5 Tips To Feel More Awake and Alert
We all have those days, where we feel a little more sluggish than usual, but if you’re regularly reaching for coffee or dreaming of a mid-afternoon nap then it may be time to take a look at your daily habits to see if they are serving you well.
How is your sleep?
Do you feel refreshed when you wake up? If you don’t, chances are, you aren’t getting enough shut eye.
Along with feeling tired, lack of sleep is associated with poor immune function, impaired memory and thinking skills, along with depressed mood.
There isn’t a magic number of hours of sleep that you need, sleep as much as you need to feel refreshed and ready to function on a daily basis. Women also have a biological need for more sleep than men too.
Try to stick to consistent bed and wake times, even on weekends. If you wake up tired, try to go to bed 15 minutes earlier, then 30 minutes, then 45 minutes. Small changes are easier to achieve.
Are you eating enough protein?
If your breakfast is full of simple carbs, you’ll get your spike in blood sugar followed by a crash. This can leave you feeling low on energy into the afternoon.
Opt for a protein filled breakfast, that also contains complex carbohydrates and fats. Scrambled eggs on sourdough toast with some avocado? Or poached eggs if you’re feeling particularly skilled. Yoghurt with nuts and fruit is another easy to prep breakfast, or grab a protein-smoothie!
Monitor your caffeine and alcohol intake
Caffeine late in the day can affect sleep. This can mean you stay awake longer or have broken sleep once you finally get there.
This also occurs with alcohol. Whilst some report being able to fall asleep easier with alcohol, sleep is often broken, and we can experience frequent wake times.
Poor sleep due to caffeine or alcohol intake can then affect how alert we feel the following day, leading us into a vicious cycle. We use caffeine to perk us up, and then alcohol to chill out again at the end of the day.
Try to have a caffeine cut-off – for some this may be around 1 or 2pm and track how well you sleep after alcohol. Would your sleep improve with limited alcohol intake?
Drink more water!
Dehydration can lead to feeling sleepy and irritable. So, try to keep a bottle of water on your desk as you are working. In addition, having to refill the bottle will encourage you to move more throughout the day and give you a break from your screen!
Not a fan of water? Jazz it up with some slices of fruit!
One study showed that in adults who were sleep-deprived, walking up and down stairs for 10 minutes increased energy levels more than drinking 4oz of coffee. So, whilst it may seem counter-intuitive, exercise can actually help us feel more awake and alert.
Regular exercise helps us sleep better, reduces stress, and gives us a routine. If we are fueling our exercise, we are more likely to eat well too and all of these factors can help us balance our energy levels, helping us feel more alert.
If you have fallen out of an exercise routine, check out our range of programmes to get back on track.
If your fatigue is worsening or accompanied with other symptoms, pop to see your healthcare provider.