We all have those days where it feels impossible to stay awake. Maybe you accidentally binge-watched your favorite show until 3 a.m., or you need to wake up super early to study for a big exam. Making our bodies concentrate when running on little sleep can be difficult, but you can use these scientifically-backed tips to keep your eyes open and your mind focused.
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1. Take the stairs
Some research suggests that some mild exercise can leave you feeling energized — even more so than the caffeine in a can of soda. One great exercise to get your energy up is stair climbing. If you are feeling sluggish or tired, try walking up the stairs wherever you’re going, even if there are multiple flights. When you really don’t have time to exercise and are stuck inside all day, taking a quick trip up and down the stairs can be a great way to get moving as well.
2. Try out tea
Sometimes it takes a little extra push to wake us up, and drinking green tea can provide that. Studies show that green tea increases both working memory and task performance while providing much needed caffeine. Even better, green tea has many natural benefits with its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Substitute this drink as a healthier option when you are feeling tired, and stray away from the usual double mocha caramel latte with whipped cream. You will feel better and thank yourself later.
3. Take a deep breath
Even though this trick is simple, it can go a long way in waking you up. Often when you are really tired or stressed about something, you breathe irregularly or less deeply without even noticing it. Taking deep breaths and being conscious of your breathing can allow you to focus better and release the tension that you have been holding in your body.
4. Avoid multitasking
While it may seem like a part of your normal routine, multitasking can actually deplete your
brain’s energy reserves and leave you feeling even more tired. If you are trying to stay awake
in class or while studying, focus on one thing at once for a while, and take short breaks if you need to finish other small tasks like checking your emails or texts. Trying to do everything all at once will just be too difficult.
5. Hydrate before bed
Believe it or not, hydration plays a big role in how well we sleep and how we feel throughout the day. Not getting enough water, especially before bed, can leave us feeling groggy the next day, and it can also compromise our cognition. Drinking water whenever possible, especially with meals and while studying, will keep you refreshed and feeling great. Try using a reusable bottle so that you can fill up wherever you go.
6. Jam out
Scientists have been working on research linking music and our ability to stay awake. Luckily, they’ve discovered that upbeat songs with between 120 and 145 bpm do the trick. One of them even teamed up with Spotify to create this playlist that is scientifically proven to help keep you awake. Put in your headphones and enjoy!
We could all use a pick-me-up every now and then when we are feeling tired. Using these scientifically-proven tips will have you feeling confident about your approach to waking up, and you might even develop some healthy habits along the way!
Bruner, Raisa. “Here’s the Perfect Wake-Up Playlist, According to Spotify.” Time, 25 July 2016, time.com/4422049/these-are-the-best-songs-to-wake-up-to-in-the-morning-according-to-a-psychologist/?xid=newsletter-brief.
“Take a Deep Breath.” Harvard Health Medical School, May 2009, www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/take-a-deep-breath.
Morales, Kristen. “Skip the Caffeine, Opt for the Stairs to Feel More Energized.” UGA Today,19 Apr. 2017, news.uga.edu/stairs-more-energy-research/.
“The Connection Between Hydration and Sleep.” National Sleep Foundation, www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/the-connection-between-hydration-and-sleep.
Schmidt, André, et al. “Green Tea Extract Enhances Parieto-Frontal Connectivity During Working Memory Processing.” Pyscho-Pharmacology, vol. 231, no. 9, Oct. 2014, pp. 3879-3888.SpringerLink, doi.org/10.1007/s00213-014-3526-1.
Sridharan, Devarajan, et al. A Critical Role for the Right Fronto-Insular Cortex in Switching Between Central-Executive and Default-Mode Networks. Program in Neuroscience and Neuroscience Institute at Stanford, 20 June 2008.