For many people a morning cup of tea or coffee is a familiar ritual, essential to get up and start the day with energy. Caffeine is known for its stimulating effects, but overuse can be unpleasant. If you drink more than four cups of coffee daily, you may experience side effects such as migraines, restlessness, a rapid heartbeat and irritability. Some people are also more susceptible to caffeine – even a small amount can make them jumpy. Read on to find out some alternative caffeine-free ways to beat tiredness during the day.
First off, ask yourself whether caffeine is a real solution to your tiredness. Sometimes caffeine can mask the real symptoms making it harder for you to find the root cause. To beat tiredness without caffeine, it’s important to try to find the source of your tiredness, and in all likelihood it probably begins with your lifestyle. Specifically, the big three contributing factors are sleep, diet and exercise. If you can nail these you’ll be well on your way to a caffeine-free workday.
The most important step you can take to feel rested and alert all day is to get a good night’s sleep. Most people need around eight hours, but what’s more important than the amount of sleep you get is the quality of that sleep – you should sleep deeply and undisturbed for as much of the night as possible.
- Health risks that have been linked to poor quality sleep and sleep deprivation include an increased risk of conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, an increased likelihood of obesity, as well as adverse effects on your mood.
However, with enough sleep you can take on the world! Sleep is the time when your body repairs and maintains itself, boosting your immune system. Your brain processes memories and ideas, strengthening your recall, and your body and mind can de-stress. You may also experience increased libido and fertility.
Eat smaller meals, more often
Eating a well balanced diet in the form of several small meals spaced at regular times throughout the day can keep your blood sugar levels more constant over the course of the day, lowering tiredness.
Making regular exercise a habit can boost your overall energy levels significantly. Start small, such as taking the stairs or walking where possible, and build up over a period of weeks. The NHS recommends two and a half hours of moderately intensive aerobic activity per week, plus strength exercises twice a week that exercise all major muscles.
Quick tiredness fixes for the afternoon slump
While making bigger lifestyle changes such as regular exercise will help your energy levels in the long run, sometimes you just need a pick me up. Instead of reaching for the caffeinated beverage, try one of these options.
Snack on complex carbs
Complex carbohydrates are processed slowly by the body, resulting in a gradual but constant and long lasting boost to your energy levels. Wholegrains, oats, pulses, nuts and seeds are all good options for avoiding that 3pm doze.
Pump up the music
Music, especially singing aloud can increase your energy levels and get rid of stress.
Music might even be able to increase your running speed! Pop on some headphones during your tea break and find something upbeat that you can’t help but sing along to.
Chew on some gum
Chewing gum can wake you up by stimulating your autonomic nervous system, making your more alert. The act of chewing increases blood flow to your brain, so you can think clearly again. For an extra boost, choose mint gum – the cool taste stimulates nerves and makes your brain sit up and pay attention.
Caffeinated drinks can be a useful way to wake up in the mornings, but for the best health outcomes its worth exploring the root causes of fatigue, such as diet, sleep patterns and exercise. If you have concerns about your fatigue, or caffeine dependency your first port of call should be NHS Choices for advice and guidance. They may recommend seeing your GP or exploring your out of hours services options.