How to Stay Awake Without Caffeine

How to Stay Awake Without Caffeine

So you want to know how to stay awake without caffeine? You’re probably here because you’ve had a love affair with caffeine. But if you’ve drunk coffee you’re probably aware of the ugly side that comes along with it. The hour-long energy boost is usually followed by a crash, and then a mindless trek to the coffee machine to make your next cup. It’s a vicious cycle. But, despite how you feel when you’re halfway through your third cup of the day, you can stay awake without caffeine. Below are some tips and tricks to breaking up with coffee and staying awake using your natural energy.

Take a Nap


As contradictory as it sounds, napping is an effective strategy in the fight to stay awake without caffeine. Napping between five and twenty-five minutes is a great way to fight off that midday fatigue that you’d usually reach for a coffee for. A midday nap or “siesta” is popular in Spain for its ability to improve attention. Short naps are even shown to improve peoples’ memory over time.

But how long is too long for a nap? Anything significantly longer than 25 minutes will leave you groggy and sluggish when you wake up. If you insist on napping longer, make sure it’s not for longer than an hour, and leave yourself a couple of extra minutes to fight off that post-nap sleepiness.

Eat a Nutritious Snack

One of the biggest factors in staying awake without caffeine is diet. When feeling groggy throughout the day, instead of reaching for a coffee try reaching for a nutritious snack. Going too long without food makes us tired, so every 3-4 hours you should reach for a snack. When you’re going grocery shopping try reaching for foods with high iron, complex carbs, lean proteins, and healthy fats. They’ll give you the energy you need to stay awake throughout the day.

Quick and easy snacks we recommend are avocado toast, apples, almonds, and peanut butter, and celery. Crunchy foods have the added benefit of engaging your auditory senses giving you the extra stimulus to stay awake. If you’re trying to fight off fatigue with food, it’s important to avoid anything sugary, so no candy or donuts as your midday snack. While a sugar rush will make you feel wide awake in the moment, you’ll crash from it pretty soon, leaving you more tired than you started out.

Drink Water

Since humans are made up of 60% of water, dehydration is a leading cause of fatigue. Our bodies use water to send oxygen and nutrients all over the body, even the brain. So when we’re lacking it we start to slow down and feel groggy. But luckily, there’s an easy fix to this, just drink more water! If you struggle with staying hydrated try getting a reusable water bottle to keep with you at all times. Or a hydration app that can give you reminders of when it’s time for you to drink some water.

Interrupt Your Work Routine with Regular Breaks

It’s easy to get sleepy when you’re doing the same tasks for hours at a time. One way to stay awake during this is to take quick minute breaks in between long periods of focus. We recommend a split of 25 minutes of focus, 5 minutes of break. During this break don’t just sit around! Try getting up and taking a quick walk, or go grab some water or a snack.

Trade a Caffeine Break for a Walk Break


This might be hard to do if you live somewhere with extreme weather, but stepping outside is a great way to wake yourself up. A little bit of sunshine can improve your alertness and banish away sleepiness. Artificial light from screens and lightbulbs can’t compare when it comes to a dose of sunshine. This is because sunlight also activates the hypothalamus, which regulates our sleep schedule. Stepping into the sun will give your brain a nice reminder that it’s not quite bedtime yet.

Keep Your Space Cool

Environment makes a big difference when it comes to staying awake. Working in a room that’s warm and cozy is tempting, but can actually be making you sleepy and groggy. Keeping your space colder is a great way to keep yourself alert and awake. A nice breeze can be more effective than a cup of coffee!

Give Yourself a Massage

A massage may seem like the last thing that will wake you up, but it can actually help fight off midday sleepiness. The trick is to massage certain pressure points on your body to get your blood pumping again. Recommended areas are the back of your neck, the spot between your thumb and pointer finger, and the balls of your feet. If you’re feeling tired throughout the day try giving these areas a squeeze.

Listen to Music

A good playlist can be your key to staying awake without caffeine. Listening to music for at least 15 minutes can get your brain to release dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. These are all chemicals that make us feel happy and alert. But if you’re feeling sleepy, louder isn’t necessarily better.

Listening to loud music can temporarily make you feel more alert but a better option is to listen to a bigger variety of music. So try including different genres on your playlist, a good mix of pop, rap, and country can be the key to staying awake throughout the day. As a bonus, singing along can make you feel more energetic. Though we wouldn’t recommend putting on a karaoke show if you’re around other people.

Ditch Caffeine for Citrus


Citrus, other than tasting delicious, has many benefits. Eating grapefruit or drinking some lemon water can help energize you throughout the day. But a quicker and easier way to utilize the benefits of citrus is by smelling it. Lighting a nice citrus candle can help you wake up throughout the day. Or for a quick and easy option, try carrying around some citrus essential oils to sniff whenever you’re feeling sleepy. 

How to Stay Awake Without Caffeine: Conclusion

Taking care of your body through proper nutrition and sleep are big factors when it comes to fighting off fatigue. There are even more fun ways to get rid of caffeine, like a good playlist or a walk outside. But overall, caffeine isn’t the only option to fight off sleepiness throughout the day, it isn’t even the most effective one.

Written by Olivia Tam

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