Give your eyes a break
Swollen, red eyes are often the result of not getting enough sleep, and this can make it hard to focus on the computer screen at work the next day. “Using eye lubricant to moisten your eyes can help you feel less tired,” Dr. Shane says. In addition, make sure to take frequent breaks to look away from your screen so your eyes can readjust and not get as fatigued. The American Optometric Association recommends sticking to the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, stare at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This can help prevent digital eye strain, which could be made worse by sleep deprivation. Try some of these other ideas to boost energy naturally too.
Keep your brain stimulated
If you’re wondering how to stay awake, you’ll definitely want to keep your brain moving with some mental exercise. “Engaging in something interesting to do or talk about can stimulate your mind to feel more awake,” Dr. Shane says. Simply having a conversation can ramp up your cognitive processes and make you “forget” you’re tired. Or, focusing your mind on an engaging task—either a work project you’re excited about, or a mental break like a crossword puzzle or game—can help keep you alert. Interestingly, we tend to be more creative when we’re tired because our ideas are not as focused, according to a study published in the Journal of Thinking and Reasoning. So take advantage to write, draw, or solve some brain twisters.
Eat energy-boosting snacks
When your body is missing the rest and repair it needs from sleep, you can at least make sure it has the fuel it requires to keep going—and to keep your blood sugar levels stable. “Eating protein can give you more energy, but stay away from carbohydrates and fats, as they can make you feel more sluggish,” Dr. Shane says. “Be careful with sugar because while it may temporarily give you more energy, for many people, that is followed by a slump.” If you’re in a meeting and can’t chow down, research shows that popping a piece of gum can also work to stimulate the brain. It’s a simple, yet effective, solution for how to stay awake. Or try one of these natural energy boosters that just might change your life.