Coffee will always be my go-to drink, but sometimes I find myself wanting to wake up without caffeine. Usually this happens when I want to go to bed earlier or when I wake up late in the day. Here’s how I wake up without coffee and other stimulants.
1. Use a SAD lamp
SAD light therapy lamps are insanely bright– 10,000 LUX compared to 200 LUX for a normal office light. This bright light helps people feel more awake in the dark winter months, and some evidence shows that they can help you feel more awake any time of the year. This is especially true if you work in an office away from the window.
Just don’t use the lamp for too long in the afternoon or you may interrupt your sleep later.
2. Take a cold shower
This may seem obvious, but you can take a cold shower or bath any time of the day. The effect is easy to combine with the other ways to wake up without caffeine listed here, too.
Some people prefer gradually shifting from warm to cold, but I jump right into the cold.
3. Listen to fast-paced music
Techno, electronic and other fast-paced music will get you moving in the morning. Dance a bit if you can.
4. Take a power nap
This may seem counter-intuitive, but a little sleep can go a long way. A power nap of no longer than 20 minutes can leave you feeling more well-rested for hours. I also find that when combined with work, I do a lot of brainstorming during the nap and am often able to solve problems more effectively after the nap.
5. Keep positive
It’s a lot easier to stay awake with a positive mindset. Think about the things and people you enjoy rather than the things that stress you out. This can of course be difficult if you are trying to work without coffee.
6. Drink decaf coffee
I’ll preface this by pointing out that decaf coffee is not completely caffeine free, but it’s close enough for most people. Drinking decaf can give you a decent placebo effect similar to drinking regular coffee. For someone like me who always has to be drinking something, it’s a great go-to.
7. Start a conversation
An interesting conversation is the fastest way to forget about your tiredness and move on with your day. It doesn’t have to be ground-breaking, but should be more than casual chatter. Try to find a topic both you are your conversation partner are passionate about.
8. Watch funny videos
There’s a trend here: positive stimulation really helps you wake up. Try watching a few cat videos or other funny videos on YouTube. Try to keep a folder or Evernote note full of links for when you’re really down and want to feel up.
This may seem obvious but it’s worth mentioning: exercise will wake you up. A brisk jog, a few sets of push-ups or even some yoga are all it takes.