Did your work keep you up all night? Or maybe you’re a student who has a deadline tomorrow, and you can’t sleep just yet, then you might need to know how to stay awake to complete the tasks you have to do. It has happened to the majority of us, and sometimes you really need to sacrifice your sleep for the sake of productiveness.
Another possibility could be that you just didn't sleep comfortably. Bad sleeping quality often leads to being tired the next day. To raise it, you need to make sure your sleeping environment and your mattress are suitable for a good night of sleep.
You might’ve been able to pull off staying awake at night when you were busy with something, but it might get increasingly harder to find ways to stay awake the following day. If it’s the case that you can hardly keep your eyes open the next day at work, you may need help to tackle the "how to stay awake" problem.
If having issues with staying awake is what you’re dealing with right now, read on to learn how to keep yourself awake!
Table of Contents
Ways How to Stay Awake
There are quite a few ways to stay awake if you’re in need of it. They might not work wonders and make you feel like you had a good night’s sleep, but they might become life-savers if you need to know how to stay awake at work.
- Have caffeine
- Stay hydrated
- Get moving
- Get some fresh air
- Listen to something
- Snack on healthy foods
- Have a mint
- Keep the workspace bright
- Keep cool
- Take a nap
Let's take a look at each of the ten ways to stay awake.
Coffee might be a no-brainer if you’re trying to stay awake when you’re tired. We all have heard of caffeine’s effects on staying awake. Caffeine is one of the first things people grab in order to wake themselves up.
And they’re right doing that. Caffeine is a stimulant that makes your body active instead of remaining drowsy. It can be found in coffee, tea, or some sodas. So have a drink of a caffeinated beverage if you’re trying to stay awake.
But don’t overdo on caffeine, especially later in the day, as it might prevent you from falling asleep and give you anxiety. It varies from person to person, but about 400 mg of caffeine, which amounts to 4 regular cups of coffee, is enough to keep you alert throughout the day.
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Another one of the ways how to stay awake that also has to do with drinking is staying hydrated. You need to drink a sufficient amount of water or other non-diuretic fluids to stay healthy. It’s crucial to your health overall, and naturally, it affects your vitality and ability to stay awake.
One of the ways hydration helps with staying awake is that it helps with your blood flow. Blood flowing well in your body provides the brain with oxygen making it function properly. It will surely help you stay alert.
Dehydration is a dangerous thing as your body needs water to survive and stay alert. Combined with a lack of sleep, it becomes a recipe for disaster. Being both dehydrated and sleep-deprived, you won’t be able to concentrate even on smaller tasks. So make sure to gulp down some water.
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Another way how to keep yourself awake is to get moving. Getting active can give you the kick you need to prevent you from falling asleep. It helps to raise your energy levels and also, you surely won’t fall asleep if you’re moving.
When it comes to getting active, you don’t need to do vigorous exercise. It would be for the best if you could fit a workout in your day to get all the right hormones that are released after exercising, but even a brisk walk is okay if that’s all you can fit in.
If you’re looking for ways how to stay awake at work, it might not be a possibility to start doing jumping jacks in the office. So you could try stretching, even in your chair, or walking around on a break instead of remaining seated. It will surely make you more energized.
Get Some Fresh Air
Another natural thing you can do that surely will work is getting some fresh air. Get up and go outside for a while to fill your lungs with oxygen, this way helping your brain with becoming more alert. Enough oxygen is responsible for keeping you awake and active.
Once again, if you’re trying to find ways how to stay awake at work, you may not have the possibility to simply walk out of the office and go for a walk. Find alternatives, using your lunch break to walk to a nearby restaurant instead of driving or ordering the food would surely do you good.
You’d both get fresh air and squeeze in a short exercise to help you with staying awake.
Listen to Something
Listening to some upbeat tunes will definitely help you find ways how to stay awake. If you listen to music in order to relax, switch up your playlist for some pop or rock music to get you energized.
If you have the opportunity, dance to the music you’re listening to, or at least tap your foot to the beat to get all the benefits needed for staying awake.
Another thing you could do is listen to is someone talking. Make sure it’s a topic you’re interested in. We all know how easy it is to fall asleep listening to someone going on for hours about a subject you have no interest in.
It would be even better if you could participate in a conversion. That would surely keep you alert as you’d have to think and talk to someone.
Snack on Healthy Foods
When it comes to nutrition, having enough food is important because your body needs calories in order for your organs to function correctly. You might need to pay closer attention to it if you’re sleep-deprived as you have already put a strain on your body.
What is more, you need to maintain healthy blood sugar levels in your blood. Glucose, or simply sugar, is responsible for your alertness levels and overall bodily activity. To keep it up, you should opt for healthy snacks throughout the day. Make sure they have healthy fats, carbohydrates, and protein.
Some of the best foods for snacking include nuts and seeds, due to a high concentration of protein and healthy fats that help your brain activity.
Yogurt, depending on its type, could provide you with protein and also some necessary fats. In order to get your carbohydrates, you should opt for whole wheat bread or crackers, so you feel full and energized.
Have a Mint
One more way how to stay awake that has to do with eating is having something minty. Having mints is beneficial if you’re lacking sleep because peppermint can help stimulate the hippocampus, a part of the brain that is responsible for alertness, thinking skills, and memory.
It might be for the best to chew on a mint to help your hippocampus, but it’s rather unlikely that looking up for ways how to stay awake at work, you have one at hand. But you might have some mints or even minty chewing gum. Both these can help your brain with focusing while also distracting you from falling asleep at your desk.
Keep the Workspace Bright
As you might’ve noticed, spending some time in the dark might make you even sleepier than you previously were. Think about watching movies in the dark if you’re already sleepy. The chances are that you have missed out on the larger part of the plot due to dozing off halfway through. At least I have.
So, it’s essential to keep your workspace bright if you’re trying to stay awake. That has to do with a hormone you might have heard about. It’s melatonin. Melatonin is a sleep hormone that regulates your sleepiness levels and helps you with falling asleep. Only when your body produces melatonin can you fall asleep.
Melatonin is produced in the dark. Screens and other types of light prevent melatonin production in your body. That’s why it’s said that you should get natural daylight if you want to wake up easier. The same goes for staying awake. Prevent melatonin from producing, and you’re safe from the undesirable sleep.
Another environmental thing you should take care of if you’re working on understanding how to stay awake is the temperature of the room you’re in.
Think about your bed, what’s one of the things that’s so attractive about it? It’s comfortable, and most importantly now, it’s warm. And that’s exactly what makes you fall asleep easily.
So, one of the things to avoid if you’re trying to learn how to stay wake is the heat. Heat makes us sleepy and unproductive. Also, we get really comfortable when we’re warm, and that way we get relaxed and distracted. That's how we fall asleep. And you don’t want that.
Whereas coolness in the room has the opposite effect. Staying cool helps you with concentration, and also prevents you from dozing off when you don’t want to. So make sure to adjust the temperature of the room, or at least take off your favorite warm sweater if you want to find ways how to stay awake.
Take a Nap
If you have the opportunity to take a nap when you’re lacking sleep, you’re the fortunate one. You usually don’t if you’re at work or school, but you can plan it in advance. A short nap instead of a full night sleep is surely better than no nap at all. So instead of pulling an all-nighter, set some time aside for a nap to get your energy levels up.
Although you should keep in mind that your nap shouldn’t be too long. If you really don’t have much time opt for 10-20 minutes and if you have a bit more, try to get one sleep cycle, which lasts from 90 minutes to 120 minutes.
This way, you won’t have to wake up as groggy from the deep sleep. If you want to learn more about sleep cycles, check out this article covering them.
Although if it’s getting close to your bedtime, you’re better off skipping the nap as you might ruin your sleep schedule even further. Your body has a circadian rhythm that makes you sleepy according to the time of your day and your usual sleeping routine.
So you might just get to sleep an hour or a few earlier than you usually would to catch up on some sleep.
Every so often, you might run into some problems when you need to stay awake the whole night. The following day you’ll be exhausted and might have to ask how to keep yourself awake. Luckily, there are quite a few ways how to stay awake.
These ways include consuming caffeine to stimulate yourself, keeping hydrated to make sure the blood is flowing well, getting a light exercise to stimulate the blood flow even more, or getting some fresh air to enrich your brain in oxygen, which is known to help you stay awake.
Other options include listening to something or having a conversation to stimulate your brain and avoid sleepiness. Also, if you want to know how to stay awake, one of the ways to do that is snacking on healthy food, to make sure you maintain your energy and blood sugar levels. Another hack is having a mint. It is known to help with staying awake.
You also need to take care of your environment. If you want to learn how to stay awake, you have to make sure it’s cool and bright to avoid sleepiness due to being too comfortable or having stimulated melatonin production. And last but not least, if possible, you should take a nap to restore your energy levels.
All these should help you if you’re looking for ways how to stay awake. It would be for the best if you could combine all these ways to stay awake. If what’s keeping you up is the inability to fall asleep, you should check out our guide on how to fall asleep, so you don’t have to deal with this tiredness throughout the day.
1. Temple J., Bernard C., Lipshultz S. et al. 'The Safety of Ingested Caffeine: A Comprehensive Review'
2. Nadel E,, Fortney S., Wenger C. 'Effect of hydration state of circulatory and thermal regulations.'
3. Güemes M., Rahman S.,, Hussain K 'What is a normal blood glucose?'
4. Abbasi, A., Motamedzade M., Aliabadi M. et al. 'The impact of indoor air temperature on the executive functions of human brain and the physiological responses of body'
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