10 Ways to Stay Awake at Work Without Caffeine

Businesswoman sleeping at desk after trying to stay awake at work without caffeine

Mondays are the worst. But in reality, we all have a propensity to be tired at work. During the worst possible moments, like an important meeting or presentation, we just long for a quick little snooze to re-energize and make it through the rest of the day. Sometimes it’s just hard to stay awake at work without caffeine.

At best, feeling this tired is annoying, and impedes your productivity. At worst, it can get you in serious trouble with your supervisors and employers. But what do you do?

Fortunately, the answer may be simpler than you think. Consider embracing any or all of the below tips to be more awake at work, more productive, and happier even as you long to the weekend and your bed.

1. Get Some Fresh Air

Outside of simply falling asleep, fresh air might just be the single biggest cure for being tired at work. If you have the chance, open a window to let some air in. If you don't, simply take a quick walk outside to enjoy the fresh air. You'll be surprised at the effects.

Fresh air works especially well when it's cool outside. But sun itself can also be of help; in fact, the Vitamin D you soak in will be vital to get you the energy you need.

2. Start Moving a Bit

If you don't have easy access to fresh air or cannot leave your desk to go outside, get some circulation going. Walk up and down the hall if need be, or take a quick trip to run an errand you've been needing to run anyways.

Alternatively, look for some simple exercises to do while sitting at your desk. Either way, get your muscles moving at least a little bit to pump the blood through your veins and stay awake.

3. Step Away from the Computer

Staring at a screen for a long time doesn't just strain your eyes, but also reduces your energy levels. Even when it's not time to do some small exercises, try to vary your tasks and activities a bit.

Rather than staring at your computer screen for hours, clean your desk every now and then. Read over some printed documents, or re-adjust the way your office is decorated. Simply focusing on something other than your computer might just do the trick.

4. Stimulate Your Brain

Repetitive, mindless activities are poison for a sleepy mind. Or should we say they're sleeping pills? Either way, every now and then, you might just have to stimulate your brain waves for a little bit.

Like your body, your brain needs exercise to stay awake. Solve a crossword puzzle, or play battleship with your co-workers. Break outside of your regular workday thinking habits, even if it's just for a couple of minutes every hour.

5. Get Your Adrenaline Going

Nothing wakes you up better than some adrenaline pumping through your veins. But unless you work in an amusement park, it can be difficult to accomplish. What do you do if your office doesn't have a roller coaster easily available?

You find other ways to get the adrenaline moving. Watch a trailer for your favorite horror or action movie series, or read a mystery short story. Even splashing some cold water in your face may be enough to wake you up.

6. Engage With Others

You'd be surprised just how powerful facetime can be when it comes to waking up. And we're not talking about Apple's video call app in this case. When you feel yourself getting tired, try to talk to someone you enjoy having a conversation with.

This type of face-to-face contact does several things. First, it helps you concentrate on a conversation, which wakes you up more than sitting by yourself. Spending time with those you like also increases your endorphin and oxytocin levels, both of which boosts your energy. You just have to make sure that you actually enjoy and are actively involved in the conversation.

7. Drink Some Water

Even if you are just a little bit dehydrated, your energy and activity levels begin to decrease. You start to suffer from fatigue, which only gets worse if you are lacking sleep, to begin with. The simple solution: drink some water.

Always make sure you drink enough, especially when you're tired. If need be, bring a cold water bottle to the meeting you know will be boring. As an added bonus, you might need to visit the bathroom more often, which also increases your activity level.

8. Adjust Your Posture

When we're tired, we start to slouch. But slouching only makes us more tired. Instead, make a conscious effort to sit up straight, and pay attention to every detail around you. Adjusting your posture is a minimalist step that still can have major effects.

In fact, one study found that sitting up straight makes you feel more energetic and excited about the work you're doing. You might also want to think about adjusting your chair, crossing your leg, and changing your posture in other ways that force you to pay attention.

9. Listen to Music

Of course, we don't mean classical music here. Vivaldi is beautiful, but also great to fall asleep to. Instead, pick an album, channel, or station that invigorates you and gets you excited.

Some suggest jazz because the disjointed style will force you to keep paying attention and keeps your mind off-balance. But you might prefer rock, hip-hop, or even metal. Anything that causes you to feel excited should be a good fit, depending on your taste.

10. Adjust Your Sleep Patterns

Finally, let's not forget about the actual, underlying reason for your sleepiness: a lack of sleep. All of the above are great tips if you find yourself at work barely being able to stay awake. But what if you could instead make sure that situation never even occurred?

Sleep Better at Home So You Don't Snooze at Work

Improving your sleep takes care of that problem. Establish a regular routine, reduce screen time right before bed, and wake up at the same time after about 8 hours of sleep every day. And of course, it might also make sense to take a close look at your mattress and pillow. Contact us for more information about our options, which can help you stay awake at work without caffeine and maximize your productivity.

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