Everyone's had that scary moment at work when they're absolutely terrified that they're about to fall asleep at their desk. For some people (ahem, me), this happens at least once a week; 1 p.m. rolls around, and all of a sudden, your eyelids start to feel too heavy to keep open. Before you know it, you're drooling against your desk, and your boss is standing over you asking if you're ready for that 2 p.m. meeting. If this has ever happened to you, it might be time to pull out the big guns and start eating foods that keep you awake, no matter how poor your sleep was the night before.
Since all foods have a different chemical makeup, it follows that some might be better for your overall energy and wakefulness than others. When you're looking for energy-boosting foods, you want to avoid simple carbohydrates, like pasta, or anything with a ton of sugar that will make you feel really energetic for a short time, then lead to a crash an hour later.
The best, most energizing foods are those that are easily metabolized, and that work to aid you in converting your nutrition into energy, rather than get in the way of that process. Here are eight foods that'll help keep you awake, even after the worst night of sleep ever.
OK, this one's a little bit counterintuitive, but eating a small portion of aged cheese might just perk you up when you need it most. According to Women's Health, an amino acid called tyramine is found in aged or fermented food, and it stimulates the brain to help you feel more awake.
It's the excuse you've been waiting for to start a cheese and crackers club at work — or to just eat it all yourself.
Yes, chocolate might actually be a good snack idea in this scenario, but there's a catch: It has to be dark — very dark. The darker, the better.
According to Shape, dark chocolate is good for energy because of the high cacao concentration, which will help decrease feelings of stress, as well as increase your overall energy levels and your ability to focus. So go ahead — you've earned it (by being exhausted, that is).
The more hydrated you are, the more awake you'll feel, which is why chia seeds are such a great snack option, Greatist reports. Chia seeds can hold up to 10 times their weight in water, which will help you retain the H2O you're already drinking throughout the day. Additionally, chia seeds are filled with protein and fiber, so you'll be sure to get that energy boost without the crash afterward.
According to a 2012 study published in the journal PLOS ONE, bananas give you a better boost in your overall performance and energy levels than a literal energy drink would. Be sure to take one with you to work every day as a strategy to save yourself when you start flagging.
For what it's worth, pears have also been shown to have a similar effect, in case you're getting sick of bananas.
A handful of almonds isn't just the easiest snack you'll ever plan, but it's also a fantastic strategy to stave off fatigue in the middle of the day. According to Harvard Health, almonds are packed with healthy, monounsaturated fats, which will help you keep your energy levels up at a steady pace.
Kale (along with other leafy greens like chard and watercress) is filled with vitamins C and K, as well as calcium and beta-carotene, which all help to keep your energy levels up. Eating a big bowl of kale (maybe with some spinach on top) is an amazing option for both your energy and your tastebuds.
Any excuse to eat something sushi-related is good enough for me. If you're as into Japanese food as I am, then you'll be happy to know that edamame is a great energy-boosting snack for the mid-afternoon slump.
According to Organic Authority, edamame is jam-packed with fiber, folate, and is an unprocessed form of soy, all of which comes together to make an energy-boosting machine.