I'm dubbing 2017 "the year of fatigue." Honestly, I've taken more daytime naps in 2017 than in any year prior. If you, too, are having a hard time making it through the day without napping under your desk, these hacks to help you feel less tired during the day might be just what you (and I) need. While naps can make you feel great in the moment, experts say that they're not always beneficial.
"It's a good idea to try to keep all your sleep for night-time, so if you feel mildly sleepy during the day, do your best to counteract it," Professor Colin Espie explained on Sleepio. "Exercise at lunchtime can be a good idea — a brisk walk perhaps. Getting out in the daylight is very important because natural light helps keep us alert. Then caffeinated drinks can also give us a much-needed "boost" during daytime lulls."
Sometimes we feel tired during the day because we haven't gotten enough sleep the night before. Negative events (pretty much all of 2017) can make us feel tired, too. And, not enough coffee in the morning, and a big lunch with a sugary snack, can make that afternoon crash inevitable. So, how can you stay awake? Try these life hacks to help you feel less tired during the day.
1. Go For A Walk
While your first inclination might be to put your head down on your desk, or grab a cup of your favorite caffeinated beverage, when you're overcome with a case of sleepiness, science suggests that walking is more beneficial.
According to Science Daily, "a new study published in the journal Physiology and Behavior, researchers in the UGA College of Education found that 10 minutes of walking up and down stairs at a regular pace was more likely to make participants feel energized than ingesting 50 milligrams of caffeine-about the equivalent to the amount in a can of soda."
2. Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to combat fatigue. According to Healthy Families BC, a dehydrated body functions less efficiently. And, a study published in the Daily Mail revealed that most people aren't aware of how much water they should be drinking.
"Many of my patients do not drink enough fluid each day and only believe they are dehydrated when they start to feel thirsty," Dr. Roger Henderson said in the Daily Mail. "Yet other symptoms of dehydration appear before this, including fatigue and tiredness, headaches and poor concentration."
3. Embrace Essential Oils
Now, before you dismiss this as new age-y, essential oils can help fight fatigue and lift your spirits. A blog from dōTERRA noted that "Diffusing any citrus essential oil is shown to help uplift and improve your mood, while frankincense, peppermint, and rosemary are beneficial in invigorating the senses."
Personally, I have a bottle of pure peppermint oil I bought at Whole Foods that I use when I start to feel sluggish. I dab a little at my temples, the hold the bottle about a foot from my nose and inhale. It instantly makes me feel refreshed.
4. Say Yes To Yoga
By now you're surely aware of the myriad benefits of yoga. But, did you know that it can also make you feel less tired? According to WebMD, volunteers in a British study reported improvements in clear-mindedness, energy, and confidence after six weeks of yoga.
It might also be a good idea to keep a yoga mat with you at work so you can practice some poses to relieve stress, or wake up if you're feeling sleepy. Yoga apps are also a great way to make yoga accessible to you throughout the day. Yoga Wake Up is a great option for first thing in the morning, and you can set it for a second burst of exercise in the afternoon. Plus, the first seven days are free.
5. Reach For Healthy Snacks
If you go too long without eating you can get "hangry" and tired, and that's not good for anyone. Keep some healthy snacks in your purse, like protein bars, or almonds to give you a boost of energy so you don't devolve into a toddler during your mid-afternoon meeting.
6. Stimulate Your Senses
If you're doing something long and boring, it's best to accompany your task with some upbeat music to keep you awake. "If your senses aren't stimulated, then your mind won't be stimulated and you'll be headed toward nap mode," Wiki How reported. "If you want to stay alert, you have to work to make sure that your eyes, ears, and even your nose is stimulated throughout the day."
So, while you're jamming to your favorite music, eat that snack, drink your water, and apply your essential oils. And, if you can, open the curtains to bathe the room in natural light while doing your tree pose.
7. Stand Up
Everyone knows that it's harder to sleep while standing up, so it's time to get out of that chair. If you work somewhere that allows you to have a standing desk, see if this is right for you. If you work from home, you can easily make your own standing desk for less than $30.
Working while standing not only has countless health benefits, but it's pretty much guaranteed to keep you awake.
8. Don't Skip The Coffee
If coffee (or tea) is part of your regular routine, don't skip it. "One cup of coffee, before 2 p.m., can keep one from getting more tired during the day," Luisa Brenton reported on Collective Evolution. "Tea can offer the same benefits, and provides a sustained release of caffeine rather than the instant jolt that coffee offers."
However, after 2 p.m. try to choose one of the other stay-awake options because having an afternoon cup of coffee is liable to leave you jittery. No matter how much you want to emulate Lorelai Gilmore, not everyone can handle the caffeine jitters, and it will likely you keep you up at night so you'll be tired the next day, thus starting the whole cycle over again.
9. Don't Hit The Snooze Button
We all do it, but hitting the snooze button can set you up for a day of sluggishness that you might never shake off. When you hit snooze, your body starts a new sleep cycle that gets interrupted when you get abruptly woken up nine minutes later.
"If you hit the snooze button you may go back into deep sleep and you’re not supposed to wake from deep sleep — you’re supposed to pass to the lighter preparation stage first, then open your eyes. So snoozing creates a huge shock to the body and it makes you feel awful," Dr. Dr Neil Stanley told the Daily Mail. "If you wake up feeling worse, you’ll only be tempted to hit snooze again and then you’re in for a vicious cycle."
10. Declutter Your Space
Clutter makes you tired and anxious. Personally, I can't even be in a cluttered space without freaking out. Before I begin work I always make sure my space is clean and clutter-free. A study from the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute noted that a cluttered space creates a cluttered mind and caused your body to expend stress worrying about the clutter, which in turn makes you tired.
Phew! I'm tired just writing that. If your home or office is starting to look like an episode of Hoarders, it might be time to read The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo because, we could all use less stuff.