Wake Up: Four (Non-Caffeine Induced) Ways to Be More Alert
Whether you have been up all night or are simply not feeling as alert as usual, there are ways you can boost your energy levels and concentration without sleep and caffeine (although the sleep part should definitely come as soon as you can catch some ZZZ’s).
Let There Be Light
Your body works on an internal clock that follows typical levels of sleep and wakefulness. One of the visual cues that can wake up your body is light. Bright and natural light is your best option for increasing your alertness. If you have the time and the weather permits, go outside for a few minutes to wake up. Another option is purchasing a light box, which emits a bright, alertness-inducing light. If all else fails, you can also turn on all the lamps or lighting in your home or office.
Turn Down the Temperature
Warm, soothing environments can cause you to feel sleepier than usual. If you want to feel more alert, turn your thermostat down. While you do not need to make the temperatures positively Arctic, somewhere in the mid-60s should help you feel more alert. Interestingly enough, cooler temperatures are also a way to enjoy a deeper sleep. When you are ready to retire, keeping the temperatures cool, ensure you do not overheat while you sleep.
Your body uses food for energy, and it is important to reach for foods that will give you sustained energy. If you choose something too sugary, you may achieve a fast burst of energy, only to fizzle out and quickly feel sleepy again. Instead, opt for snacks like peanut butter with carrot and celery sticks, yogurt with low-sugar granola, pears with nut butter or whole-wheat crackers and reduced-fat cheese. In addition to foods that make you feel more alert, try a cold glass of water. The water can keep you from feeling dehydrated, and the cool temperature can also give you an energy burst. If you are not a fan of plain water, try mixing in one-fourth real fruit juice with three-fourths water.
Yoga poses and deep breathing can give alertness-inducing oxygen to your blood and the brain. Try the “Star” pose for yoga, which involves standing with your legs wider than shoulder-width apart. Extend your arms to your sides, making a “T” shape with your arms and palms facing forward. The effect creates a star with the top of your head serving as the star’s point. Lift your chin slightly and take several deep breaths, picturing yourself filling with energy. Energizing deep breathing involves breathing deep enough with your abdomen to see your stomach visibly move when you breathe in. As you breathe out, breathe through pursed lips to extend your expiration. Try to hold this pose for anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds.
If all these steps fell, just go to your nearest coffeehouse and enjoy a big cup of Brain Juice