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The Doctor Is In: Wake Up Without Caffeine

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(KPLR)-Many people find lives so rushed these days that they may find themselves not getting enough rest. We often hear about simple techniques to wake ourselves up quickly, but which ones work?

Dr. Sonny Saggar is here to describe some ways to feel refreshed and awake without having coffee or even taking a shower.

  1. Water: drink it warm, or splash it cold on your face! Or both.

Drinking warm water, especially first thing in the morning, rehydrates you, flushes out toxins, fires up your metabolism, fuels your brain, keeps you regular, prevents and cures many diseases. Warm water allows your body to maintain it`s normal temperature and metabolic chemical reactions, optimally flushing out toxins and replenishing the cells.

Splash cold water on your face is 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.

  1. Pop a strong mint: the stronger the better, because the effervescent effects do a great job of waking you up.
  2. Tug your hair (if you have it - this one doesn`t apply to me): this one sounds painful but it isn't; slowly and gently tug at your hair to get blood flowing to your head in a refreshing way. It's not as drastic as some of the other tips here, but if you're just feeling the beginning tinges of sleepiness, it might help.
  3. A variant of auto-acupuncture. Some advocate acupressure, whereby one can stimulate, by pressing and massaging key pressure points for 3-4 minutes each (such as your the web-space on your hand, below the ball of your foot and at the top of your head).   Massage your hands is 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. This can be done during an airplane landing, while you're sitting in your seat, if you need to 'look lively' the moment you step off.
  4. Eat wake-up food, like berries and non-sugary cheerios or other unsweetened carbohydrates, in almond milk. I am not a fan of dairy, because it's not really full of good chemicals, and it weakens your immunity. Your brain needs 'natural sugars' to operate at peak capacity, and if your brain is wide awake, if only for another hour, then your body looks awake too.
  5. Stare at the direct sun (outside) with your eyes closed. If you soak yourself in sunlight for 5 to 10 minutes, this definitely 'tricks' your brain into thinking that the day is just beginning and that you need to 'fire up your engines'. Step outside and let your skin grab some unfiltered sunlight, soak up some vitamin d, breathe some fresh air and let your ears feel the openness of an unmuffled, non-office world.
  6. Visualize your meeting. Go through exactly how your important business meeting or other situation will unfold, but visualize it in such a way as if you're directing a movie and it all goes well. How do you look? Awake and refreshed of course. How do you talk? With confidence and a smile, surely. How do others receive you? With awe and appreciation, naturally. And how does this visualization make you feel? Well, it makes you smile and a feeling of "i got this".
  7. Bite into a lemon! Whether you like it or not, you can't deny the zesty slap to the brain that this sour fruit can provide in a time of need.
  8. Get 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 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 will replace the clarity you`re seeking.
  9. Strip down if you can: it may seem like common sense, but we tend to forget the most basic things when 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.
  10. Stretch your spine and 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 and invigorate blood flow throughout your entire body.
  11. Play fast music: if you've got the ability to listen to music where you happen to be falling asleep take it! Play music you love, but keep it upbeat and fast. Black eyed peas are Pitbull are my current personal choices for wake-me-up music.
  12. Finally, you need to get moving: i go for a walk. It doesn't matter if it's fast and brisk, or slower, but you have to keep moving. The very best time to take a walk is when you don't feel like it. It'll improve your mood and straighten up your posture so that you look awake. If you're with someone you don't really want to engage in conversation, because you're too tired, then they should walk with you. Walking makes talking difficult for them, and it pacifies the atmosphere for everyone.

Having said all that, prevention is always better than cure. If you sleep 7 to 8 hours every night, and keep the electronics out of your bedroom, like a TV, computer, iPad or smartphone, then you’ll sleep a lot better and be more rested the following day.

Dr. Saggar, an emergency and urgent care physician, is also an internist. You can reach him via his website at stlhealthworks.com.

You can also connect with Sr. Saggar, the director at stlprimarycare.com, and ask him any questions you like