It’s a familiar feeling: You’ve shirked sleep and now your eyelids are starting to droop and your head is killing you. Whether it was due to a report you tried so hard to accomplish overnight or your neighbor’s newborn who kept wailing at ungodly hours, your knee-jerk reaction was probably to sleep in. But you suddenly remember the mountain of workload waiting for you. So much for sleeping in. You’re faced with the unfortunate problem of needing to stay awake after a sleepless night—again.
So you sought help from your bestie Google, but none of their tips worked for you. You need something more than “be sure to drink a lot of water” or “take some deep breaths.” No worries, it’s not too late to avert that inevitable crash. We’ve listed six hacks to keep you up when nothing else can.
Turn up the AC
Staying in a cold environment can cause a sudden drop in your body temperature, which activates thermoregulation (a.k.a. the process by which your body controls its own internal and external temperature). Your heart rate will then increase as your body works overdrive to warm itself up, resulting in a more active state of mind.
You may also try splashing your face with cold water (or jumping into a cold shower) whenever you feel like sleep’s about to consume you.
Listen to your fave (upbeat) tunes
Listening to songs that send shivers down your spine (a.k.a. music that gives you the chills) can trigger release of dopamine in your brain—a happy hormone responsible for creating pleasurable sensations and keeping you motivated, thus helping you stay awake. So we suggest you create a playlist of your favorite tunes, preferably bright and cheerful ones, and listen to them at full blast while preparing for the day.
Bask in the morning sun
Take a short walk in the park or step into the front yard. Let the morning sun bathe your skin. Morning light inhibits melatonin production (a hormone responsible for sleepiness), which may result in improved alertness and mood. It can also help you get quality sleep come nighttime. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone, really.
Hear us out: Chewing gum might sound like the last thing you want to do at 9 a.m. when you’ve been awake for 24 hours (and counting) and on the verge of collapse. However, the act of chewing gum may help in staving off daytime grogginess as it heightens cerebral activity. To put it simply, continuous mouth movement can keep you mentally active.
Stretch, jump, move around
Sit on the floor and do some basic stretches with your arms and legs while waiting for your next task at work (or next class, if it’s a school day for you). This alone can get your blood flowing and make you feel energized again in a few minutes.
Or start doing some small jumps. As your body warms up, take bigger leaps around the room, and end with some full-length body bends. You may also take a quick walk around your house, even if it’s just up and down the stairs. Trust us, it can do wonders for your energy level.
Try your hand at yoga nidra
Yoga nidra, or more commonly known as yogic sleep, is a type of yoga technique that lets you enter a deep state of conscious relaxation. Unlike other types of yoga, this doesn’t involve any movement. Once you find a comfortable position, you can start playing a yoga nidra recording of your choice. (There’s a lot of free sessions on YouTube, by the way!)
“30 minutes of yoga nidra can feel like the equivalent of getting up to two hours more sleep,” says a sleep therapist in an interview with Stylist. “It slows your brainwaves, so you are able to experience the restorative benefits of sleep while technically still being awake.”