Have you ever felt so tired that you feel you could sleep for one whole week? You might have gotten this feeling after logging extra hours at the office preparing for a big presentation for a very important client, or sleeping late because your youngest is sick and fussy. You are not alone. Every hardworking mom gets to experience having the less-than-ideal number of sleep hours from time to time.
That doesn’t mean that you go through the rest of the week feeling like a zombie. While it is still highly recommended to get your forty winks to feel refreshed and energized the next day, here are surefire ways to help you fake awake when you’ve pulled out an all-nighter the day before.
Power-pack your breakfast. Our bodies need fuel to function, and skipping the most important meal of the day can be bad news, especially when you’re short on sleep. Start your day with breakfast that is power-packed with the right amount of nutrients to keep you energized throughout the day.
Have a cup of java. Coffee has the stimulant caffeine, which can help you get that much-needed jolt of energy. “I drink a cup of coffee to keep the creative juices flowing especially if I’ve had less than six hours of sleep. My son is 3 years old so it’s quite hard to put him to sleep at night,” says Sai Sayson Montes, mom of one, blogger, and makeup artist.
Go and take the window seat. Sitting close to the windows might help you stay awake and alert during a long meeting. “Since I am a work-at-home mom, it’s always very tempting to work in bed, especially when I didn’t get to sleep well the night before. To help me stay alert, I moved my work desk in front of our living room window. Seeing our garden and feeling the sun’s rays on my face while working on an article keeps me wide awake,” says Margie Reyes, an online writer and mom of one.
Rethink your snack options. Replace your usual 3 p.m. candy bar with a whole-grain peanut butter sandwich. The sugar in the candy bar might give you a quick energy fix, but you’ll experience a sugar crash soon after. “I’ve replaced my usual merienda of cake or donuts and iced caramel coffee with healthier alternatives, such as homemade trail mix or whole wheat sandwiches. Preparing them is not a problem for me since I make baon for my kids and husband as well. Almost immediately after I started with my ëhealthified’ merienda, I feel more awake and energized for the rest of the work day,” says Rina de Villa, a marketing officer and a mom of two.
Go out and take a walk. It might sound counter-intuitive, but in order to get an energy boost, you have to do the very thing you don’t feel like doing when you’re tired: keep moving. According to a Harvard Medical School Health Report, regular exercise can lift your mood, and an improved mood in itself can be an energy booster. Mom of three and tech support supervisor Emi Maderazo says, “I like walking around our subdivision for about 20-30 minutes every other afternoon after work. It gives me time to relax and get my mind off work. Surprisingly, the walks have given me more energy to help my kids with homework, even when I’ve had a long day or when I lack sleep!”
Squeeze in a workout. Maybe you’ve slouched over your desk for four hours straight, so you have this overwhelming urge to sleep. Get a quick energy boost by doing a quick workout or a few stretches to shake up your blood flow and keep you alert. Try this quick 4-minute workout by fitness advocate Coach Jim Saret with your office seatmate to keep your energy level up and torch calories along the way:
Plank (30 seconds)
Assume the push-up starting position with your hands on an exercise ball or a yoga mat, then bend your elbows so you rest your weight on your forearms. Tighten your core. Hold the position for 30 seconds.
Seal Jacks (20 reps)
Start with your arms locked out and positioned straight in front of you. When you jump, spread your feet and arms to the side at the same time. Land on your feet and jump back to starting position. Do 20 reps.
Squats (20 reps)
Stand tall with your feet hip width apart in front of a chair (preferably without wheels, so you don’t slip, or you can take turns with your seatmate—she can hold the chair steady while you do the squats). Lower your body to a sitting position by pushing your hips back and bending your knees to “sit” on the chair. Pause, then lift back up to starting position. Do 20 reps.
Lateral Arm Raises with Band (20 reps)
Stand on a resistance band, and grasp the ends with both hands. Your hands should be resting on the sides of your thighs. Pull the resistance band up by lifting your arms to the sides, until your arms are parallel to your shoulders. Pause for a second at the top of the movement, then lower your arms back to starting position. Repeat 20 times.
Take five and smell some peppermint. Your boss might be impressed that you’ve sat in front of your computer and worked non-stop all day—and all night—but when you stop to think about it, it’s you who suffers. Boost your energy by taking a quick break after every task, find your quiet spot in the office, and get a whiff of peppermint. According to the Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research, peppermint oil is a natural stimulant that may help increase your ability to concentrate; it may also help fight off sleepiness during the day.
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