How To Not Feel Sleepy
Method 1: Making Lifestyle Changes
1. Drink more water. A classic fix-me-up for most ailments, drinking water regularly throughout your day will have you feeling peppy in no time. Often times those feelings of fatigue and lethargy are due to nothing more than basic dehydration. Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up in the morning to start up your metabolism, and continue drinking several glasses throughout the day.
2. Eat breakfast. Rolling groggily out of bed in the morning after hitting snooze for the fifth time means you’ll probably be on your way to starting your day with a meager breakfast, if any. Doing so will keep your metabolism in sloth-mode, making you slow to start most anything throughout the day. Force yourself to get up a bit earlier if necessary, and take the time to eat a complete breakfast. The nutrients will energize you throughout the day, making sacrificing your snooze button worth it.
3. Eat frequently. Similar to suffering from a bout of dehydration, exhaustion may be your body telling you that its hungry and needs energy in the form of food. Rather than complying with the socially dictated three large meals a day, try to eat 5-7 smaller meals throughout the day. This will keep your blood sugar levels from plummeting, and provide your body with more vitamins and nutrients that it needs to stay focused.
4. Exercise more often. Getting on your feet and moving around can seem even more difficult when mid-afternoon drowsiness has a solid hold on you, but adding physical activity to your routine will limit your exhaustion. Work out for at least ten minutes a day, even if all you do is take a brisk walk outdoors. Getting your blood circulating and a breath of fresh air will have you pumped and ready in no time.
5. Get some sun. There’s a reason you’re more sluggish in the winter; exposure to sunlight increases your vitamin D levels, which give you a boost of energy. If you’re lucky enough to have good weather, head outside for a brief reprieve from your lethargic work indoors. Kill two birds with one stone, and do your exercising outdoors as well!
6. Adjust your caffeine intake. You get hit with a wave of sleepiness, and your first instinct is to reach for yet another cup of coffee. But wait! Turns out, drinking more than 2-3 cups of coffee a day doesn’t increase your energy any more, and doing so after 12 or 1 in the afternoon will worsen your night of sleep later in the day. Therefore, limit your caffeine intake to three cups or less a day, so that you get the boost of energy without the nasty jittery side effects. Try to do so before lunchtime, and you’ll be thanking yourself the next day as well.
7. Regulate your sleep cycle. So last night you went to a great concert, staying up till wee hours in the morning, and then you slept in till noon. Then you had to head to bed early later the following night in preparation for a 7am meeting for work. With such a fluctuating sleep schedule, its no wonder you’re tired! Try to go to bed at the same time every night, and wake up at the same time every morning. This will help your body to have clear boundaries for when sleep should occur, and reduce your sleepy feelings during the day.
Method 2: Making Immediate Changes to Reduce Drowsiness
1. Listen to some music. Music has a huge affect on mood and mental state; in addition to the ability to change your emotional state, music can also increase your energy levels. One major study done showed that people who listen to music, regardless of the volume or tempo, were more energized than people who did not. So, grab your iPod or turn on your favorite radio station and crank up some tunes!
2. Try a breathing exercise. Our breathing patterns are altered by our emotional and mental state, even when we aren’t aware of it. If you’re stressed and tired, it is likely you are taking “chest” breaths that don’t supply enough oxygen to the brain. Try breathing in slowly, imagining that you’re filling your stomach with air like a balloon, and then breathing out slowly. Doing this for a minute or longer will help wake up your brain and de-fog your thoughts.
3. Eat Omega-3s. These oft talked about nutrients are beneficial for wakefulness, among other things. If you’re pondering your lunch or dinner menu, throw some salmon on your plate and consume all those awesome omega-3 fatty acids. If you’d rather not eat fish that often, substitute with fish oil pills on a daily basis.
4. Try water therapy. Throwing a bucket of cold water on a sleeping friend isn’t just a great prank, it actually helps to wake them up. If you can’t seem to do anything to stay away, splash your face with cold water or hop in a cold shower. The cool temperature and feeling of the water will improve circulation and have you concentrating a bit better than before.
5. Consume some fiber. Fiber, unlike many of the foods we eat, takes a very long time to digest fully. Therefore, eat some fiber-filled foods and allow them to slowly release energy into your body over the course of the day. Try out an apple with the skin, some black beans, or a bran cereal and let go of your weary ways.
6. Take a catnap. Long naps during the day can disrupt your sleep later in the night, but taking short, timed naps in the afternoon can be just what your body needs to refresh itself. A veritable reboot can be performed by taking a nap that is 20 minutes long. This is just enough time for your body to fall asleep and kick out fatigue-causing stressors that have built up in your mind.
7. Take a magnesium supplement. Your sleepiness could indeed be due to a basic lack in vitamins and minerals. If you aren’t getting enough magnesium in your diet, try taking a magnesium supplement. These are available at most health food stores and can be taken on a daily basis.
8. Deal with stressors. If you have a messy desk, ongoing argument with a friend, or an overwhelming amount of work to do, it could be stressing you out and making you more tired than you normally would be. Deal with the stressors you are aware of, whenever you are able. Managing anxiety-provoking things as they pop up will improve your overall mental health, as well as keep you focused throughout the day.
9. Change your environment. Studying or working in bed or on a comfy couch is a great way to make yourself tired. Rather than imposing fatigue on yourself by staying in a location that is much too comfortable, move to a place you are less likely to fall asleep in. Working in a coffee shop or at a hard desk will make it much more difficult to want to sleep than piles of cozy blankets and pillows will.
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