Problems getting enough sleep at night often result in a strong desire to nap in the day. But we know that napping, as appealing as it sounds, will only further reduce the sleep drive come night time, adding to difficulty sleeping at night. So, aside from coffee, how do we stay awake and keep ourselves from drifting off during that inevitable mid-day energy drain? Here are a few simple tricks to try:

Go for a walk. Anywhere. It could be around the block, to the office next door, out to check the mail, or even upstairs to “get something you’ve forgotten” (it’s okay to pretend if you haven’t actually forgotten anything – your body won’t know the difference lol). Just getting up and moving around increases blood flow, which means more oxygen to the brain and results in increased alertness.

Turn on some music, the livelier and faster the beat the better. Not only does listening to music increase activity in several different areas of the brain, thereby increasing alertness, but if you start dancing (even if it’s a rockin’ chair dance at your desk or a feisty head bob) your brain will pep up even more as your rate of respiration increases, resulting in more oxygen to the brain.

Turn up the lights. Increased lighting – especially if it’s natural sunlight – increases alertness and wakes up our senses. Whereas darkened rooms and spaces elevate melatonin levels in the brain, signalling sleep, bright open spaces and exposure to sunlight has the opposite effect by resetting circadian rhythms. This will also help get your natural sleep drive back on track and improve night sleep, which means you won’t feel so tired in the day.

So, next time you find yourself struggling with sleep and fighting the daytime nap dragon, try one of these tricks to get yourself back on track.