We’ve all had days where our eyelids felt too heavy, our head wanted to lie down, and our chairs dared us to doze on the clock. Whether it be extra hours, late nights, or weekend work sessions, it can be a fight to stay awake and alert throughout the entire 8 hour work day. However, lucky for us all, science has shown us ways to treat our body better than leads to more productive and motivated work days.

Go Outside – Natural sunlight and fresh air stimulates vitamin D production, which is healthy for immune function, mental health and hormonal health. Natural sunlight also signals to your brain that it is daytime. Even if you aren’t up for exercise in the morning, spending a few minutes breathing and stretching in the outdoors helps to improve your mood, lower your stress levels and overall benefit’s your physical health. 

Hydration – Coffee is typically associated with the first drink of the day, but if you listen closely to your body, you might just think differently. We know now that drinking water first thing in the morning not only helps to wake your body up, such as your brain and metabolism, but it also increases productivity and energy levels. 

Protein Snacks – Start your day with a protein smoothie to keep your body energized all day. Nutrient dense and easy to absorb, protein packed snacks help keep the body from crashing mid-day, unlike sugar packed snacks. 

Nutrient-rich Lunch and Dinner – As obvious as it may seem to some, it is always helpful to mention that our food is our fuel. You know the old saying– you are what you eat. Avoid processed foods that contained refined sugar and corn syrup, as well as junk or fast food. Also avoid foods like gluten, dairy, corn, or soy to prevent inflammation. Instead, look to fill your diet with a wide array of vegetables, fruits, high-quality protein, and healthy fats.

Take a Break – If you have been sitting in front of a computer screen, give your eyes a break. Too much screen consumption can worsen fatigue and sleepiness. Stand up, take some breaths, and move your body, whether that be stretches or a quick walk around the room. This helps to improve circulation, improve breathing and ultimately aids mental performance and energy.

Light it up – It sounds like a nice idea to work in the somewhat dark, but the logic doesn’t support it. Environments with dim lighting actually aggravates fatigue and sleepiness. On the other hand, studies have shown that exposure to bright light can increase alertness and reduce sleepiness.