It seems impossible, sacrilegious, even undesirable, but the folks over at the American Chemistry Society have figured out how to stay awake without caffeine — and they're schooling us in exactly how it's done in their latest video for the webseries Reactions. Generally, advice that undermines my morning, early afternoon, and late afternoon cups of coffee upsets me; however, the ACS might be onto something with the whole "eliminate caffeine thing." Avoid caffeine withdrawals and headaches throughout the day is always a plus, right?
People have been substituting alternatives to coffee for years in order to break the vicious caffeine cycle perpetuated by a daily cup of joe habit. Contenders for replacements have included black tea, power naps, and chocolate, which initially all sound like good ideas; it's only later that you realize that black tea still has caffeine in it; that power naps are next to impossible in the middle of a work day (although apparently napping at work can be done); that and sugar-packed foods might temporarily release endorphins and decrease serotonin, but will also make you crash later. The ACS, however, argues that there are ways to keep your energy up and stay awake without doing anything particularly bad for you at all.
Let's take a look at their tips to motivate you to energize yourself without caffeine:
1. Watch Cute Cat Videos
Yep, you read that correctly. One of ACS' tips for staying awake without caffeine is something many of us do anyway: Watching viral videos of cute animals doing cute stuff. Why does this work? Watching cute cat videos (or cute baby videos ,if you're me) causes you to feel pleasure, which improves your mood and temporarily makes you pay attention to details — all of which can be helpful at work. Plus, the videos will decrease your cortisol levels and help you stay un-stressed.
Dehydration can cause fatigue, confusion, and heart palpitations, all of which may hinder your workday (not to mention your life). According to the ACS, water is an important component of the plasma in our blood and blood flow allows oxygen to be delivered to our brain and nutrients and protein to be delivered to our body. Drink water, everyone.
3. Just Do You
Listening to music, dancing it out, and taking a breather in the middle of your work day can release endorphins and help you function better.
4. Add Some Light
Studies show that adding bright light to your day can increase alertness and help you stay awake, which further makes the case for having class or work outside in the sun, right?
Check out the whole video below, and if you feel like you need to, start cutting the caffeine and going for the mid-day dance moves instead: