Sleeping is bliss, but we’ve all had those days when you’re preparing for an exam or a meeting or a presentation for the next day and you just have no choice but to pull an all-nighter. A cup of coffee seems tempting, doesn’t it? It’s not just on days like these when that beautiful cup attempts to woo you. You need a hot cup to begin your day, you need it while you’re working and you need it when you come back home. But let’s not be in denial and accept the fact that excessive consumption of coffee has multiple side effects.
The short term effects might seem fulfilling but the long term effects can be disastrous for your health and have the tendency to escape your eye initially. These symptoms include decrease in the quality of sleep, dizziness, diarrhea, increased thirst, insomnia, headache, fever and irritability. Other symptoms (trouble breathing, vomiting, chest pain, irregular heartbeat) are rather severe and call for immediate medical help. But if not coffee, then what? How do you manage to keep yourself awake through that all-nighter or keep going through a hectic day? You may have lot of tricks handy but we’ll still list them out for you here. Let’s begin.
1. What’s the best energy drink? – WATER
Water regulates smooth functioning. Photo Cedits: IStock
60% of the human body is water. A study conducted by Tufts University Researchers in 2009 suggests that even a loss of 1-2% of the water in the body is associated with fatigue and confusion. It’s important to keep yourself hydrated since water regulates smooth functioning. Dehydration can lead to feelings of sleepiness and sluggishness.
2. Avoid sugary foods
Sugar works in a similar way as caffeine does. It leads to highs or lows in energy level. Consumption of sugar, like caffeine, leads to an increased level of energy for a short duration of time. It gives you a ‘sugar buzz’. But it fails to offer sustained energy which thereby leads to an energy crash leaving you fatigues and exhausted.
3. Focus on protein and healthy fat consumption, have a nutritious snack
Proteins release energy slowly. Photo Credits: IStock
Unlike sugar, protein and healthy fats provide sustained energy which are released in the body slowly. These foods will help you stay full and stay focused since they increase your energy levels. Some of the best suggestions include eggs, avocado toast, peanut butter, curd, carrots and hummus.
4. Chewing Gum helps
It may reduce daytime sleepiness. Photo Credits: IStock.
Various studies have been done which suggest that when you keep your mouth working, it helps increasing your alertness. It reduces daytime sleepiness and also helps in increasing circulation and activating certain regions of the brain. When you chew gum, your body prepares itself for what’s coming thereby releasing insulin which in turn helps in keeping your mind alert.
5. Look away from that screen for a little while, maybe?
In today’s world, maximum number of jobs will require that you sit in front of a computer or a laptop for long hours and work. While the light from the screen can help you stay awake for some time, it causes more fatigue, both mental and visual. So look away from the screen and try this exercise to stop your mind from sleeping – Look at a faraway object and then at a nearer one, repeat. Do this very quickly.
6. Take a walk
Go out for a walk and get rid of that lethargic mood. Photo Credit: Istock
Let’s get up from that monotonous desk for a little while and go out for a walk. When you get moving, your body releases endorphins which are neurotransmitters that help in relieving stress and fatigue and increasing feelings of happiness and euphoria. It is even better if you walk out in the sunlight because bright light activates the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that controls circadian rhythms. These help in regulating your sleep and wakefulness and create a body-clock according to which you function. So go out for a walk and get rid of that lethargic mood.
7. Keep the temperature low
In a warm and stuffy room, you will generally end up feeling very tired and feel the need to take a nap. A colder environment will help you concentrate more. If it’s cold outside, keep the windows open and if it’s warm, switch on the fan or air conditioner.
8. Let’s get grooving
Love dancing and singing? Show the world your moves because this is the best way to stay happy and alive. We need to provide some pleasure to our brains too. The human brain contains a chemical for pleasure and reward called Dopamine. Listening to your favorite track can lead your brain cells to work more by activating some feel-good chemicals such as oxytocin and serotonin. Singing and dancing will coordinate your body and mind. So start grooving right now. Worried that people might consider you crazy? Even better, take them along.
9. Laughter is the best medicine
Laughing out loud keeps you agile. Photo Credits: IStock
Old saying, gold saying. laughing out loud will definitely help you to be more agile and active. Make a conversation with someone, preferably someone funny, watch a video, and laugh it out. It will keep you interested and will offer a much needed break from your mundane work.
Aroma therapists believe that scents of specific essential oils can help you stay awake and alert. They recommend essential oils like peppermint for energy, eucalyptus for oxygen increment, cedarwood to activate you mind and a few others like rosemary and cinnamon. You can also use lotions that have similar scents. Other natural stimulants include lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits. Their scents keep you fresher and relaxed.
11. Don’t you feel stiff sitting in that chair since morning?
Sitting all day long can make you feel stiff and that stiffness will eventually make you feel very tired. Get up and stretch your arms and legs a little. Stretching will not only make you feel rejuvenated but also make you a little calmer. A little exercise and stretching will improve your blood circulation and also produces adrenaline which raises the core body temperature.
Massaging acupressure points can increase alertness. Photo Credits: IStock
Some studies have shown that massaging acupressure points can lead to an increase in levels of alertness. These points include – top of your head, back of your neck, back of your hand (between the thumb and index finger), below the knee and the earlobes.
13. Try switching tasks
Working on the same task for a longer duration of time can become very monotonous and monotonous work will of course put you to sleep. Therefore, it is better to switch tasks in between to keep yourself interested in that boring chapter or presentation that you’ve been working on for quite some time now.
14. Take a small nap if you can
A short nap may help revive you.Photo Credit: IStock
You can take a short nap for 5 to 25 minutes, if it works for you. A short nap can instantly boost up your energy levels and make you feel energized. We’ve all done it. But at times, situations are such that it becomes impossible for you to take a nap. So, if you can’t nap, rest quietly with your eyes closed for 10 minutes or so.
These are a few things which can help you stay awake and keep you away from excessive caffeine consumption. Of course if taken in moderation, coffee isn’t harmful but don’t let yourself become dependent on it. It’s a trap. Excess of everything is bad, isn’t it?