Whether you’re a final year student pulling an all-nighter ahead of an exam, an entrepreneur dealing with foreign clients and strange time zone differences, a new parent with a baby to soothe and feed at odd hours, or a football enthusiast staying up to catch that all-important match, city life and sleep debt go hand in hand. The irony of it all is, you need sleep to be more efficient, and it is probably this efficiency that is keeping you up in the first place. Here are five ways to zap some energy back into your system when you’re low on the Zzz’s but have to put the pedal to the metal.
The act of conversation requires you to listen to someone, process what you’ve heard, formulate responses, all of which fires up the parts of your brain. When you’re starting to feel drowsy, do what they do to hypothermia patients, and start up a conversation. A few minutes of talking will wake you up enough to get cracking on the project that needs your thinking cap to be in place.
A tall drink
Start the morning with a glass of cold water, and replace two of your post tea-time coffees with two more glasses of the same. The cold will provide a refreshing jolt to the senses the way coffee does, with the added bonus of rehydrating you, which always helps. Cutting down on coffee at night will also help you sleep better when you do get to hit the hay, which is always better than requiring artificial stimulants to counter sleep debt.
Now here’s a bit of interesting news. Research has shown that you don’t actually have to drink coffee to enjoy its stimulating properties. The smell of coffee alone can help you stay alert. So if your late-night coffee place closes sooner than you’d like, just keep a bowl of coffee beans in front of you while you work. The smell will help you stay alert and you can stay on top of your game.
Work it out
If you’re not a morning person, schedule your cardio-heavy workout at night, about three hours before you go to bed, and when you do, turn on all the lights. The bright lights stimulate the nerve bundles behind your eyes, helping realign your body clock to your nocturnal routine, while the endorphines released from exercise help you feel relaxed and energised.
Turn up the music
While it’s been proven that music will, unfortunately, not make you better at math, the right kind of music can actually help you concentrate better. Slow, instrumental music (under 96bpm) can stimulate the brain without distracting from any reading or writing you have to do. So turn to that Chilled Cow playlist on Youtube, and get cracking.