Four scientifically proven ways to stay awake without caffeine

From watching a certain kind of video to drinking water, dancing or flicking a light switch, here are ways to stay alert through the day

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 August, 2015, 2:06pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 September, 2015, 9:41am

Have you hit a midday slump and want something apart from coffee to keep you wide-eyed? Here are four science-backed ways suggested by the American Chemical Society in this week’s instalment of its weekly YouTube video series Reactions.

1. Watch viral cat videos

Research has shown that cute videos featuring kittens and puppies improve your mood and temporarily boost your attention to detail. Watching such videos can affect production of certain hormones in your body – specifically, it can increase oxytocin levels in your brain and decrease cortisol levels. Oxytocin influences positive feelings of trust and connection, while cortisol is a hormone linked to stress. Just make sure you keep tabs on the time – we all know how addictive those cat videos can be.

2. Drink a big glass of water

The adult human body is 50 to 65 per cent water and it’s important to keep that level constant throughout the day by drinking enough water, because dehydration stresses your body, raising your temperature and making your heart beat faster. This can lead to fatigue and more serious symptoms like confusion, heart palpitations and fainting. We typically start feeling thirsty when we’ve lost 2 to 3 per cent of the body’s water, but it can affect you mentally and physically when you’ve lost just 1 per cent. This is because water is a major component in the plasma in our blood, which transports oxygen, proteins and other nutrients the body needs to function properly.

3. Put on your favourite tune and get jiggy with it

Dancing and other forms of exercise produce feel-good endorphins in the body which reduce pain and help us feel happier and more energised. Listening to your favourite song also activates the pleasure circuit in your brain, releasing even more feel-good neurochemicals like dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin, a chemical cocktail that will undoubtedly give you a boost.

4. Get a dose of bright light

Some research has shown a connection between bright lights in general and alertness. Turning on bright lights activates neurons in the hypothalamus that release a neurotransmitter called hypocretin or orexin, which helps us stay awake and alert during the day. A brisk bout of walking in the sun can help keep your engines oiled and running smoothly for the rest of the day.

WATCH the Reactions video