How To Manipulate Your Body To Wake The Hell Up

How To Manipulate Your Body To Wake The Hell Up

Say it’s Friday, you’ve had a long week, and you keep nodding off at your desk. Coffee’s just not getting the job done on its own, and you really don’t feel like dumping vials of miniature energy drinks into your system just to get through a few hours of work. The good news is that you don’t need to: Here are a few simple tricks to wake yourself up naturally, quickly, and without spending more money.Photo by John

For the coffee addicts:When you feel like your coffee isn’t giving you the jolt you need, try reducing the amount of milk and sugar that you put in it. When every sip is more bitter than what you’re used to, you might just feel more awake in drinking it.

Grab a few minutes of direct sunlight, outside: It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a corner office that gets sun all day, light passing through windows just isn’t the same as the real deal. Step outside and let your skin grab some untouched sunlight, soak up some Vitamin D, breathe some fresh air and let your ears feel the openness of an unmuffled, non-office world.

Pull your hair: This one sounds bad but it really isn’t; slowly and gently tug at your hair to get blood flowing to your head in a new and refreshing way. It’s not as drastic as most of the other tips on the list, but if you’re just feeling the beginning tinges of sleepiness, it can help.

Splash cold water on your face: This one’s an oldie but a goodie, and it actually does work. Just don’t go overboard and come out of the office bathroom looking like you fell in. To really make this trick work to the fullest, step outside and feel the fresh air hit your face.

Use your computer as an alarm clock! (Mornings) The basic idea is to make you actually pay attention to your alarm, instead of just going back to sleep. This way, your “alarm clock” is sitting across the room, so you have to get out of bed. It cost you hundreds of dollars—so you won’t slap it, and it forces you to actually use hand/eye coordination to look at the screen while using the mouse to stop the alarm.

Take a YouTube meme break: Sound juvenile? It might be, but laughter can help wake up a sleepy person better than almost anything but sheer terror.

Pop a strong mint: The stronger the better, because the effervescent effects do a great job of waking you up. If you’re on the verge of narcolepsy, consider getting a menthol stick—they’re so strong that they help actors fake tears.

Massage your hands: The area between your palm and your wrist is a fairly sensitive one. It’s also far enough away from the super-relaxing massage spots, like your neck or back, so giving it a minute-long deep rub can give you all the good feelings, while not putting you to sleep in the process.

Social interaction with a complete stranger: This is one that nobody ever thinks about until after it’s already happened by accident. If you’re feeling dead on your feet, mention something about the weather to someone nearby. Acting tired is no big deal in front of friends, but our bodies tend to wake up pretty quickly to avoid any sort of social awkwardness.

Play fast-tempo music: This one may seem obvious, or even cheesy, but if you’ve got the ability to listen to music where you happen to be falling asleep—take it! Play music you love, but absolutely keep it upbeat and fast.

Stretch your back/neck/legs: Don’t just sit up straight and yawn, but get out of your chair and stretch like you’re about to go running. Touch your toes! The point is to really stretch so that the blood gets flowing again throughout your entire body.

Peel some layers (if you can): It may seem like common sense, but we tend to forget the most basic things when our heads are cloudy with sleepiness. If you’ve got even one extra layer of clothing on and you’re feeling sleepy, taking it off might give enough of a chill factor to shake things up and stave off drowsiness.

Flip your head upside-down: With feet a bit more than shoulder-width apart, bend down as far as you can go and look back between your legs. The massive rush of blood to the head can be a big pick-me-up, just be sure you don’t come back up too quickly, or dizziness replaces clarity.

Last but not least: Bite a lemon! Whether you like the sour fruit or not, you can’t deny the zesty slap to the face that it can provide in a time of need.


  • These all sound like good ideas, and I certainly love my coffee (though it does nothing for my alertness)…. but the most effective way I’ve found to wake myself up during the day is a big glass of cold water. Nothing like it.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!