You Can Stay Alert Without Drinking Caffeine - Try These Science-Based Tricks The Next Time You Feel Tired


Watch cute animals online.

Cats may be unusually lazy, but some people find that their furry antics provide not only a way to boost mood, but to combat sleepiness as well. (Videos of other cute animals could also do the trick, a 2012 study found.)

In a study published in June 2015, which surveyed 7,000 cat video enthusiasts, respondents said that watching internet cat videos raised their energy levels, heightened their feel-good emotions, and minimized their negative feelings, as reported by LiveScience.

The cat video fans said they felt "significantly lower levels of depletion ... and significantly higher energy levels ... after [viewing] than before." One important caveat: The study didn't measure whether the videos actually had those effects, only whether the participants felt that they did.

Increases in oxytocin, a neurotransmitter that heightens feelings of trust and emotion, and decreases in cortisol, a brain chemical linked to stress, have been tied to our in-person interactions with animals; there's a chance similar effects could be at play with our reactions to cute-animal videos, but research is needed to investigate exactly what's going on.

Flickr/ Stephen Mekosh  CC BY 2.0

If all else fails, take a nap.

As long as it's not for too long or too close to bedtime, napping for a brief five to 25 minutes about 6 to 7 hours before you'd normally go to bed is a great way to recharge.

Going much longer than that means the post-sleep grogginess of "sleep inertia" will kick in, leaving you sluggish after you wake. Longer naps — of up to an hour — can sometimes be worth it, as long as you can afford the extra time to push through that groggy after-glow.

A 2008 study found that an afternoon nap was better than both getting more sleep at night and using caffeine to get over a midday slump. Other studies have shown that sleep improves learning, memory, and creative thinking, and even quick six-minute naps help people retain information better than if they hadn't slept at all. "Naps, in contrast to caffeine, have been shown to enhance not only alertness and attention, but also some forms of memory consolidation," University of California–San Diego researchers reported.

John Lambert Pearson/flickr  CC BY 2.0

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Read next on Business Insider: What caffeine does to your body and brain

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