How To Stay Awake and Fight Off Sleep
There will always be occasions when sleep will be sacrificed, intentionally or not. Regrettably, most of us still need to get up the next day and go to class or go to work or take care of our kids. Some days we can get through the day in pilot mode; however, maybe today you are analyzing data or analyzing that rash on your child’s face. Perhaps you are operating heavy equipment or operating on a patient’s heart. These are days when we need to do whatever it takes to stay alert because some responsibilities are too important to take on with one eye shut. So, how to stay awake and fight off sleep?
Stress over grades becomes stress over work becomes stress over relationships, money and parenting, and is always there in some form to provoke a sleepless night. The list of things that keep us awake at night is ever growing and ever changing. Collegiate life is replete with all-nighters in the shape of both cramming and partying. Aches and pains keep comfort at bay and leave you tossing and turning — not to mention snoring spouses, crying babies, loud neighbors and that dog next door that just won’t stop barking! It’s a wonder we ever sleep at all.
How To Stay Awake and Fight Off Sleep – Science Approved
Use the tips below to keep your energy level up after a restless night. These suggestions also provide the additional benefits of greater focus and productivity and improved physical and mental health.
Exercise to Increase Energy and Reduce Fatigue
We all know exercise is important, for good physical health, good mental health, to keep stress levels down. It is important two to shed unwanted pounds, and finally, to stay awake. It is really a cure for all and everything, but maybe not the one you were hoping for. When you are feeling fatigued and tired, exercise is probably the last thing you want to do. Do it anyway. For those of us less inclined to hit the gym, here are a few simple movements that will help to keep you alert that you can even do at work.
- Dips on your desk
- Heel lifts
- Walk around the building
That’s the short and sweet list. There are countless resources available that detail exercises that will stave off fatigue, including literally thousands of exercise videos and books.
Start a Conversation to Get Your Mind Going
If you are a desk jockey, don’t reach out to colleagues through email or instant message. Instead, get up and go talk to them face to face. This will help to get your mind working, with the added bonus of developing stronger relationships with your co-workers. Getting up to chat also creates a break in routine work, which is another good way to keep your mind sharp. If you struggle with getting a conversation started, you can check out this book on Amazon that features 1,000 creative ways to start a conversation.
Keeping hydrated will help your heart to pump properly, keep your body temperature level, and help you avoid fatigue and cramps. Try the tricks below to further enhance the benefits of drinking water.
Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, Medical Advisory Board Member, Nutritional Magnesium Association, recommends the following recipe for successful hydration:
- Drink half your body weight (in pounds) in ounces of water;
- Add a quarter teaspoon of sea salt, Celtic salt, or Himalayan salt to every quart of drinking water; and,
- Add a teaspoon of magnesium citrate powder.
“Your muscles and joints need lubrication to work properly and hydration provides that lubrication,” says Dean, the author of multiple health-related books, which you can find on Amazon.
The sun provides a signal to your internal clock to let you know the day is under way and “helps regulate your circadian rhythm,” according to Chris Brantner, Certified Sleep Science Coach at SleepZoo.com.
“So the more you can expose yourself to sunlight,” he says, “the more awake you’ll feel and also the better chance you’ll have of resetting your sleep/wake cycle and getting a better night’s sleep the following night.”
Getting ample sunlight can also provide you with the much-needed Vitamin D. You can learn more about the health benefits of Vitamin D .
Getting up and moving around can also give your eyes a break from staring at a screen for too long or give your body a break from a monotonous task.
Stimulate Your Senses
Eyes: Open the blinds and let in the sun, or turn on some bright lights to create an artificial sunlight if you can’t get outside for the real thing.
Ears: Crank some rock and roll, tap your foot to a country song, or lip sync to your favorite top 40 hits, whatever your preference may be. Make sure the music is something you enjoy and won’t bore you into becoming more tired.
Mouth: The importance of eating well is highlighted throughout this guide.
Nose: Strong scents like lemons, coffee beans, and flowers can help energize you. You can also consider buying peppermint essential oils from places like Target and Walmart.
“It has a refreshing wake-up scent that will help,” says Nancy Gretzinger, EdD, a certified essential oil specialist. Gretzinger says be prepared for being tired by putting the oil on the inside of your wrist and rubbing your wrists together. Then, when you start feeling tired, your quick wake-up scent is just a sniff of the wrist away.
Parents know that naptime is essential to warding off irritability. Napping as an adult can provide similar benefits. Whether you sneak off to grab a few zzz’s in your car during your lunch break; or take a short snooze in the hammock on a lazy Sunday afternoon; a quick nap can provide a decent energy boost.
Brantner, a certified sleep science coach, recommends avoiding a few possible pitfalls from napping.
“Don’t sleep too long or you’ll wake up feeling groggy and out of sort,” he says. “And make sure not to nap too late in the afternoon. Doing so can make it more difficult to fall asleep that night, perpetuating an already-disrupted sleep/wake cycle.”
If you are not the napping type, consider finding a quiet space to meditate for about 15 minutes (check out these Amazon best sellers on meditation). Even closing your eyes for a few minutes can help you regenerate.
Just Go to Sleep!
Sometimes we set ourselves up for failure. There are a lot of distractions that can prevent you from getting in a good night’s sleep, many of which we give into every night. Keeping electronics out of the bedroom is a good place to start. The light emanating from your mobile devices stimulates the brain to make it think it’s awake. That means no TV, no cell phone; no iPad and no kindle in the bedroom. Let your devices recharge overnight so that you can do the same.
Keeping a consistent sleep schedule will also help you to get the sleep you need. With time, your body will become programmed to know when it is time to sleep and when it is time to wake up.
Alternatives to Caffeine
The simplest and most obvious way to wake up is caffeine. The problem is that drinking a pot of coffee or four energy drinks isn’t the healthiest option. Becoming too reliant on coffee to keep you awake can lead to negative health effects. Instead, consider healthier alternatives like coconut water and green tea.
Dean recommends using a magnesium citrate powder mixed with water as an alternative. Taking a few sips throughout the day will help keep you energized, Dean says. She recommends “Natural Calm” made by Natural Vitality, which you can purchase on Amazon.
“Magnesium is also a muscle and nerve function mineral,” Dean says. “Magnesium is vital for proper muscle function and nerve firing.”
Eat a Healthy Snack
That double cheeseburger you inhaled for lunch is not doing your energy level any favors. Make smart food choices that won’t pull you further into your fatigue! The right food choices can even help boost energy levels, like a healthy snack for a quick fix. Dean encourages using foods that contain magnesium because “it is such a vital energy nutrient, and snacks that are high in magnesium will help boost energy naturally.”
- Organic almonds and/or pecans
- Avocados, which can be made into a guacamole dip with kale chips, which are also high in magnesium
- A healthy juice made with dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, cilantro, mustard greens, Swiss chard, etc., blended with lemon juice
How To Stay Awake and Fight Off Sleep
What Else Can You Do?
If these suggestions don’t do the trick, you may want to consider a visit to the doctor. A quick EverydayHealth.com search will tell you that fatigue can be caused by a number of factors including, but not limited to, depression, diabetes, and heart trouble.