Whether you're studying for an exam, powering through a late-afternoon meeting, taking care of a sick child all night, or working the night shift, staying awake can feel like a feat of gargantuan proportions from time to time. You may know when you need a simple, quick caffeine boost to make it through the day, but sometimes coffee's just not going to cut it (or you'd have to drink approximately one million cups to stay afloat.) That's why it's important to find other little hacks to help you stay awake.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 33 percent of American adults don't get enough sleep most nights, which probably isn't all that surprising to hear if you find yourself sleepy during the day or the natural answer to "how are you?" is "busy" or "tired." The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend adults get a good seven hours of sleep each and every night. Not getting enough? Try these 13 ways to help you stay awake whenever you need a quick pick-me-up, and you'll feel re-energized and newly determined to check off absolutely everything on your list. . . without a nap and everything.
1. Drink Up
Feeling a little sleepy? Skip the soda and grab a glass of water. A study conducted by researchers at Tufts University found that even mild dehydration can cause fatigue.
2. Cool It Down, But Not Too Much
According to the National Sleep Foundation, people sleep best when the room temperature is a cool 65 degrees. Obviously, you're trying to stay awake so you don't want it that cool, but make sure it's not too warm either. Warmth can make you drowsy, too, because your body is trying to regulate its temperature, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
3. Get Moving
If you feel tired often in the middle of the day, consider swapping out (or dividing up) your lunch break for a quick workout. According to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, exercise can make people more productive.
4. Grab A Snack
Feel your energy start to dip mid-morning or mid-afternoon? Keep healthy snacks on-hand for quick energy boosters. Registered dietitian Kerri-Ann Jennings told Eating Well that snacks that contain protein, such as edamame and chickpeas, can help perk you up.
5. Turn It Up
Turning up the tunes can help perk you up. According Greatist, music can help beat stress and eliminate anxiety, allowing you to feel more energized.
6. Take A Break
It's only natural for people to feel run down when they work constantly. And though it may seem counterintuitive when you're so busy you hardly have time to eat or think, taking a break can actually be a very good thing. Taking a break can lead to improved productivity, according to Dr. Colleen E Carney of Psychology Today. Find a friend or colleague and take a short mid-day stroll.
7. Don't Forget To Breathe
Another reason to hit your lunchtime yoga class? The type of breathing practiced in yoga, pranayama, can help relax you and slow you down, sure, but as Judi Bar, a certified yoga teacher told NPR, breath can also energize you and make extra sure you're ready to face the rest of your day.
8. Light It Up
Especially in the winter, when days are shorter and nights longer, gloomy days can make you feel tired and unproductive. Dr. Henry Emmons told Psychology Today that he tells some of his patients to buy a light box for use in the mornings and evenings to get some light and trick your body into thinking days are longer than they are.
9. Step Away From The Sugar
Though sugar can provide a quick, very short-term boost of energy, a study conducted by the Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough University found that sugary drinks can make sleepiness worse, not better.
10. Chew Gum
Reach for some gum the next time your energy starts to take a dive. A study published in Nutritional Neuroscience found that chewing gum can significantly increase your alertness — just what you need to power through the rest of your task.
11. Switch To Something Else
Sometimes, when you've spent a while working on something and you feel yourself start to lose focus, the best thing you can do is switch to something else. Researchers at Drexel University found that switching from one intensive task to another can help your brain refocus.
12. Stand Up
Sitting can make people tired. One way to combat that? A standing desk. Standing can help eliminate drowsiness and help you focus, according to the Washington Post.
13. Sing A Song
If you're really feeling tired, sing along to your music. A study published in the Journal of Music Therapy found that singing or tapping along to music boosts levels of alertness. Turn that music up and lead an office-wide sing-a-long.