Malaysians will suffer this World Cup, as game timings are all at midnight, 3am, and 6am. Here are 10 scientifically proven ways to boost your energy levels and stay alert even when you've stayed up all night watching the games:
Come 14th June, non-football fans (do they even exist in this country?) should start observing their fellow colleagues, classmates and friends. As the days pass, you will notice signs and symptoms of Fifasleeplessnitis, a mildly dangerous illness that’ll strike most football followers. Symptoms include severe crankiness, panda eyes, and dozing off by the water cooler. They are also less adept at carrying intelligent conversation, unless it is football related, and are generally not good company.
Fortunately, Fifasleeplessnitis is not contagious, and you need not worry about catching it. As a friend however, you should help your comrades out. If you’re an employer, share this with your employees to keep them functional during World Cup season.
Fifa-followers, here’s your action plan to staying awake, functional and energised throughout the FIFA World Cup 2014:
1. Power nap during the day
Sleep experts claim that a 10-20 minute power nap can get you up and running again when you’re all out of energy. Even if you didn’t stay up the entire night watching football, this Berkeley study shows that napping for an hour in the afternoon dramatically boosts and restores brain power. If your boss is understanding (and perhaps a football fan like you), he’ll allow time for naps in the afternoon during FIFA season, if not, you can always fit in a 20-minute nap during lunch hour.
2. Take breaks
If you just keep sitting at your desk typing away at your computer, your brain would probably shut down after a while and go into screensaver mode. Take short breaks, walk to the water cooler, or chat with your crush in the office. Go water a plant or do 10 jumping jacks. Take little breaks throughout the day and you’ll realise the work day goes by easier and you’re also more productive. Sometimes sitting around mulling over something isn’t going to get it completed.
3. Jump in a cold shower
You know how sometimes you feel sleepy and you splash your face with cold water and immediately feel awake after? Cold showers can give you a quick burst of energy the same way. In fact, researchers say if you take a shower at 20 degrees Celsius for 3 minutes twice daily, you can possibly reduce fatigue. So start with a cold shower when you wake up!
4. Stay away from energy drinks
Red Bull might get very tempting after a week or two of staying up late, but it is probably not a good idea. Researchers suggest that while you might get a sudden energy burst from all the sugar in energy drinks, you’ll come crashing right down shortly after. It’s better to get your caffeine fix in the form of a black coffee, and not too much of that either.
5. Drink lots of water
Since your brain is made up from mostly water, it’ll probably not function very well if you’re dehydrated. When you find yourself yawning away, trying drinking a few glasses of water, and keep sipping away throughout the day.
You might call us crazy or evil for suggesting exercise when you’re already drained out, but we have science backing us. Research shows that regular exercise may help boost energy levels in those suffering from fatigue. What are you waiting for? Slip on your trainers and go for a jog!
7. Keep the lights on
Darkness increases natural melatonin production which contributes to the zzzs. Because our bodies haven’t evolved to the point where we can tell the difference between sunlight and artificial light, keeping your lights on can make your body think it needs to be awake. Bright lights stimulate your circadian system and increase alertness at night.
8. Skip the unimportant games and get a full night’s sleep
I know, I know, there’s no such thing as an unimportant game… but lack of sleep is never a good thing. Giving up your ZZZs can lead to impaired concentration, accidents, and in the long-term, scary things like heart disease and (gasp!) lack of sex drive. You really don’t have to see it all. Hard as it is to do so, try recording some of the less exciting games for the next day and go to sleep instead.
9. Do microtasks
It’s easy to doze off at work if you keep doing the same thing. It’s also easy if you are handling something really difficult and your mind just wanders off, eventually to dreamland. Try taking 5-10 minutes away from your real job to complete a tiny task. It could be doodling something cute, or any small project that you can finish quickly. This stimulates your brain and gives you immediate fulfillment so your cogwheels get moving again.
10. Chew gum
You know why Sir Alex Ferguson is always caught chewing away on camera? It keeps him alert, that’s why! When you chew gun, it induces an increase in alertness, and could lead to improvements in cognitive performance. Another study found that it could help you concentrate longer and focus on tasks that require continuous monitoring. Like managing a football team, or managing your fantasy football team.
Non Science-Backed Bonus
11. Blast out loud music and sing along
Listen to Waka Waka because that’s better than this year’s World Cup song (seriously!) and sing along as loud as you can. Nothing improves mood more than shouting along to your favourite music.
Good luck, and may the best team win!
Which country do you think has the best chance of winning the World Cup 2014? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below or on our Facebook page!