Picture this: you’re typing away on your laptop into the wee hours of the night and before you realize it, it is time to get ready for the next morning. After hopping into bed and spending 30 minutes wrestling with the snooze button, you’re left with no other option but to deal with the grogginess, grab a very strong cup of joe and drag yourself to the office.
Haven’t we all been in this situation?
You get into the office and suddenly start feeling a little unsteady. As the adrenaline wears off the daylight comes piercing in. Surviving the day after an all-nighter can be arduous.
Stay alert and make it through the day
A night of sleep deprivation or mind-racing insomnia can negatively affect your brain and cause increased reaction time, lowered attention span, and memory issues. According to NIU researchers, feeling sleepy at work can cause one to evaluate social situations more negatively as compared to others.
However, you can avoid this scenario, stay awake the next day, and even boost your energy levels. Moreover, it does not require you chugging weird canned concoctions every hour.
Here are a few easy tips to improve your alertness and help you make it through the day after an all-nighter.
1. Start with a healthy breakfast.
You may be familiar with the saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It is even more crucial to jump start your metabolism and your brain. Eating the right kind of breakfast can improve energy levels and help you stay mentally sharp during the day.
You don’t want to experience a sugar rush immediately after breakfast; so include proteins and whole grains in it. Eggs, oatmeal, peanut butter on whole grain toast, and Greek yogurt are a few of the ideal choices for breakfast.
2. Let the sun in.
According to Oxford University neurologist Russell Foster, studies suggest that exposure to sunlight leads to the release of happy hormones (serotonin) in people. So, on days when you’re drained of energy, start your morning by opening the curtains and take a quick break and get some sun later in the day. Maximizing your exposure to sunlight can help boost your mood and increase your productivity at work.
3. Grab a cup of coffee (or tea).
Research suggests that a small cup of espresso (100-200 mg of caffeine) can lead to increased attention and alertness. In fact, according to another study done in 2005, the human body tends to absorb the maximum antioxidants from coffee. Caffeine easily gets into the brain, and affects various neurons (nerve cells) in a positive manner. Apart from this, it has a plethora of other benefits, like burning fat, fighting depression, and making one feel happier.
4. Listen to uplifting music.
According to a Mindlab International study, listening to music at work helps enhance attentiveness, accuracy, and speed. The study also concluded that participants made the most mistakes when they weren’t listening to music at all.
Whether it is classical music or dance beats, choose a genre that works well with the type of work you do. So, grab those headphones, listen to some music as it may help you focus on your work.
5. Get moving.
Sitting in front of the desk and staring at your screen for hours can wreak havoc on your body, especially if you don’t have the right sitting posture. However, doing a few stretches can help increase flexibility as well as keep you awake at work. Stretch your neck, back, and hamstrings. Doing so for a couple of minutes can ease tension in the body and boost mental alertness.
6. Consume a lot of this.
Water and energy-boosting snacks are essential after pulling an all-nighter. Drinking a lot of water can maintain the body’s fluid levels, which is good for mental alertness, concentration, and performing analytical tasks.
Energy-boosting foods also help raise your metabolism. Nutrients such as B-complex vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids can help increase energy significantly. Salmon, citrus, eggs, beans, walnuts, leafy greens, bran cereal, and dark chocolate can keep energy levels stable through the day.
7. Take a power nap.
After lunch, you may wish for a dark corner and a pillow so you can peacefully drift into a deep slumber. However, sleeping for hours is simply out of the question at the moment. Instead, take a power nap.
The antidote to sleeplessness is, undoubtedly, sleep. While naps cannot make up for inadequate or poor quality night-time sleep, a short nap of 20-30 minutes can help improve your mood, alertness, and performance.
In fact, research shows that planned naps improve alertness and performance in emergency department physicians and nurses, along with first-year medical students. The studies make it clear that naps can help restore attention, quality of work, and reduce mistakes.
When all-nighters are unavoidable
As an entrepreneur, especially when running an early-stage venture, there are plenty of times when you must stay up late in order to accomplish important tasks. This can easily jeopardize your next day’s workflow.
If you have a difficult time waking up the next morning or staying awake at work these tips can help you jump start your day. So, before deciding to gulp down an entire stash of energy drinks try the above-mentioned tips.
The next time you have to deal with the sleepy blues, you know what to do!
This article has been edited and condensed.
Peter Bucki is the Marketing Manager at Espresso 1882, Italy’s oldest family owned coffee company, now providing environmentally friendly capsules compatible with Nespresso* machines for domestic use. Connect with @Espresso1882AU on Twitter. (* The trademark is not owned by Caffe Vergnano Sp.A. or associated companies.
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