Remote workers, I know you’ve been there. You’ve just finished lunch. You sit down at your computer. Perhaps it’s the soft lull of the dishwasher or the birds chirping outside, but your eyelids get heavy and you feel the overwhelming urge to head over to your couch and drop right into a deep, cozy sleep.
Even office workers face the afternoon lulls, but telecommuters have it tough. The problem is not taking a short nap, but the potent temptation to plunge into delta waves, and lose hours and hours of precious productivity. And it certainly doesn’t help that you probably have a couch, bed or recliner nearby.
Instead of drifting off and falling behind on your work, here are some healthy, natural ways to stay awake when you’re away from the office:
1. Drink loads of water
Water does so much more than quench thirst, it rehydrates the tissues of the brain. According to a recent study, people who drank water with a meal saw better mental acuity and were able to think 15 percent faster than their H2O-denied peers.
2. Keep yourself cold
Just like a warm bed in the morning on a rainy day, heat is like crack to people who like to nap. If you want to stay cogent, cold air is your friend. Not only does cold air make the skin uncomfortable, but it forces the body to generate heat. Turn on the air conditioner, open a window, or put an icepack on your neck. Whatever works.
3. Play a 10-minute video game
If you’re not into video games, this isn’t an option. However, even if you’re a casual gamer, this will get you through a rough spot. Grab a controller or a mouse and start a timed, short game. The time sensitivity of puzzles or the imaginary FPS threat of getting shot in the back will be enough to raise your energy levels and get the blood flowing.
4. Eat fruit, not candy
In my mind, there are two types of sugar - all natural sweetness you get from fruit, and the white, processed stuff you find in everything from cookies to tomato soup. Don’t spike your glucose, snack on oranges, grapes or apples. This way you’ll get the benefit of fiber, with the slower-burning energy of something naturally sweet.
There’s really no telling how many things you can do to stay awake throughout the day, but not all of them are healthy or effective. Here are the ones that work for me every time, so whenever the sleep urge strikes, see if they help you as well.