A large meal before bed, too much on your mind, or a crying baby that keeps you awake all night: sometimes it is simply impossible to get enough sleep. In the morning we feel wiped out and the thought of a day full of work, meetings, and errands makes us break into a cold sweat. Here are a few tricks to boost your energy when you’re lacking sleep and help get you through the day without the classic uppers like coffee and other caffeinated drinks.
1. Keep your body hydrated
If you feel totally exhausted in the morning, it’s time to hydrate! When our body is dehydrated, we feel even more tired. Always drink a large glass of lukewarm water with a squeeze of lemon juice in the morning. You’ll see how it really boosts your energy.
2. Take a cold shower and use peppermint essential oil
The next step to start the day right: take a cold shower. Contrast showers (alternating between hot and cold water) stimulates your circulation. During the day you can splash some cold water on your face or put a cool wet cloth on your neck.
After your shower (or throughout the day) rub some peppermint essential oil on your palms, make your hands into a little “tent” and take a few deep breaths. You can massage the rest of the peppermint oil into your neck or wrists – a guaranteed energy boost!
3. Movement and light help wake you up
Even if you feel totally exhausted after a short night’s sleep, it is important that you move enough: ride your bike to work, get off the bus or subway one stop earlier and walk the rest, or park your car farther away from your workplace – it will help wake you up. You will also be exposed to enough daylight or even sun in the fresh air: light helps block the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Also make sure that your workspace is well lit, like with a good desk lamp, or go outside during your lunch break.
4. Eat the right foods
Naturally, it’s tempting to drink tons of coffee when you haven’t had enough sleep…but be careful not to have too much. After all, caffeine makes you restless and edgy.
On your “tired days” grab a refreshing piece of fruit, water with lemon juice, or foods rich in protein (nuts like almonds or cashews, yogurt, chicken, fish, etc.). Stay away from large meals that force your body to use a lot of energy for digestion. Fast food like burgers and fries or meals high in carbs should be a no-no for you on days like this.
Did you know…
…that chewing gum helps relieve sleepiness? This was the conclusion of a US study on the effect of chewing gum on alertness.
5. Try power napping
Perhaps you could take a power nap during your lunch break. A mini nap in between helps to recharge your battery. Make sure you don’t rest longer than 20 minutes though – otherwise you will be even more tired than before.
6. Add variety to your day
When you haven’t had enough sleep, you may be less active and not very productive the next day. So if you can, do things that are easy to manage and don’t require too much thought.