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12 Ways To Stop Feeling Sleepy Without Coffee Or Energy Drinks
Have you ever had those days … a few days … maybe even an entire week when you just couldn’t seem to keep your eyes open? It happens to everyone now and again, and to some of us more than others.
Drowsiness most commonly comes from a lack of sleep or improper sleep, but being sleepy during the day is sometimes a sign of a true sleep disorder.
Drowsiness can also be due to stress, feelings of anxiety, and even just plain old boredom.
Sometimes, feeling sleepy during the day is a side effect of certain medications, lack of exercise, excessive alcohol consumption, hypothyroidism, and diabetes.
Whatever the cause, feeling sleepy during the day can affect your productivity, make you irritable to be around, and wreak absolute havoc in both your professional and personal life.
If you should begin to feel sleepy after starting a new medication, taken an overdose of any medication, or if you had a recent head injury, even what you consider to be a minor one, please see your physician immediately.
Otherwise, rather than reaching for your 5th cup of coffee or another one of those sugar- and chemical-filled energy drinks, we have 12 terrific ways to keep your eyelids open and your mind on task at hand.
1. Put on Some Tunes
Music has almost magical powers on our feelings and levels of alertness. When you feel like catching some Z’s, try putting on some of your favorite upbeat tunes. Avoid relaxing music or classical tunes that put you out. If you can dance to it, then it should be playing loud!
2. Commit to a Regular Sleep Pattern
Two of the major culprits behind daytime sleepiness are a lack of sleep or poor sleep quality. One of the best ways to avoid drowsiness is to commit yourself to a regular sleep schedule. This will help you to have a great deal more energy during the day, as well as fight depression, stress, and feelings of frustration. Although everyone seems to function on different amounts of sleep, most people find that seven to eight hours works well for them. Be consistent with your bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends. Keep your bedroom completely dark to encourage restful sleep. Even “night lights” have been shown to disturb deep sleep patterns for some people. Invest in good quality pillows and mattresses, and keep your bedroom on the cool side for deep, restful sleep that will super charge your body with energy.
3. Take a Walk
Sitting on your butt won’t help you stay awake. Even if you still have a great many things to do, when you feel sleepy, improve your circulation by going for a short walk. If you can’t leave the building, at least get up, go get a glass of water, take some papers to your co-worker, walk up and down the stairs a few times — anything to get your blood and body moving.
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4. Start Your Day With Some Sunlight
Do your best to expose yourself to some natural sunlight every single day. This will help to regulate your sleep-wake cycle, telling your brain that it is time to stay awake. One study, published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine in 2013, found that a deficiency of vitamin D was linked to sleep problems, including daytime sleepiness. Our bodies naturally convert sunlight into vitamin D. Whenever possible, get your face and eyes out into the sunlight for 15 minutes. Skip the sunscreen for this exercise.
5. Avoid Foods that Cause Drowsiness
There are certain foods that tend to make us sleepier than others. Avoiding them, especially in the afternoon hours, can go a long ways towards helping you stay wide awake. Things to avoid:
- Alcoholic beverages
- White rice
- Processed or smoked meat
- Cereals or foods that contain high fructose corn syrup
- Avoid coffee after your morning cup or two
6. Do the Cold Water Splash
This sounds overly simplistic, but it works remarkably well. Whenever you start to feel drowsy, simply splash some cold water on your face. The sudden temperature change will not only wake you up, but it will increase blood circulation. This should improve your overall mental focus and energy levels. If possible, allow your wet face to air dry in front of a fan or air conditioner for extra effective therapy. If you have trouble waking up in the mornings, a cold burst or two of water while you shower will certainly wake you up quickly.
7. Eat More Omega-3s
The University of Oxford conducted a 2014 study which found that higher levels of omega-3 (DHA) are linked to better sleep. Anytime you get a good night’s sleep, you can almost guarantee that you will not be feeling sleepy during the daylight hours. Omega-3s will improve you immunity, as well as keep you mentally alert all day long. A recommended list of fish to eat includes trout, salmon, tuna, and sardines. Other good sources of omega 3s are peanut butter, walnuts, eggs, soy products, and flax seeds. Of course, you can always take an omega-3 supplement.
8. Green Tea
After your morning cup or two of coffee, make the switch to green tea. Green tea is unlike other teas in that it will give you energy all day long, as well as fight stress. The polyphenols in green tea also encourage better sleep. Don’t bother wasting your time drinking that stuff out of the vending machine or the bottles they sell in most stores. Brew it up fresh yourself. Feel free to drink three or more cups each day.
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9. Try Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy can help relieve low energy levels, fatigue, irritability, headaches, and, of course, daytime sleepiness. Some of the best essential oils for this purpose are peppermint, grapefruit, basil, and rosemary. You can sniff straight from the bottle, put a few drops on a cloth and place it nearby, or put some in a room diffuser. Reed diffusers are terrific for the office!
10. Lemon Water
Drinking a glass of lemon water each morning can also help to ward off daytime drowsiness. Lemon water keeps the body hydrated, flushes out toxins, and revs up the metabolism. Being dehydrated affects the oxygen levels in the brain, which can leave you feeling more tired or sleepy during the day. First thing in the morning, squeeze the juice from one half of an organic lemon into a glass of water. Drink this on an empty stomach; first thing you wake up in the morning. You can also repeat this in the afternoon if you like.
11. Get Some Exercise
To really improve your levels of alertness in the afternoons, you need exercise. Getting just 30 minutes of exercise at least five days each week will go a long way towards improving your overall sleep quality and fighting off daytime drowsiness. Getting outdoor exercise in a natural setting will provide you with the most benefits.
12. Make Healthy Food Choices
To prevent feeling sleepy later on in the day, never skip breakfast. Eating a healthy but light breakfast will give your brain the food it needs to stay alert so that you can be more productive during the day. Skipping breakfast will result in low blood sugar, which will leave you feeling weak, sleepy, and give you a headache as well.
Choose a good breakfast that includes low fat, high protein foods. Good choices would be eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, fresh fruit, oatmeal, nuts, and smoothies. One good example would be a smoothie made with Greek yogurt, a few strawberries, a banana, a few orange slices and a bit of raw, organic honey. Avoid eating heavy lunches that include things like pasta and bread.
- Take a 20 minute power nap after lunch
- Include more herbs such as ginger and cayenne pepper to rev up your metabolism
- Try 20 minutes of meditation before bedtime for a good night’s rest
- Chewing sugar free gum during the day helps some people stay awake
- Keep your workplace bright and uncluttered
- Avoid junk foods, sugar, and foods high in saturated fats, such as typical fast food
- Take short breaks to refresh the mind
When we are tired, it is normal to want to turn to energy drinks or coffee. But these items do more harm than good. Try a few of the above tips first.