Coffee perks you up. Nobody’s denying that. The issue is
that reliance on coffee in the morning has negative
repercussions throughout the day.
For instance, coffee contains a negligible amount of
calories, which means a coffee breakfast results in low
blood sugar mid-morning.
Apples, however, have about 116 calories alongside
carbohydrate energy (which perks you up without letting
you down in an hour). Apples also contain three types of
sugar (sucrose, glucose, and fructose). Sucrose and
glucose give you that early pep, and fructose takes
longer to digest, resulting in longer-lasting zip.
While green tea does contain caffeine, there’s
substantially less than coffee, which means you won’t
get the jittery, slightly anxious side effects you may with
One recent study published in the journal
Psychopharmacology also found green tea is effective at
improving memory, cognition and boosting mental
A 2011 Swedish study published in the Journal of
Occupational and Environmental Medicine showed that
physical activity during the workday increased
A 2013 study in the British Medical Journal found that
even short bursts of physical activity (like 15 to 20
minutes) resulted in improved blood flow and
concentration. Improved productivity lasts for 2-3 hours
Eating breakfast stimulates your metabolism and makes
you less likely to overeat later in the day (avoiding the
typical post-lunch hour of uselessness).
Sure that morning jolt of caffeine can give you a boost,
but so can foods rich in vitamin B such as oatmeal,
bananas, pineapple, and avocados. Having a good source
of vitamin B in the morning can also improve your
concentration and help you think more clearly.
One 2011 study from the University of Illinois showed
prolonged attention to a single task hindered
performance whereas brief diversions that deactivate
and reactivate mental resources improved participants’
ability to focus.
Get up. Swing your arms. Go for a short walk. Talk to a
colleague about something unrelated to work. Get a
green tea. Clear your mind and come back rejuvenated
(even if it’s only a few minutes).
Dark chocolate contains a small amount of caffeine to
heighten mental alertness, but it also stimulates the
release of serotonin; feel-good endorphins which
heighten your mood.
A 2007 study from the University of Nottingham found
drinking cocoa rich in flavonoids (a key ingredient in dark
chocolate) boosts blood flow to key areas of the brain
for two to three hours which can help increase
performance and boost general alertness.
Is your business trying to save money? Turning down the
heat, it seems, isn’t the answer.
Cornell University researchers found employees working
in offices with a temperature of 68 degrees committed
44% more errors and were less than half as productive as
employees working in a warm office (of 77 degrees).
When the body’s temperature drops, it uses up energy to
stay warm. This leaves the brain with less energy to
concentrate or to be creative. If you can’t raise the office
temperature, be sure to pack a sweater or get a space
It doesn’t really matter what coffee substitute you
choose (and there are dozens). The point is to give
yourself something caffeine-free that tastes like coffee
This works to perk you up because there’s evidence that
the primary effect of coffee is placebo. Whether it’s
smell, heat, taste or timing, it’s entirely possible that
your body’s reaction to your daily cup of joe is all in your
Yerba mate, the herbal tea-like drink popular in South
America and startups worldwide has a bit of caffeine,
and a lot of “mineral components” which (depending on
who you talk to) may improve awareness and mental
Yerba mate also has the benefit of faintly resembling
coffee (which may impact the placebo effect mentioned
just a second ago).
We all know that lack of sleep has long-lasting
repercussions. The National Sleep Foundation
recommends 7-9 hours per night, as less has been proven
to increase the likelihood of mistakes, make it difficult to
focus and lower productivity to the tune of $1,967 per
employee per year.
But If 8 hours isn’t possible, a solid power nap in the
middle of the day is a good place to start. A study from
NASA showed that even 26 minutes of shut-eye
improves performance by 34% and alertness by 54%. A
2008 study showed a nap is even more powerful than
caffeine when it comes to boosting learning capacity and
Laughter reduces endorphins, which (alongside making
us happy) are responsible for lowering stress levels.
Laughter also stops the flow of cortisol, dopac and
epinephrine (the stress hormones).
Laughter also triggers the chemical catecholamine,
which enhances awareness.
And it doesn’t matter if we’re laughing at a hilarious joke
or faking a guffaw at an anecdote our CEO has told a
million times. As far as our brain’s concerned, laughter is