We know we’re supposed to get a perfectly calibrated amount of sleep every night to perform our best. But late deadlines, howling children or emergencies get in the way. Following, you’ll find 10 ways to stay awake after a late night.
I’m not telling you to fast, you want to keep food in your body. But we humans expend a whole lot of energy during the process of digestion. Simply consuming food can intensify fatigue when trying to stay awake.
Instead of eating large meals, snack on several small snacks throughout the day. You don’t want the sugar spike followed by a crash.
Low carbohydrate fruits like apples, raspberries and grapefruits are great for boosting energy. Meat, bread and dairy will slow you down—better to stick with fruits, nuts and veggies. Spoonfuls of spicy salsa will keep you awake.
Better yet, sunflower seeds. Sunflower seed salt can help stimulate your taste buds and spitting out the shell requires action that can help to keep you awake. Just make sure to spit the seeds as quietly as possible so as to not annoy your coworkers.
A short walk, jumping jacks or push-ups can get your blood moving. Moving blood helps to energize your brain and your body. Outdoors, fresh air can also help to rouse your senses.
Hot, stuffy places speed fatigue. If you need to stay awake, try to find a seat under an AC vent or next to an open window.
Cool it, part two
Splash cold water not only on your face, but also on the pulse area of your wrists. Drinking ice cold water can also help to wake you up.
Perky scents can really help you stay awake. Your sense of smell can work in your favor. For better or worse, strong scents can make you more alert very quickly. Aromatherapists recommend rosemary and eucalyptus to help stimulate the nervous system and leave you feeling less tired. Studies also show that simply smelling peppermint can lessen fatigue by 15 percent, increase alertness by 30 percent and decrease frustration by 25 percent.) Similarly, studies show that simply smelling coffee can help keep you awake.
Keeping your mind busy means you focus less on your fatigue. In a business meeting? Write down everything that is said to help you stay awake. To-do lists or dream planning can also help you stay awake. Motivational videos, texts or songs can also help bump up your energy level. Watch a TED talk, or listen to music that inspires you. Chatting with the coworker that makes you the happiest can also take your mind off your fatigue.
Stay on your feet as much as you can. Have to sit down? Find the least comfortable chair in the office. Sit up straight and don’t rest your head on anything—especially your hands. Like I said before, stay cold. Windows, vents and fans can help keep you awake.
Acupressure offers several points that can help with extreme fatigue. Pulling down on your earlobes can help you stay awake when you’re super drowsy. No one has to know. Using your tongue to tickle the top of your mouth cavity gives you a quick, annoying nerve jolt to help keep you awake.
Acupressure also tells us that massaging any of the following places on your body help to alleviate fatigue.
- Tap the top of your head with your fingers.
- Gently strike the back of your neck with your fingers.
- Tap the back of your hand between your thumb and index finger.
- Tap just below your knees.
Dehydration can cause significant fatigue. Try a glass of cold water—and then another one, to help you maintain alertness. Bonus points for drinking too much? Running to the bathroom often enough will keep you on your feet.
Your body’s circadian rhythms (its internal clock) are regulated by your exposure to light. Natural daylight can help to support that energy. Artificial light can work too, the brighter the better. Even just looking out the window can help with energy levels. Darkness makes you sleepy. Help your fatigue by turning on every light in the room.
A minty mouth
Chew peppermint gum or brush your teeth with minty toothpaste. The flavor/smell combination can help invigorate you. Brushing your teeth won’t rot your teeth and will generate just enough physical activity to keep you awake.
Barring illegal methods, what's your favorite way to stay awake?