Feeling sluggish throughout the day is inevitable when we get less sleep on a nightly basis. The consequences of sleep deficit may include decreased productivity, lack of alertness, and negative moods. While recovering from sleep debt at night is vital, there are several ways you can beat an afternoon slump and stay awake naturally.
How to Beat an Afternoon Slump and Stay Awake Naturally
Swap Coffee for Green Tea
When your eyelids are heavy and your body feels drowsy, your first instinct is to drink a cup of strong coffee. This habit, instilled in every coffee geek worldwide, is one of the most common strategies for feeling more energized later in the day. But did you know that there is a better way, a coffee alternative, to break your afternoon slump?
Green tea is a stimulating drink that can help you start your day with the energy to conquer whatever comes your way. This beverage can replace coffee in your diet because of its reasonable caffeine content that does not affect your sleep cycle. Typically, an eight-ounce cup of green tea (230 ml) contains around 30 to 50 mg of caffeine, lower than coffee. Yes, it would help if you had this natural stimulant to keep your eyes open during the day, but too much of it may cause you to feel anxious and have trouble sleeping.
Besides the effects on sleep and wakefulness, green tea also offers various health benefits, including improved heart health, weight loss, lower risk of diabetes, and reduced inflammation due to its abundant antioxidants. Moreover, green tea supports your body’s natural ability to detox and eliminate toxins from your body. That said, like coffee, green tea has its daily limit. It is best to drink no more than 3 cups of tea (700 ml) per day to avoid side effects. So enjoy your green tea with prudence!
Listen to Energetic Music
Listening to upbeat music is an intuitive response by those afflicted with heavy eyelids. However, research has shown the opposite is helpful: listening to intense and powerful songs may cause more harm than good by confusing your brain activity when waking. In contrast, melodic songs give you more energy in the morning and can keep you alert the entire day. While this may sound hard to believe, songs with musically pleasing melodies increase arousal, cognition, and focus by combining rising and falling tones.
So, what is the proper way to listen to music to stay awake? You can play soothing tracks over annoying beeps for your morning alarm or listen while working. Keep the duration brief and volume soft when listening while working. Choose any song that can calm your mind as your ringtone, and do not fear oversleeping.
Avoid Monotonous Tasks
In a world where productivity reigns supreme, monotony in the workplace is something that we all experience, and it can affect our health and lead to stress and burnout. Even when you try everything to build a nightly routine for good sleep, it is difficult to avoid feeling lethargic. This is when you need to replace boredom with meaningful actions.
Tackle your identical everyday tasks by making minor tweaks to how you perform actions or change the way you perceive the purpose of the job. This shift in mindset will gradually transform a job that would once put you to sleep into something that feels more stimulating and engaging. For example, imagine you are an office worker who spends 8 hours a day in front of your desk. Why not take a break from it and shift your work to a coffee shop now and then to boost energy and smell the electrifying aroma of coffee?
Take a Quick Siesta
Suppose you have tried all the methods above and still can’t stay awake. In that case, you can resort to a quick siesta or a nap to regain energy briefly. A quick nap can help you compensate for sleep deprivation, and it simulates the effects of night sleep within a much shorter time, typically around 30 minutes. Despite spending only a fraction of an hour sleeping, you benefit from a siesta more than you think. A 30-minute nap in the mid-afternoon is sufficient to help you combat sleepiness for up to two hours.
In addition, research has shown that napping can improve cognition, and naps lasting over 30 minutes can enhance cognitive performance for several hours after the rest. However, timing is crucial, with early afternoon naps providing the most cognitive advantages. People who regularly nap may benefit more than those who rarely take naps. For this reason, aim to spend some time relaxing your eyes after lunch, and you will see the effects.
Wake yourself up with the strategies above and be productive every day. Remember that getting adequate sleep at night is the most important thing you can do to make the most of your day.
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