SOMETIMES, it can seem impossible to stay awake through the day without turning to endless cups of coffee.
Whether you’re burning the candle at both ends, getting up for the kids throughout the night and struggling to rack up sleep, or simply suffering from extreme fatigue due to a busy, hectic lifestyle, it can be a real struggle to get through without heavy eyelids wanting to close.
Dr Matthew Calcasola, registered GP and Chief Medical Officer at Get A Drip, says there’s research to suggest that a healthy adult should consume no more than 400mg of caffeine in a single day.
He says: “This is the equivalent to approximately four to five cups of coffee per day, keeping in mind that caffeine levels vary depending on your drink of choice.”
He adds that excessive caffeine consumption, whether spread throughout the day or consumed in a single large dose (common in certain energy drinks), can lead to ‘undesirable’ effects.
“This may include feelings of anxiety, restlessness, irregular heartbeats or difficulty sleeping,” he says.
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“Long-term effects of increased coffee consumption daily may include chronic insomnia, depression, stomach problems and high blood pressure, a precursor to heart disease.”
But, rather than turn to coffee, there are some other tricks you can try to stay awake…
Turn to tea
“Tea is an excellent substitute for coffee as the majority of teas contain half the amount of caffeine than coffee,” says Dr Calcasola.
“You are far less more likely to suffer from jitters, anxiety or heart issues just from drinking tea.
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“However, if you are going to opt for tea, we recommend chai tea or kombucha.
“Chai tea has a black tea base infused with spices such as ginger, which aids in digestion, and cinnamon, which is a natural detoxifier.
“Kombucha is a fermented tea-based beverage and is packed with gut-friendly probiotics.”
At-home vitamin C drinks
“Hot water with lemon and honey is a great alternative,” Dr Calcasola says.
“Lemons are a source of vitamin C which possesses many beneficial qualities such as reduction of tiredness and fatigue, normal function of the immune system and contributes to protection of cells from oxidative stress, just to name a few.”
Watch your breakfast
Put down the pastries.
Instead, opt for complex carbs in the morning, which Dr Calcasola says are a great source of energy as they take longer for your system to digest, allowing for a slow and steady stream of energy throughout the day.
He says: “An example of a complex carbohydrate is oatmeal/porridge, which is full of fibre and nutrients and a bowl in the morning will keep you going for the rest of the day.”
Try to stomach liver
It’s not to everyone’s taste, but offal, such as liver, is a great source of protein – plus it could help reduce tiredness and fatigue thanks to its high vitamin B12 content.
“If you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, nutritional yeast and soybeans are a suitable alternative for a source of B12,” says Dr Calcasola.
Follow the 20 20 20 rule
Your eyes may feel more tired if you don’t give them some respite from your screen.
“If you’re working in front of a screen all day, it is vital that you take ‘screen breaks’,” says Dr Calcasola.
“Take a 20-second break to stare at something 20 feet away, every 20 minutes, or alternatively, for every two hours of screen time, take a 15 minute break to rest your eyes.”
Stand up, get out
Eyes closing at your desk?
“Going on a quick walk and getting some fresh air is a very effective way of getting out of the midday slump at work,” says Dr Calcasola.
“When you feel your eyes getting heavy, it is vital that you listen to what your body is trying to tell you.
“Taking some time to step away from what you are doing to refresh your mind and eyes is extremely important.
“Even a brief stroll can serve as a fantastic method to enhance your energy levels.
“Physical activity sends a signal to your cells, prompting your body to step up its energy production.
“Moreover, it stimulates the release of endorphins which can help contribute to a heightened sense of alertness.”
Check your vitamin levels
“If you feel as though you are constantly tired no matter what you do, you may want to check your B12 and vitamin D levels,” says Dr Calcasola.
“Those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet are more likely to develop a vitamin B12 deficiency as the majority of our B12 intake is derived from meat based products such as chicken and beef.”
Make for magnesium
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“Magnesium not only contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue, but also contributes to electrolyte balance and protein synthesis which essentially helps your brain and body relax,” explains Dr Calcasola.
Try taking a magnesium supplement in the evening.
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