Monday, August 18, 2008

How to Stay Awake...

The Steps to take:

1) Try and take a break to get up and walk around every half hour at least. Go get a drink, go to the bathroom, the copy machine/printer, wherever.

2) Avoid stimulants. Commonly, people will drink coffee or soda products to keep caffeine in your system. However, the more this is used, the more glucose/fructose syrup will enter your body. This ingredient, known as "High Fructose Corn Syrup" on most soda drinks, will coat your mouth and tongue with a thin layer of syrup which holds on to sugars and flavors in the drink, giving you a taste of the drink all day and possibly forming an addiction. Caffeine itself is a mixed blessing. There are many reasons why caffeine makes us alert. A safe alternative to caffeine or sugary drinks is an apple (and it's healthier, and cheaper too).

3) Multi-task-- try to do more than one thing at a time. Doing one thing for a long period of time will make you zone out and fall asleep easier. Also if you're not sure how long tasks will take you, it will help you manage your time better.

4) Create goals for yourself. Breaking longer tasks into units small enough to be finished in one focused single-task session will allow you to feel successful throughout the day. The success feeling will wake you up.

5) Don't sit in the same position for extended periods of time. Move your head, arms, legs, body.

6) Try eating sunflower seeds still in the husk. Put a small handful in your cheek and crack them open one at a time, using only your teeth and tongue. This will require just enough active thought and tongue movement to prevent you from dozing off, and the salt of the sunflower seeds is invigorating and stimulating. Sunflower seeds can be even more effective than coffee, and have no negative side effects. Spit out the sunflower husks into a paper cup as you go, as quietly as possible so as to not disturb others around you.

7) Realize that you may not be as tired as you think you are. Often times you'll find that throughout the day, you are fantasizing about going to sleep as soon as you get home. Does this actually happen? For many of us, we find ourselves awake and alert when we're off work and enjoying the rest of the day. Notice this psychological contribution that your mind is making.

8) When you get up to move around make a trip to the bathroom to splash cold water on your face, it's amazing how well this will help you stay alert.

9) Drink a lot of water, i.e. fill up your coffee mug/cup with water from the cooler all day. This is twofold: first, you get your required intake of water which is beneficial to your health. Second, this guarantees you getting up every half hour to go to the bathroom.


- When drinking beverages with caffeine in them, be aware that caffeine is more effective if you consume frequently in small amounts.

- Sunflower seeds are cheap and effective, but are usually highly salted. If you have heart problems that require a low sodium diet, consult your physician.

- Getting comfortable will put you to sleep fast, move around!

- Set specific small goals, things that you can achieve in under an hour, then do them. Measurable accomplishment is exciting.

- Every hour or so of sitting stand up, stretch your arms and get your blood moving. Keeping your body still for long periods of time is a good way to not stay awake.

- Make sure you get enough sleep! Most adults need between six and eight hours of sleep each night.

- Don't eat a huge lunch. 'Food Coma' is not a good thing when you are leading a 2pm meeting.

- Drink water during breaks; it keeps you fresh and gives you a good feeling from inside.

- If you feel yourself dozing off, try pulling on your earlobes. Studies have shown that this can help you stay alert and keep focused when feeling tired.

Strange as it may sound, I tried and tested the last tip and it worked!!! But now my earlobe is itching... Maybe my hands were dirty when I was pulling it... =(