If you’ve ever wondered how to be more alert and focused, this article is for you.
Many of us go through periods where we desire to feel more awake and attentive. For instance, you might be in a meeting and feel concerned about staying focused until it’s over. Or you may need to remain alert for a lengthy drive.
It’s also possible that you have trouble sleeping, making it challenging to function during the day. No matter the cause, there are actions you can take to boost your alertness right away.
How To Be More Alert And Focused:
1. To increase your alertness, you can consider having a cup of coffee, but it’s important to moderate your consumption.
While coffee contains caffeine, which can boost your alertness, consuming too much of it can make you feel sluggish and drowsy. It’s advisable to limit your intake to 2 to 3 cups per day, to avoid being overly jittery or experiencing sleeplessness.
Moreover, people respond to caffeine differently, so if you begin feeling nervous, have an upset stomach, or believe that the coffee is affecting your sleep, it’s best to cut back. Research shows that for healthy adults, consuming up to 400 milligrams of coffee per day, equivalent to around 4 cups, is safe. When you drink coffee, avoid sugary options that will make you feel sluggish once the sugar rush wears off.
2. Staying hydrated is essential to feel more awake and alert, as dehydration can make you feel sluggish.
Therefore, it’s important to drink plenty of water throughout the day. If you start feeling less alert, drinking one to two glasses of water immediately can help you feel more awake. It’s best to avoid sugary drinks like sodas, energy drinks, and sweet juices, which can cause an energy crash once their effects wear off.
3. Deep breathing can help increase your alertness by reducing your heart rate, blood pressure, and improving circulation.
This can enhance your energy level and mental focus. You can try a simple deep breathing exercise anywhere you are, as follows:
Sit up straight and put one hand on your stomach, just below your ribs, and the other hand on your chest. Inhale through your nose, and try to feel your stomach pushing your hand outward, while keeping your chest still. Then, exhale through your lips as if you are whistling. Repeat this exercise for 10 times or as needed.
4. Maintaining good posture is crucial to increase alertness, as slouching or adopting poor posture can lead to fatigue.
It’s essential to ensure that you have an excellent posture whether you’re standing or sitting. When seated, keep your shoulders back, your eyes facing straight ahead, and your back touching the chair. Avoid hunching over your desk or computer, as this can strain your neck and back muscles, and make you feel less alert.
5. Taking a power nap for 10 to 20 minutes can be helpful if you’re feeling groggy and less alert.
It won’t negatively affect your sleep schedule at night, and you should wake up feeling more alert. If you have difficulty sleeping during the day, you can still benefit from resting with your eyes closed for 10 minutes, which can help you recharge and feel more alert.
6. Chewing a piece of gum can be beneficial if you’re struggling to stay alert.
Some studies suggest that chewing gum can help increase your level of wakefulness and energy.
7. Listening to music and singing along can be helpful to increase alertness, especially when you’re at home or driving.
Singing along with music helps regulate your breathing and can provide an energy boost. However, it’s important to be mindful of your surroundings and avoid singing loudly in inappropriate settings, such as a workplace where it may disturb others and cause a noise complaint.
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8. Laughter is not only an effective stress reliever but also can help increase alertness.
If you want to feel more alert, take a break to watch a funny video (1) or spend time with a friend who can make you laugh.
9. Although warm showers or baths can be relaxing, they can also make you feel drowsy and less alert.
To counteract this, consider taking a cold shower for 3 minutes instead. This quick and bracing shower can help you feel more alert and aware immediately.
10. Aerobic exercise can increase blood flow, oxygen levels, and energy to all parts of your body, including your brain, resulting in increased alertness.
In addition, studies have shown that regular aerobic exercise like walking, running, jogging, or cycling can help reverse cognitive decline.
11. Participating in team sports can help you improve your reflexes and concentration, leading to greater alertness.
Even if you’re not an elite athlete, you can still benefit from playing sports like baseball, basketball, tennis, soccer, or football, where you have to be aware of the positions of your teammates and opponents, and keep track of the ball. You can also try less competitive games like kickball or dodgeball if you want to have fun while being alert.
12. Experiment with a different type of exercise to challenge yourself with more intricate movements such as rock climbing, gymnastics, martial arts, pilates, skating, or fencing.
The process of learning and performing new skills can enhance brain function and increase memory power, ultimately leading to improved alertness.
13. Allocating 20 minutes every day to spend outside can increase your energy and alertness.
Engage in activities like walking, jogging or doing your workout routine in your backyard or local park. You could also visit hiking trails or the woods during weekends to spend some time surrounded by nature.
14. Yoga is not just beneficial for toning your body and reducing stress but it also enhances your concentration and focus, making it an excellent exercise to perform when you need to be more alert.
Consider incorporating a yoga routine into your daily schedule to reap the benefits.
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15. According to research, scheduling your workout for the middle of the day can be more effective in boosting your alertness and energy than taking a nap.
16. Ensure that you maintain a regular eating schedule, as irregular eating habits can lead to decreased alertness and a decline in your mood.
Consume nutritious meals throughout the day, and bring along snacks that you can nibble on when you start to feel sluggish. Eating small meals or snacks every few hours can help you maintain high energy levels and uplift your mood. Healthy snack options like yogurt, nuts, fresh fruits, baby carrots, and peanut butter on whole wheat crackers are excellent choices for boosting your energy.
17. Select foods that contain complex carbohydrates.
These types of foods help nourish your brain (2) and leave you feeling more alert. When you are feeling lethargic, consider consuming oatmeal, whole-grain bread, pasta, beans, lentils, and green vegetables.
Avoid sugary foods like cookies and cakes, as they don’t provide lasting energy. Processed and fast foods should also be avoided.
18. Consume foods that are high in antioxidants to help boost your alertness.
Some examples of antioxidant-rich foods include berries like raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries, as well as apples, bananas, leafy greens such as spinach and kale, beans, carrots, and tea, especially green tea.
19. Incorporate Omega-3 fatty acids into your diet to enhance brain function and increase alertness.
Foods such as fish and nuts are great sources of Omega-3 fatty acids.
20. Indulging in a piece of chocolate can also help you feel more alert, as it contains flavonoids that enhance your cognitive abilities.
However, it is recommended to choose dark or bittersweet chocolate over milk chocolate as they contain higher amounts of flavonoids. It is important not to consume too much chocolate at once for the best results.
21. Getting the appropriate amount of sleep is crucial to feeling alert.
Oversleeping or not getting enough sleep can result in grogginess and reduced alertness. Health professionals recommend getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.
Additionally, establishing a consistent sleep routine can be beneficial. Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day to promote better sleep quality and increased alertness during the day.
22. To avoid feeling drowsy or unfocused, it’s important to adjust the temperature in your surroundings.
If the temperature is too high or low, it can affect your ability to concentrate. To increase alertness, try adjusting the temperature by a few degrees.
Studies suggest that the optimal temperature for sleep is around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re unable to control the temperature in your workspace, bring a jacket or sweater to help you stay warm or cool.
23. Having a plant in your home or office can boost your mood and reduce stress levels, leading to increased alertness.
Consider adding a plant to your workspace or living space to help you feel more awake and alert.
24. Allowing natural light into your room can enhance your alertness, as staying in a dim room can interfere with the body’s natural circadian rhythms.
So, try opening the curtains or blinds during the day to let the sunlight in. In case you live in an area with minimal sunlight or during nighttime, switching on lights can also help to increase alertness. Additionally, if you need to be more alert in a meeting, opt for a seat near a window that lets in natural light.
25. Stay away from substances that may impair your alertness.
Drugs and alcohol can hinder your reaction time, dull your responses, and make you feel less alert. If you want to stay focused, attentive, and perform at your best, it’s important to avoid these substances.
26. Develop a habit of reading regularly.
While you might have to read work-related emails and reports, few people read for leisure regularly. Reading requires you to be attentive and focused, so it’s good to pick up a book and start reading.
To start the habit of reading, set a goal of reading one new book each month or every few weeks, and then gradually increase the frequency. Joining or creating a book club is also an excellent way to get into the habit of reading. Discussing books with your book club can improve your cognitive skills and alertness.
27. To enhance your alertness while having fun, consider playing games.
Activities such as chess, word searches, crossword puzzles, and Sudoku can help improve your concentration and memory retention.
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28. You can improve your alertness by creating challenges that require you to focus.
You can come up with simple challenges like counting certain objects, like stop signs or coffee shops, while walking, driving or biking to work or school. Another challenge is to watch a digital clock that shows seconds and identify when it skips a second. You can make this task more challenging by adding distractions such as turning on a radio or television in the background.
29. To combat feeling sluggish and less alert, challenge yourself to think quickly.
There are several simple ways to get started:
- Increase your reading speed to boost alertness.
- Engage in a stimulating conversation about a thought-provoking topic, such as politics.
- Collaborate with classmates or coworkers to brainstorm and plan a project, which can produce a surge of energy.
- Learn about a new and fascinating subject to heighten your level of alertness.
30. Engaging in mindfulness meditation can aid in enhancing concentration and focus to increase alertness.
A simple example of a mindfulness meditation exercise that can be helpful is as follows:
Firstly, select a quiet location with minimal distractions and choose a comfortable yet alert posture. Then, slowly take a deep breath in while being mindful of how the breath feels when it enters your body.
Similarly, while exhaling slowly, pay attention to what it feels like when the breath leaves your body. During this practice, it’s normal to feel distracted, but try to focus solely on your breathing. Noticing when your mind drifts and you become distracted is an important step in training yourself to be more alert. In such instances, do not feel discouraged, instead calmly refocus on your breath.
In summary, to be more alert, one should get the right amount of sleep, establish a sleep routine, adjust the temperature in the room, let the sun shine in, avoid substances that make you less alert, read regularly, play games, create challenges that force you to focus, try to think quickly, and practice mindfulness meditation. All of these techniques help increase focus, concentration, and mental awareness.
Thank you for reading this article about how to be more alert and focused and I really hope that you take action my advice.
I wish you good luck and I hope its contents have been a good help to you.