Everyone has pulled one or two all-nighter at some point whether it was to meet a deadline or prepare for an exam. Resorting to caffeinated drinks to stay awake seems to be the most normal thing to do. But is sipping on caffeine the only way to pull off an all-nighter? For a lot of people, caffeine is a stimulant for staying awake and active but there are several side effects that make the consumption of excess caffeine far from ideal. Having too much caffeine too often may lead to anxiety, insomnia, digestive problems, breakdown or loss of muscle mass, high blood pressure, elevated heart rate, fatigue, headaches, restlessness, irritability, nervousness and palpitations etc. These can cause several health complications and lead to other medical conditions. Also, the acidity level in caffeinated products like soda, energy drinks and even coffee may cause heartburn, diarrhea and nausea.
Caffeine is not the only way to stay awake so don’t depend on stimulants or any external aid to control your sleep. You can sleep when you want to and stay awake when you want to by practicing how to conform your body to your decisions.
However, there are various natural alternatives that will help you stay awake without doing any damage to your body. Here are some options outside caffeine that will help you stay alert and awake when you need to.
Sipping caffeine can give you a temporary energy boost, but drinking water is much healthier and more effective in keeping you alert. Dehydration makes focus and concentration difficult, so water works for improving productivity. You can throw in some lemon and berries to make it more interesting. You can also snack on fruits and vegetables that contain plenty of water. Extra water may increase your needs to urinate, which helps keep the body awake from going to the bathroom often.
Your body produces a lot of energy when you exercise. Daily exercise is very helpful in maintaining a healthy sleep schedule. You can try doing some aerobics for like 30-40 minutes; take a walk around your neighborhood or you could try some push-ups if you want to stay awake. Aerobic exercise causes the body to release endorphins. These chemicals create a level of activity in the brain that keeps it awake.
Exercising promotes blood circulation which helps in fighting off sleep. It also causes the body to release adrenaline; increasing body temperature thereby making the body unready for sleep compared to a lower body temperature which gets the body ready for a good sleep. The good thing about exercise is that beyond helping you stay awake, your body stays trim and fit.
USE BRIGHT LIGHT
Darkness or dimly lit spaces signal your body to release sleepy hormones like melatonin which makes you drowsy and prepare your body for sleep. So, if you need to stay awake at night you can trick your brain into thinking it’s still day by using bright lights. So, it is possible to fool the body into staying awake even when sleepy as a dim environment gives your body the cue for sleep, bright light helps you stay awake even at night. Also exposure to sunlight can keep you awake and make your body energized even when you are trying to wind down.
A cold or lukewarm bath will refresh and energize you after a long day to make you fit for an all-nighter. You can also splash water on your face at intervals when you start feeling drowsy. A splash of cold water over your face will draw your circulation upward towards your head, renewing your energy and making you feel more awake. Also, brushing your teeth can help you stay alert for longer as well as dropping the temperature of your room until it becomes chilly because a warm and fuzzy environment makes you drowsy and sleepy.
ACUPRESSURE AND AROMATHERAPY
Massaging certain acupressure points can help increase alertness. This include applying pressure on top of the head, pulling down on your earlobes, rubbing the back of your hands in between the thumb and index finger, pressing against the back of your knee and rubbing the sole of your feet at the center. You can also try on some essential oils like rosemary oil. Apply on wrists and temples to keep alert from its scent.
TAKE BRIEF NAPS
Taking series of small naps during the day may help you stay alert at night. Also, taking naps at intervals during the night may help you stay alert all night. Short naps can be restorative and reduce sleepiness and improve performance. A power nap is a quick nap of not more than 20 minutes. Try to catch at least 15-20 minutes of sleep. Use an alarm clock if at night to make sure your nap doesn’t become a snooze fest.
TAKE FREQUENT BREAKS
Prolonged and sustained attention and concentration can make you feel quite fatigued, sleepy and prone to making mistakes. It is however advisable to take frequent short breaks when working. These interactions will allow a return to sustained focus. You can do so by taking short walks or standing for a while.
SWITCH TASKS TO CHALLENGE YOUR MIND
Try to reserve more stimulating tasks for your sleepy times or switch to more engaging responsibilities when you feel yourself nodding off. This works for me like all the time. At the moment when you can feel your eyes closing up, immediately switch to more captivating or interesting part of what you’re working on and the sleep tends to be off you for a while.
Chewing can help prevent sleep and improve cognitive performance and attention. Chewing on a piece of gum has been proven to help people stay awake. This is due to the stimulation of facial muscles causing an increase in blood flow to the head. Also, chewing is not an involuntary muscle movement like blinking or breathing so it stimulates the brain which helps you stay awake.
TURN ON SOME TUNES
Listening to loud energizing music such as rock or pop can sometimes increase your energy level and keep you awake through auditory stimulation of the brain.
This is all I have for you today and I hope these tips are helpful for you the next time you want to pull off an all-nighter without jeopardizing your health with caffeine. Thank you for your time.