
Sugar causes your body to produce large amounts of insulin to get the sugar from your blood to your cells. The sudden rise and fall of your blood sugar levels can leave you feeling exhausted.
If you’re decreasing your consumption of energy drinks and coffee, you’re probably eliminating most of your sugar intake as well. Sugary soft drinks are just as bad as energy drinks in terms of sugar content.
Eat Fresh Fruit And Vegetables
You don’t have to get all your water in by drinking it straight out of a glass. Eat foods with high water content like citrus fruits, lettuce, watermelon, cucumber, tomato, eggplant, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower.
The high water content is going to keep you hydrated, and you’ll benefit from the vitamin intake as well.
Citrus fruits are also rich in molecules called flavonoids. Flavonoids reduce the decline of cognitive ability and help fight diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Increase Your Iron Intake
Iron is a mineral that carries oxygen throughout the body as a part of red blood cells. Iron deficiency results in fatigue, so it’s important to eat foods with high iron content. Here are some prime examples of just that:
- Liver and other organ meats
- Red meat
Change Things Up
If you’re getting tired while working on a certain project and feel like things are getting done progressively slower as time passes, do something else. Even better, if it’s something small and trivial that won’t take much time, just a slight break from your current project might be just what you need. The change in what you’re doing should stimulate your brain enough for you to get back to the bigger task. Although you must be careful not to get sidetracked.
Quick Advice On How To Stay Awake
Take a cold shower
A cold shower will increase your heart rate and improve blood flow. It will also cause you to breathe deeper, absorbing more oxygen and expelling more CO2. Overall, a cold shower can wake you up effectively in the morning and the positive effects on your body will carry on throughout the day.
Eat smaller portions of food
If you plan on staying awake after a meal, don’t eat too much. Your body releases hormones like serotonin, which will make you drowsy. A big lunch can make you sluggish for the entire afternoon.
Breathing deeply will give your body a boost of oxygen and increase your blood flow. So whenever you feel a bit tired, breathe deeply for 1 or 2 minutes.
Keep your back straight
Good posture assists you in breathing properly. Whether you’re standing or seated, make sure that your back is straight, your head is directly above your shoulders, and your shoulders are above your hips.
Poor posture restricts your breathing as it doesn’t allow your diaphragm to open fully.
Stand instead of sit
Stand more and sit less. Standing increases your metabolism and helps keep you awake. There are even desks that are set at the right height for you to stand at.
There are many ways to stay awake without chugging down caffeine and sugar. Drinking more water is one of the most effective ways. Implementing exercise into your daily routine is another, as it increases your blood circulation and oxygen levels.
Consuming fruits and vegetables that are high in water and vitamin content will keep you hydrated and energetic. Foods with high iron content are vital in keeping you awake and alert as well.
Deep breathing techniques also help keep you awake by stretching your lungs out and boosting your body with oxygen.
Implement these activities, foods, and water into your daily routine and you’ll start feeling excited to tackle each day knowing that you’re going to perform at optimal physical and mental levels. Start small and work your way up from there. If you bookmark this article, you can come back to it from time to time and make sure you have all your bases covered.
Written by Emilie Masi, Registered Nurse.