Alternate physical and mental activity.
Slog away at your desk for an hour, then take a break to walk or stretch. Watch a TV show on the couch, then head out to pick up the mail. This toggling back and forth between rest and activity usually improves alertness, according to Matthew Edlund, MD, on PsychologyToday.com.
Drink your caffeine in the AM.
iStock/Eva Katalin Kondoros
“Caffeine is definitely beneficial for keeping individuals who are sleep deprived more alert,” Timothy Roehrs of the Sleep Disorders and Research Center at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit told the Nutrition Action Health Letter. The stimulant temporarily binds to your brain’s receptors for a chemical called adenosine, which is a natural sedative, the newsletter explains. By blocking out adenosine, caffeine makes you feel more alert. Yet after a night of little sleep, regular caffeine drinkers may need more than their normal intake for a significant energy boost.
But swear off caffeine after lunch.
Caffeine has a half-life of eight to 10 hours, which means that half the amount in your noon cup will still be circulating come 8 to 10 p.m. This can prevent you from falling asleep at night.