By Yajen Tan
Falling asleep at work is the worst, I would know. I spent most of my high school and college years passed out in the back of the classroom. I vividly remember waking up, over and over again, to the same disappointing stare from either my teacher or a classmate. But as I’m writing this today, it’s 2 PM and I’m wide awake without a drop of coffee in my body. I feel alert, awake, and as focused as ever. What’s my secret? A couple small adjustments that not only keep me awake throughout the day, but also highly energized and laser-focused.
Keep yourself hydrated
Staying hydrated is such a simple task that you probably didn’t need me to share that, but it’s still funny how we all let it slide under our radar – until it becomes a serious problem. Water plays a huge role in allowing your body to carry out essential functions. If you’re wondering what’s the bare minimum required to get by, a study showed that just a 1.59% of water loss in men reduced working memory and increased anxiety and fatigue.
Ladies, before you think that this only affects men, another study indicated that women felt impacts on mood, concentration, and headache symptoms after just 1.36% of water lost. With such small deviations having such big impact, it’s pretty fair to say that you don’t have much wiggle room with hydration if you want to be putting out your best work.
Watch what you eat
What you eat definitely plays a huge role in how you feel. Unfortunately for us, chocolate and white bread don’t really make the best fuel sources for our bodies. Foods that are low in fiber can cause our blood sugar to spike and then crash, soon after the meal. In order to avoid that post-lunch nap, try to focus your meals around foods that are higher in fiber and have a lower glycemic rating.
Check what’s in your cup
I used to love coffee. Not only does coffee taste delicious, it would wake me up, in a few minutes’ notice, and keep me working past bedtime. I would drink a cup every time I got the chance. The one thing, that I often overlooked, is that coffee is still a stimulant, and with every high, comes a low. Sadly, my productivity spikes always ended up with a crash, and I would end the second half of my day tired and sleepy.
Nowadays, I completely cut coffee out of my diet. I figured that I would rather have a moderately-high productivity throughout the entire day, rather than bounce off the wall excitement for 3 hours and spend the rest of my day with little-to-no productivity. I’ve replaced it with a less caffeinated version, tea. The lower caffeine content in teas allow me to still get a moderate boost in productivity, without having to suffer the dreadful crash afterwards.