Most adults struggle to get out of bed, and spend the first hours of the day with very low energy levels. As a result, some of them turn to coffee to stay awake. But while using caffeine may work for a while, it’s never a good long-term solution: it comes with some nasty side effects, especially if you tend to be anxious, and your body develops a tolerance quickly.
Thankfully, you don’t need caffeine or any other stimulant to have more energy in the morning. In today’s article, we are going to have a look at the best seventeen ways to wake up without coffee, so you can be more productive and more alert naturally. Without further ado, let’s begin:
1. Use essential oils
Surprisingly, certain scents can make you feel energized and wake up faster. Just like the smell of lavender and other soothing essential oils can do wonders for your sleep — the smell of mint, rosemary, clove, orange, or lemon will make it easier to wake up in the morning without coffee.
If you want, you can even use peppermint toothpaste when you brush your teeth, to get an extra kick of energy. Our body naturally reacts to certain smells, and if you use this to your advantage, it can help you start the day without feeling groggy.
2. Improve your mental health
Your mental health should always be a priority, and if you have trouble waking up or focusing in the morning, that’s one more reason to take care of it. Although some people get brain fog and fatigue because of nutrient deficiencies (more on this later), it has been shown that stress and anxiety can significantly affect your energy levels regardless of your diet.
If you lack motivation; if you tend to worry too much about life, or overthink everything; if your stress levels are overwhelming, it’s going to be very difficult for your body and your mind to be alert in the morning. If you improve your mental health, I guarantee you’ll have more energy as well.
3. Eat less sugar
Sugar is extremely addictive, and excessive amounts can lead to health issues such as premature aging, acne, and increased risk of tooth cavities; too much sugar also makes it harder to control food cravings. However there is one side effect of sugar that may be counterintuitive, and it is fatigue.
Though sugar instantly boosts your energy and alertness, it also causes blood glucose fluctuations. In turn, this causes tiredness and mood swings. If you want to have more energy in the morning (and throughout the day), consider eating less sugar so your energy levels are more stable.
I get it: when you wake up, you are tired, and you probably don’t even have time for a full workout. But there’s no need to hit the gym, or go for a thirty minute run — you simply have to move your body, so it releases endorphins and you feel alert naturally.
You can do crunches, pushups, or stretches, but even a short walk outside will do the trick. Just make sure you move your body instead of doing nothing. It may be tempting to just take your time and do everything slowly, but if you want to wake up quickly, that’s not the best strategy.
5. Ensure you are hydrated
This could be the most important tip in this list. Too many people feel tired simply because they are dehydrated, and while it is possible to be dehydrated at any time of the day, it usually happens in the morning.
Depending on how much you sleep, when you wake up your body will have gone through seven to ten hours in which it did not absorb any fluids, and one of the best ways to wake it up is to simply drink warm water. To improve your digestion and get an extra dose of vitamin C, consider drinking warm lemon water with a straw.
6. Go to bed early
Ultimately, if you want optimal levels of energy in the morning, you need to make sure that you sleep enough. You may be able to sleep poorly and still feel alert in the morning once or twice, but it’s not going to work in the long run.
If you want to wake up quickly without coffee, it’s essential that you develop a sleep routine, and stick to it. Don’t eat or drink anything before you go to bed, ensure your room is dark and quiet, and avoid digital screens late at night. You can check out ten key sleep hygiene tips here.
7. Go outside
Just like it’s vital that you avoid blue light at night, so you can fall asleep faster, it’s equally important that you get some sunlight during the day if you want to be alert and perform at your best. So even when it’s cold, or it rains, try to spend some time outside so you can wake up faster.
It’s true that artificial light can wake you up as well, however it won’t be as effective as natural sunlight. Ideally, you want to go outside and exercise (you can do yoga, stretching, or a short walk) so you can move your body and breathe some fresh air at the same time.
8. Do yoga poses
Typically, we associate yoga with relaxation, meditation, and flexibility. But some yoga poses, such as the warrior poses, can help you increase your energy and concentration. So if you don’t want to rely on caffeine to wake up, give them a try.
Alternatively, you can practice “power poses” — a term coined by psychologist Amy Cuddy, who discovered that when your body is in a certain position, your hormones tend to change: for example, your testosterone may go up, and cortisol (the stress hormone) can decrease. It’s not guaranteed, but definitely worth a try if yoga isn’t your thing.
9. Eat fruit
We all know the benefits of adding more fruit to your diet; ideally, you want to eat fruit in the morning as the sugar and vitamins will make it easier for you to wake up (and avoid eating fruit too late so you can fall asleep faster).
You can either eat the whole fruit, add it to your breakfast bowl or yogurt, or drink the juice, which gets digested very quickly. To increase alertness, try juicing apples, pineapple, ginger, or mint. Some people like to have raw juice as soon as they wake up, then eat breakfast half an hour later.
10. Don’t eat too much
To reduce brain fog and inflammation, you may want to try intermittent fasting, in which case you probably have to skip breakfast altogether. If, on the other hand, you need to eat food shortly after you wake up, make sure it’s a light meal.
Your body consumes a lot of energy during the digestive process, so the more fat and the more calories you eat, the more brain fog you will experience, the more you will need to rely on caffeine to wake up. So in general, it’s best to have your main meal in the evening.
11. Wake up early
This depends on your daily routine and what you are supposed to do in the morning. For example, if you need to commute to your workplace for one hour, by the time you’ll get there, chances are you will be fully alert.
But let’s say that you work from home, or you need to attend a meeting, or have an exam, early in the morning: in this case, it would be best to get out of bed at least one hour earlier so your body has time to wake up. Remember, after 8+ hours of sleep you are dehydrated, and it takes at least ten minutes to absorb the water you drink.
12. Get out of bed
Don’t hit the snooze button! It has been shown scientifically that when you wake up naturally (or are woken up by your alarm clock) and go back to sleep, your body goes back into deep sleep — a REM cycle.
In other words, by hitting the snooze button and falling asleep again, your body immediately goes back to sleep mode instead of gradually waking up. So from today forward, try to get out of bed as soon as you hear the alarm clock. It’s hard at first, but eventually it becomes a habit.
13. Drink green tea
If you are used to drinking coffee in the morning, then consider switching to healthier alternatives. Green tea can be an excellent substitute: it contains way less caffeine and comes with some pretty amazing health benefits.
Drinking green tea can lower your “bad” cholesterol levels, suppress your appetite, lower blood pressure, and decrease the risk of heart disease. One of the main reasons is that green tea is loaded with powerful antioxidants that are great for both your mind and your body.
14. Use cold water
If you drink lemon water or green juice in the morning, it’s always best to consume them warm, or at room temperature, so your stomach doesn’t have to heat them up for digestion; and in general, you should avoid cold food as it’s not healthy for you.
However, when it comes to washing your face, or taking a shower, using cold water can be a great way to wake up instantly. If the thought of cold showers sounds terrifying — don’t worry, you don’t have to spend ten minutes under ice cold water; gradually decreasing the temperature right before you stop showering will still work.
15. Create a to-do list
As we saw earlier, your mental health and motivation directly affect your energy levels. And one simple way to increase your motivation, discipline, and determination is to create a to-do list, ideally the night before, so when you wake up you already know what you are supposed to do.
Though some of us prefer to be as organized as possible, and some of us prefer to “go with the flow”, and improvise — most people will definitely notice an increase in productivity and alertness when they start using to-do lists. Give them a try, and see if they help you have energy in the morning.
16. Play a game
Just like it’s important to wake up your body by exercising and being exposed to natural light, you also want to wake up your mind so it gets to work faster.
There’s many different ways you can do this: you can play a game, read a book, or test your vocabulary with crosswords; on some smartphones you can even set the option where you need to solve a puzzle to deactivate the alarm. Whatever you do, make sure it stimulates the brain.
17. Optimize your diet
The last tip to wake up without coffee is to make sure you have a healthy, varied diet. It may sound obvious, but it’s a lot more important than you think. So rather than drinking coffee or using any other stimulants to force your body to wake up — make sure your diet is optimal.
Many people found that their tiredness was mainly caused by what they ate, and didn’t eat. For example, they were constantly dehydrated because they didn’t drink enough water, and ate too much salt; they didn’t eat enough carbohydrates, or were deficient in vitamin B12 or iron. Fix your diet and you’ll notice it will be much easier to wake up.
What is your favorite tip to have more energy in the morning? Let me know by leaving a comment! 👇