Some simple ways to fight off fatigue

SLEEP College students need their rest in order to function.

A student overcome with exhaustion while working. Photo by Keisuke Yoshimura.

Sleep — something college students universally enjoy. It’s also something we all ironically attempt to postpone. Whether it be by a quick run to the Stomping Grounds or Starbucks, or with a Kickstart on the way to class, we are all guilty of trying to get that buzz that’ll keep us awake.

I’m the kind of person who gets sleepy during lectures.

I’m also the kind of person who isn’t partial to coffee unless it has a ton of fluff in it — you know, the tasty creamers and add-ins.

Consequently, I also have a terrible fear of drinking my calories.

This leaves me at a bit of an impasse. To drink the coffee or to not drink the coffee? Luckily I found five decent ways to keep myself awake that don’t force me to consume an extra billion calories a day.

My first solution is all about food.

I’ve found feeling good has a big part to do with what you put into your body. Eating apples are a great source of energy. It’s been said by many that they actually wake you up more efficiently than caffeine does. As an added bonus they have fructose that makes you alert, carbohydrates that won’t let you crash and fiber that keeps you full and focused. Definitely better than coffee. Chocolate is also supposedly a good solution too. I wouldn’t recommend making a meal out of this delicious stuff, but popping a few Dove chocolates before class might just help you out; plus the self-fulfilling words on the wrappers aren’t half bad either.

Don’t forget that your body also is affected by what you consume the night before.

Getting that late night pasta or ordering pizza at 1 a.m. is bound to create some GI tract problems — if you catch my drift. Chances are that the next morning you’ll feel lethargic or bloated. It’s best to stop eating after a certain
hour — say 8 or 9 p.m. — and to stay away from the sodas and sugary stuff. I can guarantee you’ll sleep better, which means you’ll be more awake the next day. As a substitute for the sugary stuff, try sipping on some ice water.

The third caffeine alternative I have is jamming to tunes. I’ve never met a person who could sleep through a rock concert, so why wouldn’t your own personal rock show keep you up? Try waking up with an upbeat song as
your alarm, or listening to music while you get ready for the day. It’ll alert your senses so you’re more awake.

I’ll admit that I haven’t tried this solution yet. It’s something that I’ve only recently learned about, but I’ve been told it works wonders. Smelling salts are used by law enforcement to awaken drunks when they’re passed out,
as well as people who have fainted. Although doing it too often may cause sinus issues, I’d say it would work in a pinch.

Water is the next big one. In addition to the multitude of health benefits we all know about, it can also help keep you awake versus consuming caffeine. Room temperature water might not be as effective, but drinking ice water
will give you a nice temperature shock and alert your system.

You really can’t go wrong with guzzling the stuff, so why not skip the calories and save yourself?

Lastly, we have exercise. If you’re not in a regular exercise routine it might be hard to get into one, but I recommend it.

Yes, it burns calories and keeps you in shape, but that’s not my point. As far as keeping you awake, exercise will get the blood flowing. This is the most important part of keeping you awake. Going for a morning jog around the block can even have its benefits. Exercising or even just stretching will get your circulation system up and running without the need for a caffeine stimulant.

I’m big on sleep, but I hate when it interferes with my day. I also hate drinking extra calories I don’t need. Lately I’ve been more aware of what I’m putting into my body, and I’ve noticed a difference.

I wanted to share a few solutions I’ve found with you, because I have those tired days too. These solutions don’t require you to go to any organic grocery store and pick up the latest number/letter combo vitamin that will instantly cure you of all ailments. They’re simple things we do or consume on a regular basis, but just using them for a specific focus. It’s always nice to know there are healthier alternatives out there, especially ones that keep you awake.

No caffeine needed.

Mary Ochs is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].