Cut the Coffee: 8 Ways to Wake Up That Are Not Espresso Shots

Finals season is here. That bloodshot eyed first year with shaky hands who looks like they've moved to the library can tell you that. Or the long lines at the bathroom and the crowded coffee shops. Because finals season means drinking coffee. And lots of it.

Whether you need a little pick-me-up, or you need to learn one semester's worth of material by tomorrow, we understand. Or perhaps you are that first year who has decided to live at the library for the next two weeks. Been there, done that. 8 hours of sleep, although recommended, is not always possible and you might need something to wake you up and make you feel alive again. 

But not coffee. You hate the smell, the taste and the way it increases your heart rate, makes your hands shake and gives you stomachaches. Or you can't live without your daily espresso but you're trying to quit. Whatever your reason be for wanting to cut down your coffee intake, here are some alternatives that are not coffee bean water. 

1. Cold shower

Okay, this might not sound very appealing when you're already shivering from fatigue but hear me out. Studies show that exposure to cold water can reduce the effects of fatigue. So get in that shower and turn the cold water on. You will feel refreshed and a bit more awake. If you can't stand a cold shower, make the last minutes of your shower cold.

2. Caffeinated Teas

Drinking teas that have caffeine in them is like drinking coffee without actually drinking coffee. It's the best. They won't make you feel bloated or dehydrated like coffee either. Green tea, earl grey, yerba mate, matcha, and chai are just some of the options. You can make some tea in the morning and sip on your thermos throughout the day. Or you can make a tea latte using chai or matcha. Just make sure you don't accidentally buy the decaffeinated option at the store.

3. Water

We all know that drinking water is essential, and dehydration can also cause fatigue and irritability. Make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day. If you're feeling like you're falling asleep on your essay, drink some cold lemon-infused water to hydrate yourself and stay awake.

4. Exposure to Light

Exposure to light alerts your body's internal clock to wake up, keeps your body in sync with its circadian rhythms, and makes you more stimulated and aware. And I'm not talking about the light from your computer screen. Go for a quick walk to expose yourself to sunlight (wearing sunscreen of course) or open your curtains and let the light in.

5. Exercise

Exercise might be the last thing you want to do when you're so tired and sleepy, but just 15 minutes of physical activity can wake you up. A walk, stretching, a run or just doing some jumping jacks in your room will help you focus better. 

6. Food

When you're sleep deprived, greasy fast foods might seem very appealing but a hearty meal will actually help you wake up. Your stomach also might not be doing too well when you're so tired so foods rich in fiber are your friend. Oatmeal, leafy greens, fruits, and chia seeds are all energy-boosting foods. You can also make a smoothie to drink up your nutrients if you're running low on time. 

7. Nap

Set your alarm to 20 minutes later and take a quick nap. Naps of 20 minutes keep you in the lightest stage of non-REM sleep, resulting in enhanced performance and a better mood upon waking up. Longer than 30 minutes, you'll hit deep sleep and wake up groggy. So take a nap for the GPA!

8. Sleep

If nothing seems to be working, it might be time to take a break for the night and sleep it off. A good night's sleep before your final will help you remember things better, enhance your performance and awareness, and actually help you score higher. And if you're living at the library, please go home. Good luck to everyone on their finals!

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