How to Stay Alert & Refreshed: 6 Ways

We all know what it feels like to stay up too late and struggle to stay alert the next morning.

Some common causes for tiredness in the workplace are keeping odd hours, a bad diet, too much or too little exercise, caffeine addiction, alcohol abuse and, poor sleeping patterns.

It is important to first establish the reasons behind why we get tired because it can help determine the factors that need changing to combat the lethargy.

As you will see, altering your behavior will help change the results of the next day.

How to Stay Alert & Refreshed at Work

1. Healthy Diet

A healthy diet improves concentration and helps you stay alert, both mentally and physically. Not eating properly is one of the most common causes of sleepiness.

Often when our blood sugar is low, we become tired. A great preventative measure for this is to look for foods that keep your energy up for a longer amount of time.

Protein is great for energy that won’t make you sleepy while complex carbohydrates are a good choice for long lasting energy. Things like oatmeal and whole grain bread are ideal.

Avoid sugar. Although it gives you a little boost, when the sugar crash comes it will be harder to handle if you are already tired.

2. Drink Caffeine

If you hadn’t thought to have a cup of coffee yet, you must escape from the rock you live under immediately!

Although coffee can be just the thing you need, remember that too much coffee is a bad solution because it is addictive. If you start to need a cup of coffee to start your day it may be time to start reevaluating your diet.

Chinese Green Tea can be a great alternative that has many health benefits.

3. Breathe Deeply

In traditional Buddhist practice it is recommended that you breath deep into your stomach, utilizing more than just the top half of your lungs. This act has calming effects can also serve to wake up the mind as it focuses on something internal.

Whenever you feel yourself slipping away into sleepiness, try to refocus by bringing your mind back to deep breathing patterns.

4. Go Outside

Get some fresh air. Sometimes sitting in a warm office with a comfortable chair and staring at a flickering computer screen is enough to send anyone to sleep.

When you’re in darkness, your body produces melatonin, a sleep hormone that makes you feel sleepy. Exposing yourself to natural sunlight helps stop the production of melatonin so that drowsiness goes away naturally.

Get outdoors and breathe in some fresh air. If you can’t leave your desk, open the windows and let in as much natural light as possible. Too much fluorescent lighting can tire your eyes and interfere with brain activity, which leads to fatigue.

5. Stimulate the Mind

Find something to laugh about or something that is interesting, fun, stimulating, and otherwise pleasurable to think about.

Focus your mind on these thoughts as much as you can throughout the day to keep your mind awake and alert. Try watching funny video clips or photos or read some really funny jokes.

6. Play Music

Play loud music! Although this may affect your concentration, the right type of music can be a very useful method to stay alert and refreshed.

Unless you are accustomed to sleeping with loud noises, the music should keep you awake. Find songs that you are familiar with to tap out the beat or sing along with to help stimulate the mind.

Of course, there is a risk with any of these tips that the distraction can be too seductive and lure you away for work when you push your body beyond its natural rhythms. Try out these 6 tips to see which ones work best for you.

Which of these ways have worked for you? Share your stories in the comment!

Photo by anathea.

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Yo Noguchi is a freelance writer and a frequent contributor to a blog hosted by Benchmark Email, an online provider of email marketing software.


  1. Ashley on the 26th February

    Not just Chinese green tea, but green tea from anywhere is good. (I live in Japan, so perhaps I’m biased, but I absolutely love the tea here).

    Thanks for sharing these tips! Always a good reminder.

  2. Jonathan Haye on the 26th February

    I like to do all of these simultaneously FTW 😀

  3. Agus Demak on the 27th February

    Go Outside…. one thing that I difficult to do 🙁

  4. Jason on the 28th February

    Red Bull.

  5. Rick on the 1st March

    Any type of physical activity that gets you moving and active also works to keep you alert and refreshed. For better long-term results try getting 8+ hours of sleep each night, establish a regular workout routine and and if all else fails-power naps are awesome.


  6. Nitoy Gonzales on the 7th March

    love 2, 4 and 6…i do this all the time specially when i need to refresh my mind in writing…

  7. eJean1981 on the 23rd March

    I can’t stand music while working. I find it intrusive and annoying. This has been a source of contention in several workplaces, and remains so at home when I’m trying to get things accomplished.

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