Sometimes, staying awake in your afternoon classes seems almost impossible, especially if your brilliant neighbors decided to have an all-night Guitar Hero tournament (dorm rooms have notoriously thin walls). It’s 2:30 p.m., your morning coffee has just worn off, and you find yourself slipping in and out of consciousness during your American History lecture. What do you do? Coffee and energy drinks might seem like a quick fix, but they only prolong the inevitable crash, and who has time to slow down? Ladies, do not fret! Her Campus is here for you with five sure-fire ways to help you stay alert. Skip the Pop-Tarts and opt for a healthier breakfast to prevent crashing.
Grabbing a quick breakfast may seem harmless, especially when you’re in a time crunch, but often times the quickest choices are not the best for your health or mental alertness. Foods that are high in carbohydrates and sugar, like energy drinks, Pop-Tarts, and your favorite sweet cereal, lead to fluctuating blood sugar levels. “When your sugar level drops, you get headaches and feel tired, so a lot of people eat more sugar,” says Dr. Lorianne Stiuso, Pediatrician. “In order to maintain your insulin and blood sugar levels, so that you won’t feel heavy fatigue, it is important to eat more protein than carbohydrates.” A balanced breakfast contains protein, calcium, and complex carbohydrates, so, rather than munching on that chocolate chip muffin you snagged from the Dining Hall, try a berry smoothie made with low-fat yogurt. The protein and calcium from the yogurt, combined with antioxidant rich berries, are sure to keep a skip in your step.
Classes can be incredibly tiring, and sometimes the thought of going to the gym is cringe-worthy, but exercise is essential in the fight against fatigue. Inactivity only leads to more inactivity, so when your body is sedentary, energy production slows down causing you to feel tired and sluggish. “Regular exercise helps you feel not as tired,” says Stiuso. “A regular exercise regimen of 30 minutes of aerobic type exercise a day will help with fatigue and stress." If you are completely unwilling hit up the treadmill or elliptical (I am guilty of this too!), yoga is a great alternative. There are plenty of positions that target fatigue without requiring you to break land-speed records. Look up the schedule of classes at your school’s gym and enlist a friend to be your workout buddy. If you have a partner, it’s easier to stay motivated, especially if the gym is the last place you want to be. One yoga-inspired stretch that will help you target tiredness is a play on the classic Seated Forward Bend. This simplified move requires you to sit on a flat surface with your legs straight in front of you. Slowly stretch your back forward while inhaling. As you exhale reach towards your toes, and stretch until your forearm is level with the ground and your head is as close to touching your knees as it can be. If you are already in class and find yourself dozing off, step outside to stretch, or take a quick walk to the bathroom. It will get your blood flowing and help recharge your waning energy.