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How to Stay Awake when you’re Feeling Sleepy: 12 simple effective tips

An important submission or deadline and the dreaded all-nighter is impending. No matter how old you are or what you’re doing, this is one part of your life that you just cannot escape. Whether it’s a sleepover with your friends or an important paper or presentation the next morning, we all have had to stay awake even though every part of our body was fighting with us to shut our eyes and melt into the softness of our bed. Staying awake when you’re tired is dreadful, and as terrible and exhausting as staying up may feel, especially when you’re sleepy, we are here to make it a little easier for you with these 12 simple and effective tips that help you stay awake even when you’re feeling sleepy.

  1. Drink coffee or caffeine rich drinks

    Caffeine is a psychoactive stimulant that helps increase attentiveness, concentration and basically your overall ability to focus. Drinking a strong cup of black coffee or an energy drink that’s caffeine rich will boost your energy levels and enable you to work for a longer stretch without feeling sleepy. If you are someone who doesn’t enjoy drinking coffee, other caffeine rich drink options such as tea, energy drinks or even eating an apple have all been proven to help stay up. So, go make yourself a hot cup of coffee or tea and get to working.


  1. Eat sweet sugary foods

    Eating sugar rich foods like chocolates, cakes, soft drinks gives a sugar rush or a sugar high that raises adrenaline levels in your body. Higher adrenaline levels mean higher energy levels in your body. Higher energy levels help you work for a longer stretch without feeling sleepy or dozing off. These sugar rich foods or drinks can cause your teeth to decay, so make sure you brush your teeth before you go to bed.


  1. Switch on bright lights

    Bright white lights simulate daytime for us, and help us stay up for longer periods of time. White lights especially, more than yellow lights, make the environment seem brighter and help us stay awake. Find the brightest, whitest lights around you and turn them on to trick your body into believing it’s daytime, and avoiding dozing off.


  1. Take small short breaks in between whatever task you’re doing

    Most of the times, the task you’re doing can get mundane and repetitive, making you sleepy. Whether it’s making a presentation or completing an assignment, switching it up between tasks can really help maximise your output. After every 30-45 minutes, promise yourself a 5-minute break or alternating between two or more assignments that you have can help you stay awake for longer. Doing so will not only enable you do not fall asleep, but also that you complete multiple assignments efficiently.


  1. Wash your face and neck with cold water

    Splashing cold water on not only your face and neck but also on your joints such as your elbows helps you relax and refreshes both your mind and body. Cold water is refreshing and helps you stay awake for a longer time.


  1. Sit upright on a chair and don’t sit on a bed

    Sitting upright on a chair or a solid surface ensures that your back is straight and you don’t fall asleep easily. On the other hand, sitting on a bed or a sofa makes it very easy for your body to get comfortable and you might just fall asleep. Therefore, finding a good solid surface to sit on without slouching or lying down, preferably a table and chair, are ideal for staying up for longer hours.


  1. Listen to workout music/ playlist

    Listening to peppy, happy and energetic music can help raise your energy levels and make you feel livelier. Music that we generally tend to listen to when we work out, is music that has high energy levels. This in turn will help keep you up through the long nights or days.


  1. Go for a short run or walk around your neighbourhood

    Sometimes a breath of fresh air is exactly what you need. In situations like these, a brisk walk around your building, street or neighbourhood is the perfect remedy for sleepiness. Fresh air and a short walk later, you are all ready to resume work, reenergised.



  1. Stay hydrated, drink lots of water

    Sometimes, sleepiness can be induced by dehydration and make you feel even more tired or sleepier than you already are. In this case, whenever you know you are going to stay up for a while, keep a big bottle of water handy. In case you are someone who doesn’t enjoy water much, you could always infuse it with cucumbers, orange peel or lemon peels to add a fresh feeling to it.


  1. Find company

    Staying up is a task that is best done when you have someone with you. If you live close to friends you could call them over or if you live farther, they are just a phone call away. Sometimes hearing someone else’s voice is exactly what you need, to make it easier.


  1. Set alarms

    Setting a bunch of alarms at regular intervals, if you know that you are prone to falling asleep, is the perfect solution for staying awake. There’s no deep slumber that a loud annoying alarm tone can’t wake you from. So, just in case you do end up dozing off, you will be thankful that past you had set these alarms to wake you right up and get back to working.


  1. Play with your pet

    If you are an animal person and have pets around you or in your house, playing with them is not only a stress buster but an effective way to stop feeling sleepy. Getting off your chair and spending some time with your pooch is a highly effective and enjoyable way to reduce sleepiness and stay up.


A good night’s sleep is essential for everybody to function, and even though once in a while we may have to spend the night doing our assignments or work, never stress yourself out mentally and physically more than you can handle. Each body has its own capacity for staying awake, everyone needs their minimum 7 hours of sleep. If you know that you’re going to have a long night ahead of you, prepare yourself both mentally and physically and try catching up on the sleep you’re bound to miss through little naps the day before. Don’t exhaust yourself or tire yourself out the day before and stay away from alcohol if you want to spend a night awake.