10 Best ways to stay awake at work (without caffeine)

Do you find yourself falling asleep quite often on the job? Have your colleagues ever caught you napping or even snoring in the middle of a company meeting? If that sounds like you, then don’t worry…you’re not alone. Many people find it hard not to fall asleep at some time or another when they should be working. Fortunately for you…this article provides some of the best ways to stay awake at work. And the good news is…none of the ways I recommend involves having any caffeine.

But before going into details, let’s look at a few of the culprits which cause you to snooze off on the job more often than you’d like to.

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Here’s Why You Struggle To Stay Awake At Work

You’re probably just tired. Yes, that’s right. Tiredness at work is common whether you work part time or full time, and whether you work the day shift or the evening shift. It can harm your work performance and make your work seem less enjoyable. And in some careers, this can be downright dangerous.

You’re probably under a lot of stress. Stress can cause you to not get enough sleep or to experience low quality sleep. This will make you feel tired at work all the time.

Maybe you have a poor diet and the foods you eat are causing you to feel sluggish. maybe you’re not eating enough, and your hunger makes it difficult for you to stay awake at work.

Or maybe you just don’t like your job and you find it boring. If this is the case, then you will find it difficult to focus on the work at hand.

Whatever is causing you to find it hard to stay awake at work, a solution is in sight. Check out the following section.

List of Best Ways To Stay Awake At Work

Staying awake at work can be easy once you put some thought and effort into it. Without further ado, here are my favourite ways…..

1. Stay Hydrated

When your body is dehydrated, its ability to stay energized is hampered. By not hydrating enough, you might be causing yourself to feel sluggish and tired all the time. This can negatively impact your mood and cause you to end up, not just tired, but also cranky and unmotivated.

A simple trick to prevent tiredness is to drink more water. Try keeping a glass of water or a bottle of water on your desk at all times. Get into the habit of taking a sip every 15 minutes or so. There are even some great apps you can download like Plant Nanny and the Waterlogged App which can help you to drink more water and to do it more regularly. You should aim to drink at least a liter of water during your workday and overall 2 liters every day.

2. Make Your Work Environment Uncomfortable

Best Ways to stay awake at work - keep your office chair upright
Upright Office Chair

If your working environment is too comfortable, your body will feel too relaxed and be tricked into feeling that its sleepy time. You should therefore try to make your work area as uncomfortable as possible. Not to the point where you can’t work at all, but to the point where you’re glad when it’s the end of the workday.

A good place to start is by making your chair uncomfortable by keeping it upright, for instance.

3. Eat The Right Energy Boosting Foods

Eating right can energize you throughout the workday. But the key here is to eat the right kinds of foods because the wrong food can have the opposite effect and make you experience food slumps.

Carefully plan your breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus, and include healthier, energizing snacks throughout each day.

A more energetic day begins with a healthy, nutritious breakfast. Studies have shown that a proper breakfast can have a positive impact on your job performance, mood and even your waistline.

At lunch time, try to have more protein and healthy fats, rather than carbs. Add some vegetables and fiber too. Proteins and healthy fats will boost your energy level, while too many carbs will make you feel sluggish. Vitamin and mineral rich foods provide your body with the right nutrients to release energy at a steadier pace and prevent that after meal slump.

When snacking, focus on low Glycemic Index (GI) snacks, such as a handful of unsalted nuts, Greek yogurt with sliced almonds, or carrot sticks with hummus.

During the day, avoid sugar or starchy vegetables, such as potatoes and sweets. High-GI foods such as white bread, instant noodles, crackers and cakes should be avoided at all costs. These can lead to bloating, and make you feel tired and moody. Avoid sodas, other fizzy drinks, and energy drinks, especially the ones with artificial sweeteners.

And one last word of caution on this topic……don’t overeat! A full stomach will send you to sleep, so practice portion control.

4. Listen to Some Upbeat Music

best ways to stay awake at work - listening to upbeat music at work
listening to upbeat music at work

Combat tiredness and sluggishness by listening to some music with an upbeat tempo. Research has shown that upbeat music can release feel-good hormones in your brain which will boost your mood and alertness.

Upbeat music can have a positive impact on your productivity and ability to focus. Even though you may already be feeling tired, the ambient sounds in the background of the music can help you to stop focusing on this tiredness. Time will appear to move faster, and you will end up getting more things done without even realizing it.

5. Increase Your Exposure To Light

Your body is very responsive to light and the amount of light exposure you receive can have direct consequences on both your mood and energy level. Your body’s circadian rhythm is affected by light and will automatically transition to the sleep-mode when light around you decreases.

Therefore, to stay awake and energetic at work, you should try your best to maximize your exposure to light. If possible, try rearranging your office space and positioning your desk as close to natural light as possible. Place it right next to a window and allow natural light to shine through.

Whenever you have a break, go outside and get some sunlight. Even if it’s not a sunny day, the sunrays will shine through the clouds and boost your energy level.

6. Do Some Light Exercise Or Go For A Walk

You can instantly boost your energy levels by doing some light exercise. When you get up and start moving, your body’s circulation wakes up which helps it to perform different body functions more effectively.

Whenever you start to feel sluggish and tired during the day, just take a break and go for a brisk walk. If you have stairs, walk them up and down. The best option is always to go outside, as fresh air adds more benefit.

If you can’t go for a walk, do some simple exercises right where you are. Small bursts of exercise have been shown to be very effective in boosting energy levels and improving motivation.

7. Practice Deep Breathing

When you’re feeling extremely tired, taking a moment to breathe and sit still might be just want you need.

Although you may feel that this will cause you to nap, deep breathing can actually help you to feel more alert. While deep breathing, your body’s blood oxygen level increases. This slows your heart rate and blood pressure, thereby improving circulation. The result is a mind that’s more focused and a body that feels more energetic.

8. Have an informal chat with your colleagues

Sometimes you can get a lot of energy when you spend some time talking to other people, especially your colleagues, on non-work-related matters.

A creative and challenging topic can get your mind moving and your body alert.

9. Wash your face and brush your hair

As strange as this may seem, simply washing your face with cold water and combing or brushing your hair may actually awaken your body and prepare it for the work at hand, even after you’ve clocked many hours of work throughout the day already.

If at all possible, take a shower during your break. You’ll feel revitalized, awakened and ready to work!  

10. Replace Caffeine With Non-Caffeine Alternatives

You read that right! Stop Drinking Coffee and other caffeinated beverages!

While a small consumption of caffeine has been found to be beneficial to your health, drinking excess amounts of it can be downright dangerous. Continuous use of caffeine will also lower its effectiveness and lead to inevitable crashes after a while.

Caffeine is therefore not a great long-term solution for gaining more energy. And if you cannot survive without it, you will have to start looking at your sleeping patterns and increasing the number of hours of sleep which you get. You may think that drinking coffee has been helping you to stay awake, when in reality it’s probably causing you to feel ever more tired because of the caffeine dependency you’ve developed and the poor sleeping habits that have arisen.

So, say goodbye to your caffeine habit at work and practice one of the 9 natural methods listed before, to boost your energy level and focus.

Concluding Thoughts

So there you have it. You’ve just read 10 of the best ways to stay awake at work without using caffeine.

They’re pretty straightforward methods which anyone can follow. So, pick your ideal solution and try them the next time you find yourself snoozing off at work. By testing out different methods, you’ll find the solution that works best for you.

Until next time….



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