How to Stay Awake When You Haven’t Had Enough Sleep | Tips and Tricks

by Nindo Mom on August 2, 2011

It’s happened to all of us at one time or another. Some reasons could include:

  • new baby still isn’t sleeping through the night
  • child had a belly ache
  • you were up all night doing your taxes
  • you drank too much coffee (or chocolate, or soda, etc.) during the day
  • you were waiting for your teenage daughter to get home from a date–and she was late
  • a family emergency kept you up
  • you were reading a really good book and couldn’t put it down

Whatever the reason you didn’t get enough sleep, you’re going to be exhausted. Yet you may not have the option of taking off work–or maybe you need to drive your kids to school, take them to activities, walk the dog, or any number of other things. (The point is, you don’t have the option to simply sleep in.) So what can you do to make it through the day?

Tips for Staying Awake When You’re Tired

  • If you have a desk-type job, be sure to take regular breaks to stretch your legs–at least every hour. In addition to helping keep your blood flowing and feeling alert, experts say that taking breaks is beneficial to your back, legs, heart, circulation, eyes, and helps to ward off symptoms of carpel tunnel syndrome.
  • Dab some cold water on your face.
  • Alternate taking sips of cold and hot drinks.
  • If possible, walk outside and feel the sun on your body.
  • Open a window to let in some sunlight.
  • On your lunch break, take a nap in your car. You can be sure to wake up by either bringing a portable alarm clock with you to work or using the alarm on your cell phone. (Use common sense with this suggestion. Don’t put yourself in danger by napping in your car if it’s parked near a road, or if it’s in a dangerous neighborhood.)
  • Have a cup of coffee or caffeinated soda
  • Have an invigorating snack–fresh veggies packed with nutrition or high in protein like turkey breast or eggs will do nicely. (You can try a bit of a candy bar, if  you like, as they can give you a shot of energy and help keep you awake for a while. But using sugar to perk you up may result in a sugar-low later, making you feel even more tired.)
  • Listen to energetic music
  • Have a conversation (with a coworker, friend, family member, etc.)

Although none of these methods is a permanent solution to your problem–only getting some real sleep will be that–these methods have helped me on numerous occasions when I didn’t get the sleep I needed. Just remember that after making it through the day exhausted, be good to yourself and get a full night’s sleep as soon as possible, because sleep deprivation for extended periods of time can have extremely negative effects on your health and well-being. (Not to mention, the world doesn’t look nearly as cheery.)


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