Surviving Sleep Deprivation

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Sleep deprivation is difficult to survive. But for those days when you have to meet deadlines, try these tips to help you stay awake and alert!

9 Tips to Power Through a Day Without Sleep

1. Drink Coffee

Drink Coffee | Surviving Sleep Deprivation

Drink Coffee | Surviving Sleep Deprivation

Ladies and gentlemen, I am about to give you some revolutionary new scientific facts that have never before been revealed to the public. Caffeine helps you stay awake.

All kidding aside, caffeine has been used for thousands of years as a way to ward off sleep. A cup or two a day can have beneficial side effects, but be sure you take it easy on the java. Caffeine is a drug and like all drugs, there are some potentially serious side effects. This ranges from irritability, jitteriness, dizziness, heart palpitations, and insomnia, to the more effects like vomiting, seizures, extreme weight loss, dehydration, and heart failure.

It’s also majorly addictive. Caffeine is just one tool in your shed — don’t rely on it too heavily. In fact, this “quick fix” should be your last resort.

2. Exercise

If you start to feel as though you are about to nod off, get up off the couch. If you’re driving, pull over, and do a little aerobics. Exercises release a massive amount of endorphins, which will sharpen your mind and shake you out of a pre-dream daze.

Running is about the best exercise you can do to wake yourself up. It is a natural trigger for adrenaline production that will put your body into fight or flight mode and help keep you awake. Just don’t overdo the exercise that exhausts you making you even more tired.

Sound Oasis | Illumy GTS-3000 | NASA Technology Night Mask | Pulsed Light Sleep Therapy for Men and Women | Deep Relaxation into Tranquil REM Sleep | Lucid Dreaming Sleep Aid | Great Eye Mask for Trav

22 Reviews

Sound Oasis | Illumy GTS-3000 | NASA Technology Night Mask | Pulsed Light Sleep Therapy for Men and Women | Deep Relaxation into Tranquil REM Sleep | Lucid Dreaming Sleep Aid | Great Eye Mask for Trav

  • ADVANCED NASA TECHNOLOGY: The Illumy GTS-3000 uses the same light technology developed by NASA to help improve your sleep. At bedtime, ILLUMY provides a gradual dimming “sunset” to nudge you into sleep. In the morning, ILLUMY will automatically start illuminating a “blue sky” before your set alarm time. This scientifically proven regimen is used on the international space station to help astronauts’ body clocks stay in sync.
  • GENTLE, GRADUAL WAKE-UP: The Illumy GTS-3000 gently wakes you with a brightening sunrise rather than a jarring alarm in the dark common with traditional alarm clocks. ; This gentle wake-up with light will tell your body it is time to wake-up and help reduce sleep inertia which is the cause of morning grogginess.If you sleep past the sunrise, an alarm chime will sound to make sure you do not oversleep.
  • PATENTED SLEEP ENHANCEMENT TECHNOLOGY: If you suffer from insomnia or need extra help waking up, the GTS-3000’s sleep enhancement technology uses pulsing lights to help. At bedtime, the diming sunset will pulse at increasingly slower Delta frequencies consistent with sleep and when waking up, the blue sky light will pulse at increasingly faster Alpha frequencies consistent with being alert.

3. Eat Up

Your body is an organic machine and all machines require fuel to create energy and function. In the case of the human body, fuel comes in the form of food. Survival is all about caloric intake.

When your body reaches its stress limits, you can supplement sleep with additional fuel intake. Most people turn to a candy bar for instant energy. But while this type of food gives you a near instant energy boost, it also comes with a major price — a sugar crash.

Apples work quite well as its sugar are processed easier and comes without a major crash. Fruits, in general, are a good energy food, but what you don’t want is a big meal full of proteins, fats, and starches. These things take a lot of energy to digest that will put you into a food coma. Save the feast for when you have time to have a nice long nap.

4. Take Power Naps

One of the best things you can do when you’re tired is sleep. I’m actually talking about a power nap. The key here is to have self-control and a booming alarm clock. Timing is everything and you have to keep your naps under a half an hour to wake up feeling refreshed. If you sleep for more than 30 minutes, you will actually wake up even groggier than when you first nodded off.

5. Chill Out

Chill Out | Surviving Sleep Deprivation

Chill Out | Surviving Sleep Deprivation

Have you ever noticed that movie theaters, classrooms, and even office buildings are kept at a fairly brisk temperature? The chilled room actually causes you to be more alert and awake you might think you’re having trouble sleeping. So if you absolutely must stay awake disregard your electric bill and turn down that thermostat!

Sound Oasis | Illumy GTS-3000 | NASA Technology Night Mask | Pulsed Light Sleep Therapy for Men and Women | Deep Relaxation into Tranquil REM Sleep | Lucid Dreaming Sleep Aid | Great Eye Mask for Trav

22 Reviews

Sound Oasis | Illumy GTS-3000 | NASA Technology Night Mask | Pulsed Light Sleep Therapy for Men and Women | Deep Relaxation into Tranquil REM Sleep | Lucid Dreaming Sleep Aid | Great Eye Mask for Trav

  • ADVANCED NASA TECHNOLOGY: The Illumy GTS-3000 uses the same light technology developed by NASA to help improve your sleep. At bedtime, ILLUMY provides a gradual dimming “sunset” to nudge you into sleep. In the morning, ILLUMY will automatically start illuminating a “blue sky” before your set alarm time. This scientifically proven regimen is used on the international space station to help astronauts’ body clocks stay in sync.
  • GENTLE, GRADUAL WAKE-UP: The Illumy GTS-3000 gently wakes you with a brightening sunrise rather than a jarring alarm in the dark common with traditional alarm clocks. ; This gentle wake-up with light will tell your body it is time to wake-up and help reduce sleep inertia which is the cause of morning grogginess.If you sleep past the sunrise, an alarm chime will sound to make sure you do not oversleep.
  • PATENTED SLEEP ENHANCEMENT TECHNOLOGY: If you suffer from insomnia or need extra help waking up, the GTS-3000’s sleep enhancement technology uses pulsing lights to help. At bedtime, the diming sunset will pulse at increasingly slower Delta frequencies consistent with sleep and when waking up, the blue sky light will pulse at increasingly faster Alpha frequencies consistent with being alert.

6. Look on the Bright Side

Your eyes have specialized light receptors that try to keep you awake when the lights are on and help you go to sleep when it’s dark. This is another evolutionary trigger built to be in the sunlight. Fortunately for us, our bodies can’t tell the difference between natural and artificial light. Keeping your lights on and bright will help fool your body into thinking that its daytime and you should be awake.

7. Switch it Up

Though I mentioned above that the human body is a machine, the mind is not. It’s not built to focus on the same thing for extended periods of time. If you’ve been doing the same thing for a while and you start to feel like you can’t focus on the task anymore, take a break and do something different for a little while. Your brain craves fresh activities.

Taking a break before going back to your original task will help your brain cope with mind-numbing monotony. Ideally, leave the space you are working in and engage your other senses. Literally go outside and get a breath of fresh air, have a stretch, take a quick walk, and then come back to your task.

8. Play

Play | Surviving Sleep Deprivation

Play | Surviving Sleep Deprivation

Even if you’re not tired, it is a great excuse to play some video games and just for the record, Solitaire isn’t going to cut it here. You need blood-pumping, button smashing action. First-person shooters like Halo or Call of Duty should do the trick. A good side-scrolling game like Mario or Sonic will probably be fun as well. Just set a time limit and stick to it. For a completely sleepless night, try the game Amnesia to keep you awake for weeks!

9. Try An Old Trucker’s Tip

One of my first jobs was working at a car dealership. I worked 14 hours a day and 6 days a week. I also had to regularly drive cars to different cities and even different states as part of a dealer trade. Needless to say, I spent many nights on the open road.

If it were not for the rumble strips on the shoulder of the road, I would have had a number of accidents. I tried NoDoz and energy drinks but nothing seemed to really help. I talked to my grandfather about this and he gave me a great tip that worked for me.

He worked as a truck driver for over 30 years, and he said the one thing he would do that would keep him awake on late nights. He used to lay a can of cola on his seat and sit on it. The can would make him quite uncomfortable and keep him more alert than a cup of coffee ever could. He then said if he got too tired for this strategy to work, he would open the can up and drink it to get that caffeine boost.

Check out this video by TED-Ed on how caffeine keeps us awake:

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Most of my adult life is spent with less than four hours of sleep per night. I don’t fall asleep quickly and if something wakes me, I am usually unable to get back to sleep. My wife constantly bickers with me about my sleeping habits, and all I can do is shrug and tell her that “It’s the way I am.” Is this healthy? Not in the least bit. I just want to reiterate that you should at all costs get at least 8 hours of sleep. The above tips are a guideline for situations where sleep is not an option and should only be used sparingly. Stay safe and sleep well!

Do you find these tips useful in surviving a day without sleep? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Up Next: 8 Steps to Survive Anything

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2016 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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Last update on 2018-11-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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