26 Substance-Free Ways to Stay Awake All Day

Have you ever found yourself nodding off in the middle of a workday or having trouble focusing? Or wondering if you might be just a little too tired to commute safely? I’m guessing your typical response when you feel like that is to down a few cups of coffee or drain an energy drink. Guzzling that stuff all day will keep you awake, but at what cost to your body? For more natural methods to empower and invigorate your body, check out these 27 substance-free ways to stay awake all day.

1. Take Breaks. No matter what you’re focusing your attention on, your brain needs frequent breaks in order to stay sharp and not become fatigued. Studies show taking breaks increases your productivity and improves your overall health. Make a schedule so you know when to take breaks. If you’re feeling drowsy and you’re working on something important, allow yourself a quick break. You’ll find it easier to stay awake and to focus on the task at hand once you get back to it. For tips about how and when to take breaks in order to have optimal brain function throughout your day, go here.

2. Alternate Activities. Boredom definitely won’t do you any favors when it comes to staying awake. You need to alternate your activities so that your mind and body stay active and engaged. When you shift things around instead of doing the same thing for 10 hours straight, your mind is more able to focus on fresh tasks. For an extra cue to your brain that it’s go time for a big project or challenging situation, try Hapbee’s Focus signal. Hapbee is the perfect mental focus headband for when you can’t concentrate or you can’t focus at work. Get it now at https://hapbee.com/ (more info to come—keep reading!)

3. Laugh. Looking for a super fun trick to perk you up? Belly laugh. Studies show this can actually increase your energy. When you start to nod off, find that coworker with the great one-liners or think back to that time your buddy crashed and burned in front of his high school crush. Or better yet, treat yourself to a few minutes of your favorite comedy.

4. Use Rosemary Oil. I know you’re thinking this is just part of the essential oil craze, but don’t write it off just yet. Studies actually show rosemary oil can stimulate brain activity and yield numerous medical benefits. Keep a stash in your drawer and put a little under your nose to wake yourself up. For an affordable option, go here.

5. Soak in Some Sunlight. This is exactly what your body naturally needs to stay awake. Sitting in a dark office can trick your body into thinking it’s time to rest. Getting outside, or at least letting some sunlight shine through your windows, freshens your mind and balances your circadian rhythms. Moreover, inhaling fresh air revives your senses and strengthens your body. For more all-natural ways to stay awake, check this out.

6. Stay Cool. You’re probably familiar with the drowsiness that comes when you’re in a warm environment. Keeping a low (but not too low) temperature increases productivity and helps your brain focus. According to research, somewhere between 72 to 77 degrees is the best temperature. For more information about the ideal room temp to boost productivity, read this.

7. Engage with Others. It’s pretty rare to fall asleep in the middle of a conversation. Talking to others stimulates your brain and builds connection in a powerful way. If you know you’ll be alone for most of the day, consider penciling in a phone call or even a quick grocery store stop where you can engage with someone and get your wheels turning. For more ideas to battle sleep at work, click here.

8. Listen to Music. Jamming out to your favorite tunes keeps your brain energized. Of course, you’ll want to choose music that’s on the lively side, not slow and hypnotic. To indulge in high-quality sound that’ll get your brain moving, check out Sonos.

9. Stay Active. There’s no better way to give yourself an energy boost than to get your body moving. Exercise has tons of benefits that all point to increased vitality, such as endorphins, cardiovascular endurance, higher oxygen levels, and sharper focus. To figure out exactly which workouts are the most energizing for you, go here.

10. Stretch. When you feel tired, one of your natural reactions is to stretch your arms up over your head, right? That’s because stretching actually gets your blood flowing and engages your muscles. Adopt these three wake-up stretches and use them for a quick exercise kick whenever you start to become drowsy.

11. Eat Healthy Snacks. It’s no surprise snacking on potato chips just makes you feel even more sleepy. Your body needs to be fueled properly so it can fight sluggishness. Energizing foods include nuts, granola, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, vegetables, hummus, and fresh fruit. For a lengthy list of superfuel foods, check out this article.

12. Hydrate. Water is essential to staying focused throughout the day. In fact, if you become dehydrated, you’re more likely to feel fatigued. Plus, water helps with weight loss, digestive health, skin care, and so much more. To see exactly how much water you should drink per day and how a lack affects your body, read this.

13. Get Mad. Your partner won’t thank you for this one, but it will certainly help you stay vigilant. Dr. Jedidiah Ballard suggests dwelling on something that makes you angry and even yelling about it if possible. Spend some time venting about your neighbors or your old boss or whatever gets you going. You won’t have any problem with drowsiness for a while. For more outrageous ideas from Dr. Ballard, go here.

14. Splash Your Face. Head over to the sink and douse yourself with cold water. It’s a surefire way to shock your system and wake yourself up! If you want to put a fun twist on this, ask a family member to spritz you with cold water whenever your eyes start to get a little bit heavy. To discover more about the health benefits of cold showers, go here.

15. Cut Down on Sugar. You might be tempted to eat sugary foods because they hit you with a little burst of energy. Unfortunately, they’ll give you a quick spike and then a crash. You’ll end up feeling even more sleepy than you did before. For a list of other foods that will zap your energy, read this.

16. Massage Strategically. If you’ve ever had a massage, you probably remember feeling relaxed and almost asleep by the end of it. Surprisingly, there are certain parts of your body you can massage to give yourself energy. These pressure points include behind your knees, right below the balls of your feet, the back of your neck, and between your thumb and index finger. For more details about how massage can boost your energy, click here.

17. Strategize Your Time. It’s essential to plan your day so you can accomplish the most important tasks when you have the most energy. If you have a big project for work or an important sales call to make, schedule it in the late morning or early evening. Save the other stuff like sorting emails, getting your hair done, etc. for the early afternoon and evening. To find out your sleep spirit animal and exactly when YOU’RE most (and least) productive throughout the day, take The Sleep Doctor’s quiz.

18. Watch Videos of Cute Animals. This one definitely seems too good to be true. You’re going to have to test it out for yourself. Studies have shown that watching videos of cute animals can boost energy levels and lower negative feelings. Pull up a video of a baby koala or a pygmy hippo and brighten up your day—giving yourself a little energy nudge in the process!

 19. Yoga Nidra. This awesome yoga hack will rejuvenate you and make you feel like you slept soundly all night—even if you didn’t. Start by lying face up on the floor in yoga corpse pose. Then, go through the four stages of brain activity using a guided meditation or yoga nidra instructor. When you reach the delta stage, which is the state of restoration and regeneration, your body will compensate for the quality sleep you might have missed the night before. Take a moment to do this when you feel tired and quickly replace the energy you’ve been lacking. Find out more about yoga nidra here.

20. Get a UVB Light. Sunlight exposure is precisely what your body needs in order to feel energized, but what if it’s snowy January in the Midwest or dreary November in the Pacific Northwest? Using a UVB light has numerous benefits such as prompting dopamine production, decreasing inflammation, supplying Vitamin D, promoting skin health, and more. You’ll be much more energized all winter long if you commit to using a UVB light regularly. For more information about which UVB lamp to invest in and other light hacks, read this.

21. Snack on Bulletproof Collagen Protein Bars. Calculating which foods to eat at which time is exhausting. If you’re looking for a healthy on-the-go snack that energizes you and strengthens your body at the same time, check out Bulletproof Protein Collagen Bars. They satisfy your hunger while keeping you completely focused and fully awake. Order some here.

22. Get a Fatigue Alarm. If you’re really concerned about staying awake in tough situations like driving or working all night, use this gadget that was designed for long car rides. It’s an ear piece that sounds an alarm when your head starts to fall forward from drowsiness. Order the LGI Driver Fatigue Alarm here.

23. Build a Routine. Your body needs to know exactly what you expect from it. Don’t wake up at random times and work on things haphazardly throughout the day. Set a time to wake up and stick to it. When your body understands when it’s time to rest and when it’s time to be productive, you’ll find the balance you need to stay awake all day. To create a healthy routine that will keep you up during the day and asleep at night, click here.

24. Breathe Deeply. This is one of the quickest and most accessible ways to shake off that sleepiness. Simply take some deep breaths. You’ll get the oxygen moving throughout your body and give yourself an energy boost, all while chasing off stress and anxiety. For an unexpected twist, try this wakefulness breathing exercise.

25. Wear Optalert Glasses. These fancy and stylish glasses monitor drowsiness by tracking your eyelid movements and sound an alarm when you get sleepy. Originally designed for the mining industry, they are sure to keep you alert all day. Check them out here.

26. Download the Wakey Wakey App. This one is for extreme situations only. Wakey Wakey prompts you to periodically press a button. If you don’t press it, an annoying sound of your choice will play and wake you up. Get it here.