How to stay awake at work without caffeine

It’s 3.00pm, and you’re thinking about how warm and cosy your bed feels… but you have a job to do! Find out how to snap out of that sleepy slump.

By Katie Skelly
We all know the feeling... perhaps a little too well.
Tired eyes, excessive yawning, accidentally sending a nagging email to your boss instead of your work wife (we've all been there).
Believe it or not, but you don’t need to resign to counting down the minutes until your head can hit the pillow once more.
A few simple tips and tricks can have you feeling alert in no time, without the need to hook yourself up to a coffee IV!
Since we here at Now To Love tend to spend a fair bit of time sitting at our desks (and since we don’t want to send any rogue emails today), we caught up with IsoWhey Dietitian, Belinda Reynolds, to discover 5 simple ways to stay awake at work.
Nodding off at your desk? Keep reading!

1. Take the stairs

Opting for the stairwell over the lift may seen like a one-way ticket to exhaustion, but a new study has found the small burst of exercise to actually have the opposite effect.
That's right. The trial showed that walking up and down stairs for ten minutes after a restless sleep was actually more effective in boosting energy and motivation compared to those who simply downed a cup of coffee.
“Exercise has many benefits. It not only is useful for your muscle tone and weight management, but also increases circulation, and boosts your mood and ability to focus,” says Belinda.
As an alternative, she recommends taking a brisk walk around the block or the closest park on your lunch break. “You will feel more energised as a result.”
A quick power walk around the park will have you buzzing, ready to take on the afternoon.

2. Get your beauty sleep

While it sounds obvious, an insufficient amount of sleep will leave you feeling tired and weary the next day. Aim for 7.5 to 9 hours.
Belinda recommends getting yourself into a good routine of heading to bed at a decent time each night, and maintaining consistency with your pattern as the week progresses.
“And avoid exposing yourself to the light emitted from electronic devices in the couple of hours before bed (this will assist better quality sleep),” she says.

3. Snack on low GI, protein-rich foods

When it comes to choosing your desk snacks, try to pick a varied mix of low GI carbohydrate nibbles, as well as foods rich in vitamins and minerals.
“Foods such as apples, raw nuts, berries and protein shakes provide a source of energising nutrients to the body, but at a slow and steady pace, thus preventing energy slumps later on.”
Try this avocado and almond protein smoothie from our friends over at Food To Love!

4. Stay hydrated

Not only do air-conditioned environments make you shiver in summer and sweat in winter; they also have a not-so-nice tendency of drying out your body.
“When you are dehydrated, your circulation can be sluggish and your ability to make energy can be compromised.”
The brilliant Belinda recommends sipping on water regularly throughout the day.
PRO TIP: Instead of using a bottle, drink from a small glass! The regular power walks to the kitchen will help you to feel more active and alert.

5. Avoid a heavy lunch

Sure, that beef and bean burrito with extra cheese looks good, but will it actually make you feel good after?
“Large meals that are difficult to digest, or that deliver a large influx of sugar into the blood (which later sees blood sugar plummeting) can make you feel sleepy, and more like curling up for a nap, rather than focusing on work.”
Our expert recommends keeping your lunchtime meals light with vegetables and protein.
It's time to make friends with salad!

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