5 Easy Ways To Wake Up Without Coffee

12/16/2013 06:57 am ET | Updated Sep 23, 2015
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There's no time of year we love to sleep in more than winter. Colder temps, shorter days, and a later sunrise make it all too tempting to stay in bed and put off the start of your day.

You may notice yourself relying on coffee more than ever to shake off the morning grogginess. Yet you still may find yourself feeling lethargic. In fact an estimated 54 percent of American adults drink at least a cup of coffee a day. And get this -- a survey of over 7,000 adults by Le Meridien Hotels found more people would choose coffee over sex first thing in the morning!

While we can't deny we love the soothing, crisp aroma, and get the bulk of our antioxidants from our daily java jolt, the caffeine could actually be making you feel pretty lousy. Though caffeine serves up an initial dose of alertness, too much caffeine can cause sleep disturbances, irritability, and even anxiety. So if you're on the hunt for something to perk you up without causing jitters or if you need to cut your costly Starbucks habit, here are some quick, easy ways to wake up without the coffee.

  • Get some sun
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  • When your alarm goes off at the crack of dawn, it's tempting to curl up deeper into your blanket and avoid drawing the shades. But a burst of sunlight tells your brain it is indeed time to wake up and start the day. A study at the University of Liege found people who were exposed to bright light early in the morning were more alert and had increased activity in the parts of the brain responsible for cognitive processes. An added perk: getting early morning rays will not only help wake you up but will help you sleep better through the night, meaning you wake up better rested. Win-win.
  • Massage Your Pressure Points
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  • Have you ever found yourself massaging your temples during that mid-afternoon slump? Turns out a similar technique could be effective in boosting your morning alertness. A University of Michigan study found simple self-acupuncture treatments can help with lessening fatigue. The study had volunteers stimulate five pressure points on the body for three minutes each: the top of the head, the point between your thumb and index finger, right below the center of the knee cap, below the ball of the foot, and the base of your neck.
  • Cool off
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  • We're all a little dehydrated when we wake up and even a small drop in hydration can significantly increase your feelings of fatigue. Hydrate with ice cold water to help get the morning adrenaline flowing and beat tiredness, doctors suggest. If you're brave enough, try ending your shower with water that's slightly cooler than comfortable, which doctors say can help with alertness. Dr. Oz. also suggests the ayurvedic practice of "ishnan." Dip some bath mittens in ice cold water and rub your arms, legs, and feet for two minutes. Dr. Oz says this will help bust any energy-sapping toxins and boost circulation.
  • Get moving
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  • After a night of slumber, blood pools up unevenly through your body, making for poor circulation. Start your morning off with a morning walk to get the endorphins flowing and your blood pumping. Psychologist Thomas Plante even says it could be as effective as a espresso in waking you up, according to NBC. Or, if you've overslept and are crunched for time, try some simple exercises at home. As soon as you get out of bed, try squatting with your chest to your knees, Dr. Oz suggests. Jump up quickly and the rapid movement will help rebalance any pooled blood and quicken blood flow to your brain and heart.
  • Fuel up
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  • Breakfast sets the tone for your day...skip it and you're already off to a bad start. After several hours of rest, eating a nutritious breakfast helps boost your metabolism, gives you energy, and helps with concentration. Studies have shown eating breakfast helps children have better concentration, memory and achievement in school than their meal-skipping peers. Skipping breakfast also makes you more likely to snack on junk foods with little nutritional value, making your energy levels slump during the day. Try a protein-rich breakfast, like greek yogurt, to help keep you fuller, longer. A piece of fiber-rich fruit, like an apple, can also help keep you satisfied through the morning.

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