The Jitter Bug

You are not as cute as a tired kangaroo.

Five ways to stay alert without caffeine

We’ve all been there – still at the office, on that fourth cup of coffee, hands shaking violently, eyes dry from forgetting to blink. There’s got to be a better way, we tell ourselves as we gulp down yet another triple caramel mocha latte.

Believe it or not, though, there are other ways to stay alert at work – ways that involve neither a dangerously increased heart rate nor unseemly breath.

Light Up Your Life

No surprise here – the more our environment mimics daytime, the more our body wants to remain awake. Here’s a twist on the approach: work blue. Blue light, which has a short wavelength, is scientifically proven to keep people focused and alert.

Sniff Something

Get your nose out of the gutter. Olfactory stimulants – peppermint, cinnamon, rosemary, eucalyptus, and various citruses – produce aromas that keep you ticking. So light a candle or apply some lotion and get back to work.

Push It Real Good

Poking others has been a no-no since childhood, and Facebook poking is even less socially acceptable. Poking oneself, meanwhile, may be the key to staying alert. Though its validity has been contested, acupressure is one method worth trying for the caffeine-free. Applying pressure to the backs of your knees and hands – between your index finger and thumb – along with pulling on your earlobes, might help you not to doze off.

Laugh It Off

Ever get so tired you start laughing hysterically? One scientific study suggests cracking up can be a source of energy. So take some time to joke around with a coworker – it might actually help you be more productive afterwards.

Chew It Up

Whether you’re snacking or smacking your gums on some gum, chances are, the more often you’re chewing, the less you’ll experience fatigue. Instead of having a large lunch mid-day, which is sure to drain your energy as your body works to digest, consistently snack on small meals throughout the day. And if you’re not hungry, chewing gum can stimulate facial muscles, making you more alert – peppermint and cinnamon gum can be especially effective.

Now go forth (and snap out of it.)