7 Ways to Stay Up Late Without Feeling Sleepy
Even though there’s no replacing a good night’s rest, if you’re anything the rest of us, there will most likely come a time in your life when you find yourself needing to miss out on some sleep. Maybe you have a work deadline looking or a special night out that will most likely turn into an all-nighter.
Whether you’re planning to lose out on sack time or it’s an impromptu situation, if you’re not a natural night owl, you might find keeping your eyes open difficult, to say the least. So what can you do to help yourself burn the midnight oil without crashing and burning the next day?
Check out these 7 tips for staying up late without feeling sleepy and then get yourself back on a quality sleep schedule, of course!
1. Sleep in the Day Before
If you know that you’re not going to be getting much sleep, your best bet is to sleep in as late as you can the day of your late night – it will be much easier keep yourself going past your bedtime if you don’t already have sleep debt from getting up too early. You can even plan ahead by doing your best to make sure that you’re getting some extra sleep during the week leading up to your night of sleep deprivation.
2. Take a Short Siesta
You can really up the ante on your late night by taking a nap later in the afternoon on top of sleeping in an hour or two longer than usual in the morning. Recharging your batteries with a short snooze will also help to diminish your sleep drive, keeping your body from feeling as if it needs some shut-eye later on in the night. Try taking a nap that lasts at least 30 minutes at the end of the day to help your brain clear sleep-inducing chemicals like adenosine and keep you alert for your all-nighter.
3. Stock Up (Cautiously) on Caffeine
While we all know that coffee and energy drinks were made to fuel late nights, you need to make sure that you use stimulants with a bit of caution. If you imbibe in too much caffeine toward the end of the night, it can cause you problems later on when you’re trying to get some sleep after your all-nighter. To make sure that you don’t have any prolonged (and unwanted) effects, don’t drink anything caffeinated any more than 6 hours before you want to get some sleep.
4. Have a Midnight Snack
Studies have shown that the release of insulin that comes with eating late at night prolongs wakefulness, making a light bite to eat later in the evening when you’re planning to stay up an easy and helpful way to keep you alert. Just be sure to avoid high-calorie or high-carb foods, as they can have the opposite than what you’re looking for, and actually make you feel sleepy. Try some fresh veggies like carrot or celery sticks, apple slices with peanut butter, or some cheese cubes and low-sodium sliced lunch meat
5. Keep Things Light
Natural light has proven to help regulate our sleep-wake cycles and keeping us feeling energetic. On the day of your all-nighter, try and get as much exposure to sunlight as you can to stock up on these benefits, and you may also consider keeping your indoor lights on as evening approaches, as artificial light has also been shown to increase wakefulness.
6. Stay Active
If you find yourself feeling sleepy no matter how hard you try, get up and get moving! If you’re sitting or reclining, your body will start to send signals to your brain that your day is over and it’s time to throw in the towel and get some rest. Try going for a walk or hitting the treadmill, doing some light cardio like jumping jacks, or anything else that will get your heart pumping and keep your brain alert.
7. Fight Fatigue with Focus
Pay attention to what your body is telling you to help ward off sleepiness and an early end to your late night plans. Look for blurry vision, poor ability to concentrate, and even extra warmth in your body. All of these can be signs that you’re losing your battle against bedtime, and sleep is right around the corner. Focus on what your body is telling you and give the tips on this list a try to keep yourself up and at ‘em. Get some fresh air, watch an action-packed movie, or chat with friends to help keep yourself awake. Just remember not to put yourself or anyone else in danger by getting behind the wheel if you’re feeling drowsy!