Natural Ways to Stay Awake
In modern society a lot of people suffer from sleep deprivation. It’s hard to say whether it is good or bad, but most of them feel constantly sleepy and exhausted not because of some health problem. Instead it is from irregular shifts, a necessity to stay in the office long hours, and an overwearing workload that are some of the factors that sooner or later make people feel sleepy, weak, and spiritless during the day.
In our online pharmacy ModafinilXL we have reliable, well-tried remedies, which will rid you of daily fatigue and drowsiness quickly and efficiently. Still, we are trying to help all our visitors, and many people ask us how to stay awake naturally. We decided to gather the most important factors in this article, and we hope it will help. If we divide all the ways to stay active, we will have such groups as:
- stimulation of your organ of senses;
- physical activity;
- certain foods and drinks;
- brain activation.
Let’s see in detail what we can do to help our body and mind to work effectively.
Of course, you have noticed how hard it is to fall asleep when neighbors listen to loud music or a bright light is right in your eyes. When you are tired and sleepy, but have to work or study, it may come to help. Our senses, when they are stimulated, do not let the brain relax. Not only noises and lights, but even aggressive odors or strong tastes like peppermint and menthol, can give it some energy. In ancient times, soldiers in ambush put sharp stones in front of their faces, so that if they fell asleep, unpleasant sensations on the skin would wake them up. We are not medieval warriors, so we will choose more civilized methods.
Give Your Eyes a Break
Do you work with a computer, or have to read stacks of literature and documents? Then you have to let your eyes relax, as a longtime concentration of the sight in one point exhausts your brain. Many users report that they simply lose track of what they read, and have to start over. Simply look at something else, close your eyes for a couple of seconds, or look around. If there is a window beside you — look out there, find two points on one line but at different distances. Focus your eyes on one point for a second, then on another, and repeat this exercise several times. This way you kill two birds with one stone — you let your eyes rest a little from the screen or printed texts, and you also train your eye lens.
Take a Shower or Splash Some Water on Your Face
Water, especially cold one, is the most popular cure against sleep when you need to stay alert. If you just wash your face with cold water, it will work. The principle is the same as with sharp stones in the face, but is a much more humane method. A shower is not always within reach, but if you have the possibility to take one — use it. Bright tactile senses stimulate our mind and keep it awake. In a case when there is no water around, you can slightly tweak your earlobes, massage your fingers, or press and rub the area between your thumbs and pointers. Other than the tactual sensations, it also increases the blood flow in the capillaries, which is also good to feel sprightly.
Get Some Daylight
The daily regimen of a human’s body is highly dependent on sunlight. According to a famous psychotherapist and sleep-wake cycle expert Dr. Richard Shane, between five to ten minutes of natural daylight every day can normalize your circadian rhythm. Of course, the more time you spend in the sun — the better for this. If you did not have enough sleep at night, the morning sun is the best to wake up and feel vivacious all day long.
Sun works on multiple levels. First of all, it stimulates your sight, waking up your mind. Secondly, even with eyes shut, people feel the daylight. It makes the brain automatically wake up and work actively, as the sun rays are the most ancient signal to begin the daily routine.
Turn Up the Lights
Yes, it is true, not everyone has a possibility to go out to face the sun. Especially those who have to work or study at night. So, what are the options then? Illuminate the room to the maximum. Another famous psychologist and sleep doctor, Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., says in his work that blue light is especially effective, and he has it in his bathroom to get enough boost of energy to perform properly during his day. You can use bright light therapy to elevate your alertness anytime, just turn on all the lights you have in a room for a half an hour.
There is a so-called “sleep hormone” called melatonin. It is responsible for deep sleep. The human’s body stops producing it when there is a bright white light around. This is why we cannot sleep with chandeliers on. Be aware, though, that the melatonin production adjusts to our schedule very quickly, and staying awake at night can lead to sleeping problems in the near future. You will have to make a great effort to bring your sleep-wake cycle to order.
Listen to the Music
Hearing is another sense which can be stimulated to stay wakeful. Certainly, loud, irritating, and irregular noises would only wear your mind. But some rhythmic music that does not disturb or divert your attention may come to the rescue. Choose something you like, and put the record on. In a car, it may be the only available way to keep your eyes open.
Loud sounds, bright light, touches, smells, and tastes are the stressors, and they all cause little noradrenaline and dopamine bursts. These neurotransmitters work in the central nervous system (CNS), and they carry signals in synapses. When the impulses go through properly, the body and mind perform their actions flawlessly.
Trick Your Body
This is not a joke, you really can trick your tired and sleepy body and convince it that this is time to work, and there is enough strength and vitality for it. All you have to do is to increase the blood flow in your body with the help of simple exercises, which you can do without leaving your working place. Clench and unclench your fists, pinch yourself, and stretch your arms and legs, toes and heels of your feet, etc. It is like starting an engine — you turn your body on and then it begins to work itself. Here are some good and well-tried ways to give your organism a little push.
Get Up and Move Around
Moving is living! Do not sit all the time, and use every chance to move. Use the stairs when you need to get from one floor to another. Patrick O’Connor, a professor from the University of Georgia, conducted research together with his graduate, and published the results in the journal Physiology and Behavior. Their study showed that people who are sleep deprived gain more energy from walking up and down stairs than from a cup of coffee.
People often miss the chance to move around without even noticing it. For instance, we bring our coffee in a vacuum flask and sandwiches to the working place, so we eat and drink at the same desk where we perform our duties. This is wrong! The best option is to take a break and have lunch at a cafe nearby. If you bring it with you from home, you can just go out from the office and eat somewhere. This way you can have some physical activity, fresh air, and sunlight.
Take a Walk
Walking in general is one of the best activities you can do to wake up. Try to choose a distant coffee machine, or a restaurant in another building a couple of blocks from you, to have a little nosh. During your working shift, try to take a short walk every two-three hours. Even a 10-minute stroll can boost your buoyancy for a long time. Of course, it is better to do this outdoors, but if this option is not available, you can simply walk around the bullpen or along a corridor.
Get Some Fresh Air
To feel revived, you can use some oxygen. The Journal of Environmental Psychology published the article in June 2010, which contained several studies on the influence of a fresh air and nature on a vital spirit. It is said there that outdoor walks have multiple positive effects. Oxygenation is necessary for energy, sunlight gives vitamin D, and the change of environment lets your brain rest a little.
There are certain breathing techniques that enhance the aeration of the whole organism. Some of them are used in yoga, e.g. short inhales and exhales, three cycles, and then regular deep breathing, all through your nose. If you change these rhythms each second, and repeat the breathing 15 times, it will be a great booster for energy and vigilance. You can easily find various respiration exercises on the net, for example deep slow inhales through the nose with your belly while the chest does not move, or squeezing air out through closed lips.
Exercise for Energy
Walking is not the only physical activity that is helpful to wake up. In the morning, to give your body a strong signal that it is time to work, you can do some jogging or jumping rope. Power exercises work good, too, but it is best not to do them right after you get out of bed. It can be needlessly stressful. It is also not recommended to do heavy exercises right before going to sleep, as they accelerate the bloodstream, agitate the brain activity, and will not let you fall into your dreams.
When you feel that fatigue and tiredness which makes you close your eyes in the middle of the working shift, you could use your lunch break to visit a workout facility. It will keep you active all day long and make you sleep at night deeply and peacefully. Even 30 minutes of everyday regular training can bring the sleeping hours back to a normal regimen. When there is no chance to pop over to the gym, you can do some jumping, push-ups, bends, and lunges right near your chair. The effectiveness of such little trainings are proven scientifically by research from the same University in Athens, Georgia, that we have mentioned before.
Food to Stay Awake
Food is our fuel, and the quality of our lives depends on what we eat. There are several rules you have to follow to keep your body and mind alert during the day:
- eat a healthy breakfast, and do not ignore this meal. It should be energizing but not too heavy. It is better not to eat too much fat, as it may drag you back to sleepiness. Eggs, yogurt, or oatmeal, on the contrary, will push you to work all day long. Greens, like cole, spinach, lettuce, and leeks are very good for the first meal of a day, as they give an efficient vitamin blast;
- do not count on sugar too much. Soda drinks, candies, cookies, and chocolates can stir you up for a short time, but soon the sugar slump will come;
- keep in mind that fast carbohydrates, which appear in white bread, potatoes, cornmeal, sugar, rice, tapioca, and energy bars and drinks, give a quick and strong boost of energy, but for a very short time, with a following energy crash. Food with slow carbs, like whole grain pasta, beans, wheat bread, nuts, and vegetables, deliver energy slowly and gradually, hence it has a longer effect. Fruits and honey are simple carbs, but work as complex ones, which is why an apple is a good snack when you feel tired;
- protein is necessary for your body and mind to work effectively and tirelessly. It activates special neurons that produce a neuropeptide hypocretin. This neuromodulator arouses CNS, awakens a whole organism, and is responsible for an appetite.
We recommend eating food regularly, without skipping meals. Remember, that it is better to eat smaller portions more often rather than eating huge amounts of food once or twice a day. Some more tricks to gain necessary wakefulness from food are below.
Ginseng was widely used in traditional Chinese medicine. Modern medical science proved its positive effects on a human’s health. The root of this herb contains gintonin and panaxosides, which are the signaling molecules that provide brighter brain functioning and better body performance. Ginseng extracts and teas can help you to feel vivacious, as well as think clearer and faster.
Increase Vitamin B12 Intake
Vitamin B12 is one of the eight vitamins from the B group. It improves the performance of the nervous system, increasing the level of myelin. All B vitamins evoke the hidden powers of our organisms, and you can simply take a dietary supplement with all of them. The natural sources of B12 of animal origin are liver, caviar, lamb, turkey, veal, seafood, and some fish.
Drink Cold Water
Avoid dehydration, as you cannot work without enough water. We are composed of 60% water. Even slight water depletion causes problems with sight, fatigue, lack of concentration, and weakness. It is good to eat fruits and vegetables, as they contain a lot of fluids, or have a cup of tea or coffee, but cold water is the best means to stimulate your life forces and gain stamina.
Keep Your Mind Awake
Our mind can get exhausted just like our muscles. When it happens, we cannot concentrate on the task, so we lose vigilance and our thoughts are sluggish and foggy. And the same as muscles, our brain can be trained, stimulated, and energized if you follow several simple and easy-to-implement tips. The general rule is to keep your mind always active, and do not let it drowse while you are completing some task. Read the text attentively, and if you still lose track — try to read out loud. Take part in discussions, and do not just sit and listen. This way your thoughts will not drop off to dreams.
Take a Nap a Little
First of all, you have to remember that if you have the chance to sleep for 15-30 minutes during the day — you should use it. A short nap and a glass of water with some fruit right after it will recover your strength and let you work or study further. An American expert in sleep disorders, Dr. Barry Krakow, says in his work that a short nap is effective, when it is taken once a day and not in the evening (no less than 6 hours before going to bed). If you feel extremely tired when driving a car, you should stop and give yourself a short rest. Set an alarm for a half an hour, and when you wake up you will have enough stamina and alertness to go further.
Start a Conversation
The easiest way to wake up your mind at the workplace is to talk with your colleagues. You can discuss some professional issues, but it is not necessary, as even a simple chat about the weather, your family, or something interesting to you will work. Conversation with another person is a good stimulant of the brain, and this way you activate your mind and make it get involved. After the end of conversation, it will keep on working effectively.
Do you feel yourself dozing off when you have to do the same things over and over, or read a long and dull text? Scientists from Finland tracked the wakefulness and vigilance of the night workers and came to the conclusion that repetitive and monotone activities turn off the brain, and they are suppressive for cognitive capacities. You can easily avoid this if you change the tasks and try to diversify the duties you perform. It is best to save the most engaging work for the periods when you feel especially sleepy, as we have already mentioned that high brain activity helps to reduce sleep.
Natural Supplements to Stay Awake
Many people do not gain enough alertness and wakefulness from food and water, they cannot or forget to do exercises, and keep nodding off at their desk. How to stay awake in this case? Is there any remedy for them? Nature offers various herbs, fruits, and animal products to keep the body and mind alive:
- caffeine, which acts as a brain stimulant and occurs in tea, lots of soda drinks, chocolate, coffee, etc.;
- herbal supplements that contain ginseng, maca root, spirulina, yerba mate, yellow dock, ginkgo biloba, hypericum perforatum (commonly known as St. John’s wort), glycyrrhiza, and many others;
- vitamin and mineral supplements with riboflavin, iron, ascorbic acid, pantothenic acid, creatine, glutamine, coenzyme Q10, chromium, taurine, etc.;
- sunflower and pumpkin seeds, coconuts, citruses, hot spicery, and so on.
Such additives to your everyday menu can become efficient support for your energy level and normal circadian rhythm.
Change Lifestyle Habits
Your habits can be a reason for daytime sleepiness. Look attentively at your everyday life, your schedule, your diet, and the way you spend your free time. Do you see anything you can change to normalize your sleep regimen?
Pay attention to such factors as:
- the time when you go to bed and wake up. Try to do it at the same hours every day;
- the number of hours you devote to the job and recreation. Try to arrange your work or study in a way so that you have enough time for rest every day;
- when you have to wake up early, it is better to put some tasks away for tomorrow, so that you can go to sleep earlier;
- go out and meet friends, drink alcohol, and visit night clubs only when there is no need to go to the office or classes on the next day;
- try to start your day actively—stand up, do some morning exercises, cook your breakfast, read the news, listen to music, and stimulate your thinking, muscles, and senses.
We have told you about the general things you can do to help your mind and body to stay alert, concentrated on everyday tasks, and vigilant and energized. We cannot guarantee, though, that they can help those who have serious sleep disorders. If nothing helps you, it is best to consult with a doctor.
Try to Use Nootropics
Medical advisers prescribe certain medications to patients with various sleep disorders, but they are popular not only for their legal indications. People use them off-label for their various effects — to boost physical strength and stamina, enhance cognitive functions, and add vigor, working, and studying capacities. These medications are called nootropics or eugeroics.
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