Whenever I need a quick way to stay awake during the day, chugging a caffeinated drink usually seems like the easiest thing to do.
But is it really the best way to stay awake?
I’ll tell you this – I usually try to avoid drinking caffeinated coffee after about 3 PM because I don’t want to stay up all night.
That means I need to find ways to stay awake in the afternoon and evening without pumping my body full of caffeine, which can ruin your sleep routine.
They say that caffeine can cause many problems — which is why we’re hearing more and more about the benefits of reducing or eliminating caffeine from our diets altogether.
According to doctors from the Mayo Clinic:
Caffeine is used by millions of people every day to increase wakefulness, alleviate fatigue, and improve concentration and focus. Up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day appears to be safe for most healthy adults. That’s roughly the amount of caffeine in 4 cups of brewed coffee, 10 cans of cola or 2 ‘energy shot’ drinks. Even among adults, heavy caffeine use can cause unpleasant side effects. And caffeine may not be a good choice for people who are highly sensitive to its effects or who take certain medications.
Wow, so you see that? It looks like we’d all be better off cutting back on the caffeine. That’s why I’m trying so hard to curb my caffeine intake.
So, how do you stay awake without guzzling cups of coffee all morning, noon, and night?
Following are some things that work for me. Hopefully they’ll help keep you alert, too — without sending your nerves into caffeine-induced jitters.
#1 – Go For A Walk
Getting an early morning exercise is one way I really love to get my day going. In fact, if I get my full exercise routine in, I’m usually assured of having a pretty good day — at least physiologically.
I feel best after an outdoor exercise. There’s something about getting some fresh air in the lungs before a long day indoors as a writer that just helps get my day off on the right foot.
For me, walking does the trick. It’s a high-benefit, low-impact way to exercise and improve my health.
MUST READ: 5 Outdoor Activities You Can Do Anywhere
#2 – Tackle Small Projects
The last thing you may feel like doing when you’re working mojo is a no-go is chores. But, guess what – if you’re like me, you probably feel a whole lot better when you can check something off your to-do list.
As a freelance writer, my work day consists of a ton of to-do things: edit this, write that, answer a question here, proofread that. You get the point.
I’m sure you have similar things you have to do each day, too.
Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent, business executive, or retiree, there’s probably at least a dozen things you’ve got to do today in the house, out in the yard, at the office, or wherever.
I guarantee if you can check something off that to-do list of yours — even something small like washing the dishes, paying a bill, dusting off your cubicle desk, or renovating your kitchen (just kidding) — your sense of accomplishment will turn into a second wind.
#3 – Drink Water
Drinking water is, admittedly, not my strong suit. Though I’ve gone over and above — at least for my standards — to try and get my daily 8 glasses of water in.
Staying hydrated is not only a physically necessary thing to do to help your body function properly, but it can also help you feel better, too.
I’ve come to realize that I feel most sluggish when I’m dehydrated, and drinking water helps reverse that problem.
I’m not saying you’ll feel as resilient as Superman or Wonder Woman if you drink 8 glasses of water each day (remember, each glass must be 8 ounces to really count as a “cup”). However, you will feel a lot better, and your body will thank you.
MUST READ: 5 Ways To Drink More Water & Stay Hydrated
#4 – Talk It Out
This isn’t for everybody, but a lot of people (myself included) are extroverts and really enjoy talking to people.
In fact, I get an emotional high talking to people, and almost always feel better after talking to family, friends, or even just pleasant strangers.
You could call people close to you. Or maybe visit them for lunch. I’ve done both.
I’ve also driven to local delis, grocery stores, and other nearby establishments to stretch my legs, walk around, and engage in small talk with sales staff and other patrons.
#5 – Laugh About It
They say laughter is the best medicine. For me, it’s also one of the best stimulants.
I feel like my senses come alive when I’m in a good mood, and some genuine belly laughs are one way that I perk up.
Whatever tickles your funny bone, put it on and laugh your way back to alertness for the day.
#6 – Stretch It Out
You know what helps me get my day going? Stretching.
I’m not talking yoga master stretching…
I’m not even talking Sally O’ Malley-style stretching — and kicking.
(Did that make you laugh? See #5 above…)
I’m just talking about some light stretching to help ease pressure throughout your body.
MUST READ: Try These Fantastic Yoga Stretches
#7 – Take Power Naps
I like taking little power naps throughout the day when I’m feeling especially tired.
Of course, unlike falling asleep at night for 7 or 8 hours of rest, the idea of a power nap is to reenergize the body without entering deep sleep.
The experts say a power nap should be between 15 and 30 minutes long. Never more than 30 minutes though.
If you hit the sack for much more than half an hour, you’ll possibly enter REM – I’m talking about the rapid eye movement stage of sleep, not the popular rock band.
Now I’m thinking about the band R.E.M. and really want to play one of their hits to give me a jolt of energy. Want to join me?… Have a listen to It’s The End Of The World by R.E.M.
#8 – Go Ride A Roller Coaster
Are you faint of heart? You may not be much interested in this idea then.
But, and I’m serious, I really do ride roller coasters to stimulate my senses and help me stay awake.
Of course, it helps that I live within 5 miles of a major theme park and have a seasonal pass.
But if you, too, are fortunate enough to have access to roller coasters and actually get a kick out of being hurtled up, down, and all around, then riding roller coasters might do the trick in helping you feel better, too.
Or, maybe just watching this video may help knock you out of a lull…
MUST READ: Little Known Facts About Roller Coasters
More Ways To Stay Awake Without Caffeine
- Stay Awake Naturally
- How To Stay Awake At Work Without Drinking Coffee
- 5 Healthy (And Legal) Ways To Stay Awake Longer
- Foods For Energy: How To Eat To Stay Awake And Alert
- 7 Healthier Alternatives To Drinking Coffee