No offense to Joe, but mainlining caffeine isn’t the only way to perk up. Try these natural, science-backed methods to rise and shine when your fourth cup isn’t cutting it—or if you just want to try a chemical-free high.
Rock Out on Your Morning Commute
Belting out your favorite song gives you a lift, according to a study in the Journal of Music Therapy. Researchers measured people’s arousal levels after singing along or just listening to one song and found that the subjects felt more energetic after crooning. Hitting those high notes requires some effort, triggering a stress response that gives you a boost, the researchers say. Too shy to sing? Tapping along to a song can have the same effect.
Get Your Popeye On
Eat more spinach: B vitamins, found in leafy greens, help your body convert the nutrients you eat into energy, says Danielle Omar, M.S., R.D.N., a dietitian based in Washington, D.C. Chowing down on a salad won’t amp you up immediately, Omar says, but getting enough B vitamins on a daily basis can help prevent fatigue. Try working one of the greens-packed shakes on this list of 20 Healthy Smoothie Recipes into your daily rotation.
Soak Up Some Rays
Just 15 minutes in the sun may help you feel less sluggish, according to a recent Dutch study. Researchers found that people who saw more daylight felt less fatigued than those who spent more time in the dark. When your eyes are exposed to natural light, they send a signal to the areas of your brain responsible for alertness, the researchers say. Simply leaving your blinds open or stepping outside may wake you up, too.
Stand Up to Wake Up
A short walk can ward off drowsiness, says Chris Repka, Ph.D., a professor of fitness wellness at Northern Arizona University. The physical activity boosts your heart rate, metabolism, and blood flow, he explains. March down to your coworker’s office instead of picking up the phone, take the stairs to your team meeting, or head outside for a longer stroll if you have the time, Repka says. (Bonus: Walking is also The Easiest Way to Kill a Sugar Craving.)
Kiss Your Coffee Breath Goodbye
Gum can boost your alertness, attention span, and mood, a recent British study finds. Chewing triggers an increase in your heart rate and cortisol levels, which are both linked to energy, the researchers say. Opt for peppermint flavor to get the most bang for your buck: Other studies have found its scent can boost memory and processing speeds.
Let Her Rev Your Engine
Just thinking about your girlfriend or wife can act as an all-natural upper, according to Canadian researchers. Daydreaming about her triggers a chemical reaction that increases your levels of blood sugar, resulting in a jolt of energy, the researchers say. Next time you feel yourself nodding off, close your eyes and think about your favorite memories (keep it clean!) while visualizing her in as much detail as you can. You should feel a little perkier afterward, the researchers say.
Laugh Off Your Afternoon Slump
Just tell your boss that viral cat video will give you loads of brainpower in your afternoon meeting. Watching something funny may increase blood flow to your entire body, boosting your energy, Japanese researchers find.