Five tips against fatigue

Anyone who has had a bad night can sometimes barely open their eyes during the day. But something can be done about it

Do you fall asleep standing up? Simple remedies can help

© Strandperle / Photo Alto / Matthieu Spohn

The eyelids are heavy as lead, you can hardly concentrate, you are on the verge of nodding off - at one o'clock at noon. You may have slept badly, had a too short night, engaged in a monotonous activity, or just ate a lot. Daytime tiredness can have a wide variety of causes.

Here are five suggestions that will bring you back to life:

1. Move

Get up, move around. Go up and down stairs or do some gymnastics. A short walk in the fresh air is even better. "Every external stimulus wakes up the brain," explains Dr. Peter Geisler, neurologist and sleep specialist at the Sleep Medicine Center of the Regensburg District Hospital. Movement is just as stimulating for the brain as, for example, loud music or pinching the skin.

2. Rinse off with cold water

A cold shower in the morning, a few splashes of cold water on your face or a cool arm shower also invigorate - at least for a short time. "These stimuli challenge the brain and wake you up," explains Geisler. Caution: Cold showers are not suitable for some chronic illnesses. If in doubt, ask the doctor beforehand.

3. Breathe in fresh air

Ventilate regularly. It is best to ventilate the room, i.e. open the windows wide for a few minutes. "If cooler air flows into the room, it is a cold stimulus for the body that encourages you," recommends the sleep doctor. If it is stuffy in a room and you have the feeling that the oxygen level is decreasing, then this is not due to a lack of oxygen. "Even in a poorly ventilated room, the oxygen content does not change significantly," says Geisler. It is more like substances that accumulate in the room air, which make you tired and unable to concentrate. Carbon dioxide is used as a guide. The gas in the room air mainly comes from our lungs. Because when we breathe in we take in oxygen and when we breathe out we give off carbon dioxide. Warmth also plays a role. A room appears poorly ventilated if it is too warm. That also makes you sleepy.

4. Drink coffee

Coffee wakes you up. The caffeine it contains works pretty quickly, after just 15 to 30 minutes. Then the effect wears off again. Those who drink coffee every day often react less intensely to the stimulant than someone who only takes a cup occasionally. Important to know: "On average, caffeine has a half-life of three to five hours," says Geisler. This means that after this time, a good half of the ingredients are still in the body. The substance then no longer has a real awakening effect, but can still affect body functions. "If you tend to have insomnia, you shouldn't drink coffee too late in the day," advises the sleep specialist. Coffee or caffeinated drinks in the late afternoon or evening can deprive sensitive people of sleep.

5. Take a short nap

"A short nap is the most effective measure against fatigue," says the Regensburg expert. If you can afford it, then - as the Americans say - have a power nap. When driving a car, such a mini sleep break in the parking lot can even be life-saving. You don't have to step away completely, doze off is enough. "Limit the short sleep to a maximum of 30 minutes," recommends Geisler, "so that you do not fall into deep sleep". According to Geisler, the invigorating effect of a nap lasts for about four to five hours. Important: If you often have trouble falling asleep or wake up at night, you should not take a nap too late. "In any case, don't doze off in front of the television in the evening," as Geisler notes. It may even make more sense to forego sleep entirely during the day.

If you are often tired during the day, you should consult a doctor. Even if you find it difficult to fall asleep or sleep through the night, it is advisable to see a doctor. Maybe it's too much stress or grief to blame. However, you may also have a depressed mood or some other illness that makes you tired.