This post was written by an external contributor. Ellie O’Donnell talks how to battle your caffeine demons and use alternative methods to stay alert when working…
Many of us have a cup of coffee to cure our tiredness and waning concentration during the day. It is an easy (and habitual) route out of a lethargic slump at the desk.
Nevertheless, its revitalising effects often create an even worse crash once the effects of the coffee wear off. Consuming large amounts of coffee (400mg+) can have some very uncomfortable side effects including, restlessness, upset stomach, anxiousness, and an increased heartbeat.
Yet somehow this brown, caffeine-fuelled liquid continues to be the remedy many of us turn to when we need to get a quick boost to help us through the day.
Perhaps you want to change your coffee habit, or you want to try other ways of fighting fatigue while working. Either way, here is a list of ways to keep your energy levels up.
Go outside or let bright light into your workspace
When exposed to bright lights, neurons in our hypothalamus are activated. Hypocretin, a molecule in your brain associated with alertness and staying awake, is created when we are made subject to bright lights, meaning that it could revitalise alertness and fend off feeling tired.
Try to make your workspace bright with artificial or, ideally, natural light from the window. Being exposed to natural light is an important factor in fighting off fatigue and keeping your body in a routine. Studies have also found exposure to natural light improves performance!
Drink, drink, drink
Water is king and dehydration can cause fatigue. Up to 60% of the human body is made up of water so it’s no surprise that even mild dehydration can affect your daily functioning. In fact, one study found that if a person loses 1-2% of body weight in water, it is enough to effect cognitive functions and alertness.
Boost your iron intake
Lacking iron intake can be a cause of fatigue. Research has concluded that iron deficiencies are linked to cognitive functions such as attention spans. Ensuring that you eat iron rich food as part of a balanced diet could alleviate inattentiveness and feelings of being drained. (Note: If you believe you are experiencing the effects of an iron deficiency, it is definitely worth getting checked out by a doctor!)
You’re allowed to take a break!
Straining your eyes at a computer screen can exacerbate tiredness. Give your eyes some rest with breaks away your screen.
Exercise has shown to have positive effects on energy levels. Not only does it improve sleep but it releases endorphins that keep you alert and feeling good.
Grab some almonds
Almonds contain nutrients that could sustain your liveliness at work. Both Vitamin E and Magnesium contain proteins that aid in supporting energy levels.
Eat your wholegrains
Eating wholegrain foods allow for a steady release of energy throughout the day. Perhaps try switching your white pasta or bread for its whole wheat counterpart . Wholegrain foods also include brown rice, quinoa, couscous, oatmeal.
Okay, this one is a bit of a cheat because it contains caffeine, but research suggests that there are other benefits to drinking Matcha. The tea is high in antioxidants and it is said that the effects of Matcha are longer lasting and more pleasant than some of the jittery states that coffee can leave you in.