How to stop feeling tired

  1. See a doctor
    If you are constantly tired--meaning every day and all day--then you must seek professional help, because these are warning signs. You must rule out a medical condition such as sleep apnea, clinical depression, drug withdrawal symptoms (not just street drugs, but something you might have been on prescription for), diabetes and others. Ignoring a medical diagnosis and juicing yourself on uppers can kill you

  2. Yawn
    It stimulates the precuneus in the pareital lobe. Not only is yawning relaxing, it also heightens awareness

  3. Correct your posture
    Stop slouching and sit up straight. This is the first "brain hack" to try, because changing to a posture that physically resembles alertness can pull the rest of you with it. You should also try standing up and walking around for a few minutes

  4. Drink tea, not coffee, before noon
    High doses of caffeine in the morning puts you on a chemical roller coaster that dips in the afternoon. Tea has a lower dose that's released more slowly

  5. Take caffeine in a series of small doses
    A study found that caffeine was most effective when taken in small doses over time, rather than in huge doses all at once

  6. Lunch = Protein + Fiber - Carbs
    Lots of carbohydrates in the form of pasta, noodles, white bread, white rice, potatoes and sugar will give you a spike in your blood sugar level, which will induce your body to secrete insulin. The following "sugar crash" will make you feel exhausted an hour or two later. Stick to proteins and fiber foods at lunchtime (a BLT in a wholewheat roll or wrap, for example) and save the potatoes and pasta for dinner in the evening so that you sleep well and wake up without a deficit that you have to correct with naps the next day

  7. Lots of B6 and B12
    Doctors recommend taking lots of B6 as a natural way to suppress fatigue. I've had ER physicians recommend woofing down as much as I like (though obviously not entire jars of pills at a time) because it's water soluble and your body will flush any excess that it doesn't need. Synthetic B12 (cyanocobalamin) is another energy booster that won't make you crash a few hours later, like caffeine does. Most off-the-shelf supplements will work, including "B-Complex formulas"

  8. Take a walk
    Although exercise is a short-term way to wake you up, a long-term commitment to exercise is going to improve the strength of your cardiovascular system, which in turn will make it easier for you to metabolize fat and glucose energy. Try getting up earlier in the morning and going for a 20-minute walk before heading to work, because this will keep your heart rate elevated all day

  9. Let the sun in
    Open the blinds if you have a window, or get outside if it's sunny. Your body's circadian rhythm is synchronized with the presence of light, both sunlight and artificial light, but the intensity that most excites your circadian system is around 1000 lux, which is not typical of indoor lighting. The circadian "clock" is located in your hypothalamus (specifically the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or SCN) and it receives signals from ganglion cells in your eyes. The SCN then signals your pineal gland to secret melatonin when it thinks the day is over, which makes you sleepy. In other words, there's a direct connection between ambient light levels and your sense of wakefulness

  10. Wait 90 minutes
    In addition to the circadian rhythm, your body also goes through several ultradian rhythms through the day, each of which last between 90-120 minutes. This is why you can feel sleepy for a while, and then alert and wakeful an hour or two later

  11. Don't use downers at night
    You think that if you take a sleeping pill now then you'll get a good night's sleep and feel refreshed in the morning. But the reality is that taking a sleeping pill will sedate you and rob you of enough REM sleep. A sleeping pill will knock you unconscious but your night will be unfulfilling, so you'll feel drowsy all day the next day. The same goes for alcohol, which is another depressant that will knock you out but won't give you restful sleep

  12. Take 40 winks
    It's normal to feel tired in the afternoon, even if you've avoided a big lunch, and it's healthy to take a nap if you do. But limit naps to 30-40 minutes because longer naps can push you so far into a sleep cycle that you end up feeling drowsy instead of refreshed once its over

  13. Ensure whole sleep cycles
    Regular sleep is made of repeating cycles (the same as the ultradian cycles described above, but for sleep), and every night we typically go through 5 or 6 full cycles, and each cycle is a mix of non-dreaming and dreaming stages. We tend to feel the most refreshed after waking from the end of a complete cycle, and drowsy if we're woken in the middle of a cycle. You can use an online calculator such as to find out when to set your alarm clock to wake you, based on whatever time you've chosen to go to bed on any night

The Stimulants

  • Caffeine
    Works because one of its metabolites is an adenosine antagonist, and adenosine is a brain cell's way of saying "I'm pooped, stop talking to me". When caffeine's byproduct attaches to adenosine receptors on nerve cells it blocks the signal and prevents the cell from going to sleep when its neighbors start to yawn. Caffeine also suppresses signals in the vegus nerve--which regulates heartbeat--and suppressing the vegus nerve makes your heart beat faster

  • Sulbutiamine
    A variant of Vitamin B1 that can cross the blood-brain barrier because it's fat soluble. It's used by athletes as a stimulant and energy booster

  • Amphetamines (Adderall, Ritalin and others)
    Work by increasing the levels of norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin in the brain, producing euphoria

  • Modafinil
    The mechanism is still not well known, but the drug is now prescribed for narcoleptics and those with EDS (Excessive Daytime Sleepiness) or Shift Work Sleep Disorder (third-shifters working at night). This is a prescription drug in the United States, available by mail-order without a prescription by some firms on the Internet. See my related article.