Long working hours, family commitments and all the other things that make up a busy schedule can leave many of us short on sleep. The result is tiredness during the day, which can have you relying on caffeine to stay awake.
However, caffeine can actually reduce your sleep time further and decrease your quality of sleep, making you more tired in the long run and increasing your dependence on caffeine. Instead of turning to the sharp jolt of coffee, try some of these natural ways to take the edge off sleepiness.
Simply getting up and moving around is sometimes all it takes to make you feel a little more awake. Taking just a ten-minute walk will give you a good energy boost and leave you feeling refreshed. If you can, take that walk outside. The fresh air and sunlight will help you feel even more alert.
Eat Healthy Snacks
The right snacks can really help to keep fatigue at bay. Sugary snacks will give you a quick, short-term burst of energy, but try to go for healthier alternatives which will give you a more long-lasting form of energy. Fresh fruit, nuts, yogurt, wholegrain crackers and carrot sticks are all great options when you’re looking for sustained energy.
Drink Plenty of Water
Sometimes fatigue is the result of dehydration, so make sure you’re drinking plenty of fluids. The more water you drink, the more likely you are to feel awake and keep functioning at your best.
Turn Up the Lights
Dim lighting will only make sleepiness worse. Keep the room you’re in as bright as possible if you want to feel more awake, whether that means throwing open the curtains or turning on all the artificial lights and lamps you have. Exposure to bright lights can increase your alertness a surprising amount.
Give Your Eyes a Break
Many of us now spend the majority of our days looking at a computer screen and this can cause eyestrain, which will only worsen sleepiness. To minimise this effect, make sure you give your eyes regular breaks from the monitor. Try to look away for a few minutes every 20 minutes, and take a good 15-minute break every two hours.
Take a Nap
If you’re very short on sleep, a power nap may be the only thing that can really top up your energy levels. Nap for 5-25 minutes for a quick boost that’ll keep you going for the rest of the day. Just make sure you set an alarm so you don’t accidentally overdo it! Even if you can’t nap, simply resting quietly with your eyes closed for ten minutes or so can help.
With so many natural ways to increase your energy levels and alertness, there’s no reason to depend on caffeine. Incorporating some of the above tips into your routine when you’re feeling sleepy will give you an energy boost that lasts much longer – without leaving you feeling even more exhausted later on!