Always Sleepy? Try these 15 Foods to Keep You Awake

It’s the time of the day when you really need to get something done BUT your sleepiness decides to betray you again, you know, just to make your life harder. Whenever this happens, it’s the worst feeling ever and it totally sucks!

Sleep is usually treasured by us, but when sleepiness starts to annoy us during the day, it starts to become an annoying problem that needs to be dealt with.

It’s definitely normal to feel sleepy sometimes, but there are some of us who just feel way more sleepy than the average person – to the point that it starts to slow us down and affect our productivity. Now we’re not talking about people who get less sleep at night and then end up losing their cognitive abilities during the day. Rather, we’re referring to those sleepy people that get all the sleep they need but still end up feeling sleepy multiple times during the day. If this sounds like you, then you surely would want to know how to fix this annoyance.

Turns out, the problem is usually in our diet.  If you’re getting enough sleep but still feel sleepy during the day, your diet may be to blame. Unlike other factors such as genetics that may also cause sleepiness, diet is something we can actually control.

Note that one other common reason for sleepiness is lack of exposure to sunlight during the day. You need to be exposed to natural light to let your body know it’s daytime and you need to wake up already. Make sure you keep this in check first.

Luckily, there are some common foods that can easily help us stay awake and energized throughout the day. Try these 15 healthy foods to keep you awake and energized. Don’t worry, they’re all yummy and healthy 🙂 You don’t need to be eating ALL of them, just test out which ones work the best for you!

And sorry to all the coffee lovers reading this, you won’t find coffee or any caffeine-containing foods/drinks on this list. Resorting to coffee (or caffeine in general) to keep you awake is a temporary cure and is not recommended. It may be effective, but it isn’t healthy nor is it natural.

Tip: Feel free to bookmark this page so you can have some food options to look at whenever you’re sleepy 🙂

Here goes…

1. Bananas

banana_food to keep you awake

Bananas are hands down one of the most energizing fruits that mother nature has to offer. Eating this potassium-filled fruit will give you loads of energy and keep you awake for several hours.

Ever seen athletes on TV grabbing Bananas during their breaks? They do this because of the mental and physical energy boost that Bananas provide. Yes, bananas are also excellent brain food. They help you focus and concentrate much more, basically allowing you to recruit more mental prowess. If you have a big exam coming up, a Banana prior to the exam can keep you at your best.

You can eat them at any time of the day, but the best time for most people is usually mid-day. Since your breakfast provides you with sufficient energy to start your day, having a Banana around lunch time will keep you focused for the rest of the day whether you’re at work or in school.

Also, Bananas don’t have to be boring. If you don’t like eating them in their raw form, you can always get creative and consume them in the form of shakes or smoothies!

2. Oatmeal

oatmeal__foods to keep you awake

The world will forever be grateful to the person who invented oatmeal. There’s a reason why oatmeal is such a popular breakfast staple in many households. Oatmeal and the whole grains that come with it have a lot of good fiber and carbohydrates to offer to your body. These carbohydrates are slowly released throughout the day keeping you energized for a long period of time. This is also why the best time to have oatmeal is in the morning.

Oatmeal is extremely healthy as well, not only does it come with good calories and carbs, but it also has loads of fiber which keeps you lean and healthy. Days that begin with oatmeal in breakfast are often way more productive and active than days that begin with any other breakfast. If you want a quick yet healthy breakfast, oatmeal is the way to go.

Some of us may not like the plain oatmeal taste. If you can’t bear that plain bland taste, you can always opt to add in fruits or get a pack of flavored oatmeal instead. Eating oatmeal is super convenient as well – the fact that you can eat it (or even drink it) however you want is very appealing to the modern human. Heck, you know what gives you more energy than oatmeal? BANANA-flavored oatmeal!

3. Citrus Fruits

oranges_food to keep you awake

Citrus Fruits such as Oranges have two things going for them aside from their pleasant scent: Vitamin C and Sugar. Both of these help you stay awake and alert. Also, while they don’t technically belong to citrus fruits, Pineapples are also packed with Vitamin C and energy-boosting nutrients.

The sugar from these fruits will give you an energy burst but it won’t affect your glucose levels as much as candies, which means you won’t experience that ridiculously annoying crash after the energy burst. Not only will the Vitamin C in citrus fruits boost your immune system to keep you immune to illness, it’ll also help convert your fat stores to energy making you more alert.

Fruits can be consumed at any time of the day, but you will get the most efficient energy boost if you have them during breakfast. Citrus fruits, in particular, are extremely light on your appetite so you can eat them generously without feeling full. Due to all the juice present in these fruits, they also do a good job of keeping you hydrated.

Hopefully, that’s enough reason to convince you to eat your fruits! Get some citrus fruits in your daily diet and you’ll be surprised at how healthy you will feel.

4. Fish

salmon_food to keep you awake

In terms of nutrition, Fish is absolutely full of wonder. This white meat is highly beneficial for your brain, bones, muscles, skin, and even your hair. Fish is an excellent brain food and it is one of the healthiest superfoods too. In fact, if you decided to live your life eating only one kind of meat, Fish would definitely be the healthiest option.

What powers Fish is the high amount of Omega-3 fatty acids and Protein in itProtein offers a slow energy release which keeps your mind alert for a long period of time. Omega-3 fatty acids are absorbed by the body’s muscles and tissues increasing the available energy in the body.

Most Fish are healthy and you can’t really go wrong with a particular kind of Fish. That said, Salmon is generally known as the most nutrient-packed fish, but it’s the most pricey as well. You can consume Fish at any time of the day and in any amount really, it’s that healthy.

5. Eggs

eggs_food to keep you awake

If fish is arguably the king of superfoods, eggs would definitely come close. Eggs are relatively low in calories and high in Protein and Choline (an essential B Vitamin).

Eggs are known as the secret food of champions and rightly so. They give you the power and energy to face and conquer your day, both physically and mentally. Protein takes care of the physical aspect while Choline boosts your metabolism and nervous system function, keeping your brain clear of anxious thoughts and alert.

The best thing about eggs is the ease with which you can eat them. You can prepare eggs in many forms, whether it is hard-boiled, poached, omelet, or scrambled. Scrambled egg is the fastest way to cook eggs, and for many, the most delicious as well.

In fact, some say that eating two eggs a day every day will make you immune to most common illnesses out there!

6. Green Vegetables

green vegetables_food to keep you awake

Leafy greens may be the worst nightmare for many, but let’s face it, they’re extremely healthy for your body and may potentially be a cure for your sleepiness too!

You know what they say:

Foods that don’t taste good on your tongue are usually really good for the body.

Most green vegetables are nutrient-packed with high amounts of Folate, Zinc, Fiber, Vitamin C and Vitamin K that help boost energy in your brain and body to keep you awake, alert and focused.

Leafy greens also have lots of other benefits to your body and regularly eating green vegetables can even increase life expectancy. So don’t forget to eat your greens!

7. Almonds and Walnuts

almonds_food to keep you awake

Almonds and Walnuts are usually known for their reputation for being brain foods due to the high levels of Omega-3 present in them. For the same reason, they tend to be great energy boosters.

Keep a pack of almonds or walnuts near you so you can passively munch on them when you’re bored or hungry. Regularly consuming these nuts will keep your cognitive abilities at their best more often than not. So not only do these nuts help you avoid drowsiness, but they also make you smarter at the same time!

You may have noticed from the list so far that it is the brain foods are usually the ones effective in combating sleepiness during the day.

8. Peanuts

peanuts_food to keep you awake

If you want a yummier and cheaper alternative to the previously mentioned almonds and walnuts, consider stocking up on peanuts to keep you awake.

Like most nuts, peanuts are also high in Protein and Omega-3. So they tend to offer slow releases of energy throughout the day. This makes peanuts a very convenient yet functional snack.

You should be careful though to not eat too many peanuts in a day. Reason being, peanuts are rich in oils that can prove annoying for your throat or skin. Also, peanuts are a known allergen so never consume them if you have any sort of allergies to nuts.

9. Avocados

avocados_food to keep you awake

You may already know that the Avocado is a superfood with so many health benefits. There are just too many benefits of the Avocado that it would be impossible to list all of them here, go to this article to see all the benefits.

Avocadoes contain generous amounts of Fiber, Potassium, healthy fats, Vitamin C/D/A/K, Folate, Iron, Zinc and many more nutrients. Seriously, what more can anyone ask for from a food?!

But the Avocado is on this list not because it can help reduce the risk of many diseases but because it also helps to keep you awake and energized. Avocadoes are low in calories but high in nutrients making it the perfect recipe for increasing metabolism to keep you lean and active. You’ll never feel at a loss of energy if you regularly eat Avocadoes.

The best way to eat Avocadoes is not to eat them, but to drink them. Yes, Avocado smoothies are incredibly delicious thanks to the naturally creamy yellow flesh inside Avocadoes.

10. Pasta

pasta_food to keep you awake

Pasta is loaded with carbohydrates which means it’s an excellent source of energy. Including a serving of pasta in your meals is an easy and convenient way to keep you full and at the same time energized for the day.

Pasta is basically carbohydrates and doesn’t really have other nutrients. That’s not to say that it’s unhealthy or anything. Even if it’s just plain carbs, pasta is delicious and it does a good job of keeping you awake.

The best time to have pasta is during lunch, most people prefer to have it for lunch anyway. You can also have it for breakfast, but there are healthier options that should be reserved for breakfast. It tends to be rather heavy for dinner.

11. Sugarcane Juice

sugar-cane_food to keep you awake

Sugarcane juice is a popular drink during the summer because of how well it quenches your thirst and leaves you refreshed. This delicious drink hydrates you even better than water. It gives you that instant kick of energy and doesn’t let your mind crash afterward as coffee would.

And unlike normal sugar, sugar cane juice is really healthy. It is packed with alkaline nutrients like iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium which make it good for your digestive system and musculoskeletal system.

Don’t hesitate to drink sugar cane juice thinking that it’s unhealthy like sugar because it’s not. So go ahead and grab a glass of chilled sugar cane juice to revitalize yourself.

You can also eat sugar cane as a whole if you don’t like its juice, but that would just be harder and weird.

12. Corn

corn_food to keep you awake

Compared to other common sources of carbohydrates such as rice, pasta, or mashed potatoes, Corn is the healthiest and most nutritious of them all. It helps you stay alert and energized thanks to its high concentration of fiber and carbohydrates.

Also, corn is not just plain carbohydrates. It contains various antioxidants that help boost the immune system and reduce the risk of heart disease and various cancers. It should be the preferred choice of carbohydrates in any meal.

And yes, the same can be said about popcorn. So if you don’t want to doze off during a boring movie, some popcorn would probably be of good help 🙂

13. Dark Chocolate

dark chocolate__food to keep you awake

Dark chocolate is a very powerful brain food that boosts cognitive function which helps you stay awake. If you don’t like dark chocolate, then too bad for you, because you won’t get the same positive effects with any other kind of chocolate.

Yes, dark chocolate is special in that regard. In fact, dark chocolate is unique in that it is actually healthy unlike white or milk chocolate.

What makes dark chocolate healthy are its antioxidants that can help fight and prevent many diseases. We’re not talking about dark chocolate that’s mixed with sugars and sweetened milk, but the pure dark chocolate. The more pure and dark the chocolate is, the better it is for your brain and body.

However, just like you should with any other food, be mindful that you consume dark chocolate in moderation since it’s relatively strong.

14. Water

water_food to keep you awake

Okay, we know this one isn’t a food, but water is extremely important to keep you awake.

Why? because it hydrates you.

Hydration is the primary pre-requisite to staying awake and focused. Even if you eat all the foods above but you’re not hydrated, you will feel sleepy. So make sure that you keep hydrated throughout the day. Your body really needs water to function properly.

Lack of water will also take its toll on your mind. You may have noticed that you can’t think properly when you’re dehydrated. Remember that water is H2O, and the “O” there is Oxygen. Your brain needs enough supply of oxygen to function properly. This is the same reason why exercising outdoors is good for your brain and makes you smarter.

15. Chewing Gum

chewing-gum_food to keep you awake

We’re down to the last one and your face is probably broken right now wondering why the hell is chewing gum on this list. Yes, we know it’s not even a food.

Chewing gum is your last resort. If you’ve made the necessary changes in your diet with the listed foods but still happen to be a sleepy head, then chewing gum can possibly save you.

When you chew gum, you’re constantly exercising your jaw and face muscles which keep the blood flow moving in the head (and the brain). This is why it is very difficult to fall asleep while chewing gum. The more sleepy you are, the faster and harder you should chew, and you will slowly ward off the sleepiness.

Chewing gum can be your secret weapon to not falling asleep on those extremely boring seminars, classes, or talks.

All this may sound funny, but it really works! So if all else fails, chewing gum can be your savior in keeping you awake and alert!

There you have it, add these foods to your diet and you will surely feel more active than before.

One thing must be mentioned at this point. Some people try to get more and more sleep to fix their sleepiness. It does not work that way, in fact, oversleeping can make the case worse and make you even more sleepy! So just get enough sleep and eat well, and you’ll be energized to face life.

If you know any other foods that can increase alertness and energy, let us know in the comments!

What’s the fun in living stronger alone? If you found this article useful, go ahead and share it with the people you care about! Let’s live stronger together!

2 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Clifton Santillan September 16, 2018
  2. Avatar
    foloren torium February 12, 2019

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