How to stay awake at work

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Medically reviewed by Timothy J. Legg, PhD, PsyD — By Corinne O'Keefe Osborn — Updated on June 12, 2020

Sometimes the dreaded all-nighter just can’t be avoided. Maybe you have a new job working night shifts, it’s finals week, or you’re having a sleepover party. Regardless of your reasons, staying up all night is tough.

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Human sleep patterns follow natural circadian rhythms. Your circadian rhythms are like internal clocks affecting the way you think, feel, và behave throughout the day. Circadian rhythms are based on the lightness or darkness of your environment.

When your brain perceives darkness outside, your body toàn thân begins khổng lồ release a hooc môn called melatonin. Melatonin makes you drowsy & prepares your toàn thân for sleep.

Staying up all night means fighting this natural process, which is not only difficult, but also unhealthy. Sleep deprivation can impact your ability to learn & focus. It can even be dangerous. In 2013, there were at least 72,000 oto accidents caused by drowsy driving.

If you must stay up all night, the following tips can help you bởi vì it safely.


1. Practice

The easiest way to lớn stay up all night is to reset your internal clock. This can take up to lớn one week, but it’s possible. You may experience serious drowsiness at first, but your toàn thân does catch on.

If you’re switching to lớn the night shift, give your body toàn thân a few days of practice. Your circadian rhythms still rely on light cues, so make sure you’re sleeping in a very dark room during the day. Blackout curtains and eye masks are particularly helpful.


2. Caffeinate

Caffeine is a helpful pick-me-up & can increase your alertness. It helps fight one of the natural substances your body releases lớn make you drowsy.

Studies have found that moderate doses of caffeine (600 milligrams or more than four cups of coffee) can improve your ability to lớn think và perform tasks, but high doses (900 mg or more) have the opposite effect. High doses of caffeine can cause symptoms lượt thích anxiety & shakiness that make it harder for you lớn concentrate.

To stay up all night, don’t rely on one big dose of caffeine. Too much coffee can lead to lớn stomach upset. Instead, try taking several smaller doses throughout the night such as espresso shots, caffeine pills, or caffeinated gum.


3. But avoid energy drinks

Energy drinks contain varying amounts of caffeine, typically the equivalent of one to lớn five cups of coffee. They also contain guarana, an ingredient that also contains caffeine, which makes the total amount of caffeine higher than it appears.

When using energy drinks, it’s difficult to lớn know exactly how much caffeine you’re ingesting, và extremely high doses of caffeine can be toxic. They’re especially dangerous when mixed with drugs or alcohol. In 2011, more than 20,000 people went to lớn the emergency room because of energy drinks.


4. Take a nap

Taking a series of small naps throughout the night may help you stay alert. Although it’s not equal khổng lồ a full night’s sleep, short naps can be restorative. Most studies on night-shift workers find that naps reduce sleepiness & improve performance.

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Try to catch 15 to trăng tròn minutes of sleep during a break. If you’re driving through the night, pull into a rest stop for a quick nap.


5. Get up và move

Daily exercise helps you maintain a healthy sleep schedule, but experts recommend avoiding exercise late at night, if you want to sleep well at night. That’s because your toàn thân produces a lot of energy when you exercise, which can keep you awake.

If you’re trying lớn stay up all night, try 30 lớn 40 minutes of aerobic exercise. If you don’t want to lớn exercise, try getting up và moving around. Pace back và forth for 10 minutes, take a walk outside, or vì a few jumping jacks.


6. Find some bright lights

Darkness cues your toàn thân to release melatonin, a hooc môn that makes you feel sleepy. One study found that using bright lights at night & creating darkness during the day can help night-shift workers reset their circadian rhythms.

Find a lamp that can distribute light widely throughout the room. Look for an LED bulb that can simulate sunlight. This should help you stay awake longer.


7. Use your devices

Your electronic devices, including laptops, tablets, TVs, and phones, emit something called “blue light.” The blue light emitted from your devices can delay the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone. This can prevent you from becoming sleepy.

To keep yourself awake, use a device that you can interact with. Try playing đoạn phim games on your computer or tablet. The closer the blue light is to your face, the more awake you will feel.


8. Take a shower

Taking a cold or lukewarm shower can help wake you up when you start to lớn get tired. If you don’t want to lớn shower, splashing your face with cold water can help. Brushing your teeth can make you feel refreshed.


Catch up the next day

Staying up all night isn’t good for you & should only be done as a last resort. After staying up all night, you’ll feel very drowsy. Try to 3d the sleep the next day.

For more sleep support, check out our sleep shop.


Last medically reviewed on April 12, 2018


How we reviewed this article:


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Current Version


Jun 12, 2020


Written By

Corinne Osborn


Edited By

Frank Crooks


Apr 12, 2018


Medically Reviewed By

Timothy J. Legg, PhD, PsyD


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Medically reviewed by Timothy J. Legg, PhD, PsyD — By Corinne O'Keefe Osborn — Updated on June 12, 2020

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