Who hasn’t been in a situation where they were unable to get enough sleep? Factors like work, school, projects, or social engagements can make sacrificing a proper night of sleep completely necessary. Staying up for extended periods of time can take a toll in the long term, but in the short term, it can be ok provided you know how to minimize the damage and make yourself feel more comfortable. While there are supplements and stimulants that can make staying up late an easier task, this article will mainly focus on natural, readily available remedies. Here are some tips to help you stay awake more easily when late night fatigue starts to set in.
How to Stay Awake More Easily
As frequently as you can, get up and move around, even if it’s just a stroll around your apartment or a quick walk outside. Drinking a soda or eating a sugary snack will give you a boost of energy, but it will come at the expense of a harsh sugar crash. If you’re up late working on something, it may seem hard to give yourself enough time to fit a little exercise in. However, even a few minutes of movement will get oxygen pumping around your body, promoting wakefulness. As a bonus, you’ll also give your eyes a rest from your computer screen, phone, book, or whatever you’ve been looking at. This will also help you to feel more rested.
Get Extra Sleep Beforehand
If you’re going to be trying to stay awake for an uncomfortable amount of time, planning ahead as much as you can is always a good call. Obviously it isn’t always possible, but try to get an hour or two of extra sleep the night before you’ll be staying up late. This rings especially true if you’ll be staying up to perform any sort of mental task. Your mental capacities start decreasing as soon as your body feels deprived of sleep. An extra hour or two of sleep the night before can provide you with a buffer as the night moves on.
Take a Nap
Taking a small sleep when you’re tired seems like obvious advice, but there is a real nuance to what kind of nap will serve you best. If you allow yourself to sleep long enough to enter REM sleep, you’ll wake up feeling groggy and possibly be worse off than before the nap. If you’re fighting a losing battle against fatigue, set an alarm (more than one if you’re a heavy sleeper) for somewhere in the range of ten to thirty minutes. Lately, some people have been advocating for what is called a “coffee nap.” This is when you drink a cup of coffee, and then immediately lay down for a short nap. The effects of the coffee will start to kick in just as you’re waking up from the short nap. Some people think taking a coffee nap can be more effective than just taking a nap or drinking a coffee on their own.
Eat Multiple Light Meals
When you’re in a difficult situation, it can be tempting to overeat out of stress. When you’re trying to stay up late, it’s wise to avoid large meals as they’ll lead to a feeling of lethargy and sleepiness. Avoid excess carbohydrates as well. While they’ll provide you with a burst of energy at the beginning as they’re converted to sugar by your body, this initial spike will be followed by a crash. Instead, eat food that is high in protein. Sugar is helpful for staying awake, but too much highly-refined sugar may start to make you feel nauseous, especially when paired with the lack of sleep. Instead, eat fruit or other food with natural sugars that will provide you with energy without the bad feeling in your stomach as the night wears on.
Bright and Uncomfortable
This isn’t the most pleasant of advice, but it’s necessary. When you’re trying to stay up as late as you can, you won’t want to be sitting in a comfortable chair that you could easily fall asleep in. Sit somewhere that requires you to sit up straight and would be uncomfortable if you were to fall asleep. Also, keep the room a little bit brighter than you would usually. This will keep your eyes from getting too comfortable, which should lessen your urge to sleep.
Try to Enjoy Yourself
This might seem to run contrary to the previous advice. After all, how can you enjoy yourself while sitting in an uncomfortable chair in a room that is too brightly lit. What “enjoy yourself” means is that, as much as possible, you should treat yourself while putting yourself through sleep deprivation. Listen to your favourite albums and eat your favourite food. Call up your best friend for a short chat. Surrounding yourself with things that you enjoy should put you in a better mood, making it easier to deal with the negative feelings that arise with a lack of sleep.
Drink Coffee Wisely
Few things provide more late night comfort than a pot of coffee. However, many of us have experienced the dreadful sensation of drinking too much coffee. Dizziness, headache, nausea, and a racing pulse can all come after drinking too much java. Those feelings can be compounded by a night of staring at a computer or textbooks, causing blurred vision and restlessness. Instead of drinking a big coffee all at once, have several smaller coffee drinks throughout the night. After each coffee, have a glass of water. This will keep you hydrated, as coffee itself makes the body more dehydrated, which results in fatigue. By drinking smaller amounts of coffee over a long period, interspaced with glasses of water, you’ll get the rejuvenating qualities of coffee with less of the negative effects. In a similar vein, it’s probably a good idea to avoid alcohol if you’re planning on staying awake for long periods. While alcohol can provide feelings of energy or excitement, the negative effects usually outweigh the positive. Alcohol comes with decreased clarity, worsened judgement, and a sense of drowsiness. All of these are symptoms you’ll want to avoid in your quest to stay up late.
It is also important to get to know how your body handles sleepiness, as it’s different for everyone. Certain tricks and concepts will work for some people and produce negative effects for others. After each late night experience, keep a record of what seemed to work for you and what didn’t so that you can improve the experience for the next time.