Everbody gets tired at work, particularly in the early afternoon. Here are 11 ways to defeat sleepiness at the office or in class.
1. Eat less sugar and carbohydrate – Sugar and carbs cause your blood sugar to spike…then crash. Cut back on the carb-heavy breakfasts (bagels, muffins, toast, juice, fruit) and go with eggs, bacon, vegetables. For lunch, skip the pasta bowl and go for a cobb salad. For a snack, have a few nuts or some jerky.
2. Get 10 minutes of sun – Pretend you're a smoker and take a smoke break…then go get some rays. Sun exposure wakes you up. That's why people get black-out shades when they sleep — it's harder to sleep with the sun shining on your body.
3. Use a light box – Folks use light boxes for seasonal affective disorder and for re-establishing their circadian rhythms. The light is telling your body that it's daytime! Or just keep the lights on bright.
4. Take a power nap – 10 minutes goes a long way. Find a place in your office building (or outside) where you can take a little snooze. The bathroom stall works in a pinch.
5. Fast – When I am really tired, this is my go to secret. Fasting keeps me super alert, even when I'm exhausted. That's why I was fasting during my interview on Colbert (a post on that later). The body is saying, "Okay, I'm hungry — be active and go hunt or gather some food. Why are you just sitting here? Don't you want to survive and reproduce? Get your ass in gear." Warning: Fasting will be distracting if you typically eat a lot of sugar and carbohydrate or have never done it before.
6. Stand up – I've come to love standing up to work. It puts you in an active frame of mind. Imagine trying to work while lying down in a soft bed. Difficult, right? So do the opposite.
7. Keep it cold – When it's a little chilly, it's harder to fall asleep. Turn down the thermostat, open a window, or lose the sweater.
9. If you drink caffeine, try to keep it slow and steady – If you're a caffeine drinker, avoid that enormous spike of caffeine in the morning, because you'll crash a few hours later. A better strategy is to drink coffee or tea a bit slower over a longer stretch.
10. Listen to upbeat music – An old trick.
11. Get more sleep at night – Duh.
For all of these, it's useful to think about what makes you tired, AND THEN DO THE OPPOSITE. Darkness vs. Light. Soft music/silence vs. Upbeat music. Lying down vs. Standing up. Eating a big meal vs. Fasting. Inactivity vs. Exercise. Warm vs. Cold. Also think about combining methods — a 10 minute nap in the sun and you will feel like a new person. Fasting and standing up? You can stay awake for a year.
Okay, have at it. Use these tips and you'll have a lot more time to waste on facebook.