Back away from the energy drinks! If you want to short-circuit your slump without feeling wired, you want a smoother, less jolting solution. These eight natural energy lifters are proven to work.
1. Snap open the shades. A jolt of morning light – scientists call it the dawn signal – activates special cells in your eyes that send a wake-up call to your brain's internal clock.
2. Light up your brain at lunch, too. Sitting beside a sunny window for 30 minutes midday makes you more wide awake. In one study, women who did scored better on alertness tests afterward.
3. Top off your tank. Getting to the point where you're just starting to feel thirsty – a mere 2.6% drop in hydration levels – can double your feelings of fatigue. It made study volunteers work twice as hard on a set of brain-teasing puzzles.
4. Squeeze your hand or tap your head. Sounds crazy, but DIY acupressure boosts alertness as effectively as a small cup of coffee, say University of Michigan researchers. Rap your knuckles a few times on the top of your head, squeeze the fleshy pad between your thumb and first finger, or massage the base of your skull and the front of your shins.