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There are a plethora of reasons you could have stayed up all night. Maybe you binge-watched an entire season of Game of Thrones or was out partying until the cows came home.
In other lifestyles, you might have pulled an all-nighter to cram for a test or had to work a swing shift. Sometimes that saying ‘sleep like a baby’ doesn’t really exist, and your little bundle of joy allowed you to watch the sunrise, instead. Other times, no matter how comfortable your mattress is, you might have thousands of thoughts whirling in your brain, causing you to lose sleep.
Whatever your reason for being a night owl, it can be difficult to wake up early in the morning because sleep deprivation has a direct effect on your brain. When you’re tired, you will react to things more slowly and have trouble paying attention. Being sleepy affects how well you remember information, too. Instead of people mistaking your tiredness for being drunk, check out these four tips for managing the next day after you stayed up all night.
Caffeine, Caffeine, Caffeine
According to Mark Rosekind, Ph.D., a fatigue management expert, the average amount of caffeine a person needs, depending on body weight, is around 100 to 200 milligrams. Coffee has about 100 milligrams of caffeine in a 5-ounce cup, depending on the strength of the brew. Besides drinking coffee, there are other caffeinated beverages such as Pepsi or Mountain Dew as well as over-the-counter caffeine pills.
You can expect the caffeine to kick in within 15 to 30 minutes of drinking the caffeinated beverage. The alertness might even last around three or four hours. If you plan your day strategically, you can keep your body in a heightened state for several hours and maintain decent performance.
However, it’s important to note that you are only masking the tiredness; as the sleepiness continues to build throughout the day, your body will crash as soon as the caffeine leaves your body. Rosekind suggests taking a 30-minute nap before starting your caffeine routine for a more refreshed feeling.
Let There Be Light
Bright light can literally wake you up. Since your body is used to a cycle of darkness and light, you can keep trick yourself into staying alert using light. As you feel more tired, your instinct will have you turning off bright lights because they are unpleasant and your body wants to sleep. If you have to stay up, do the opposite and flip all the switches in the room.
Besides artificial light, natural rays can also help you fight grogginess. After a late night, subject yourself to at least 20 minutes of sunlight the following morning. This method will help regulate your melatonin levels and, in turn, refresh those biological clock hormones after insufficient sleep.
Did you know that a 500-watt white halogen bulb can help reset circadian rhythms naturally? If you are unable to soak up the sun, try sitting under one of those instead.
Walk It Out
Sharon Keenan, Ph.D., is the founder and director of the School of Sleep Medicine of the Stanford University Center for Excellence for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Sleep Disorders. She insists that if you take a brisk walk, your body will improve alertness automatically as your muscles send feedback to the brain.
Going for a stroll outside not only moves your body but exposes you to natural sunlight, which is also a helpful way to stay awake through fatigue.
In fact, any small version of physical motion can boost your alertness after pulling an all-nighter because it will raise your body temperature and heart rate. You should not try to complete a high-intensity workout, though, because that can increase your stress levels.
Even engaging in an interesting conversation can improve your alertness. However, as soon as the activity ends, you might feel an overwhelming desire to rest again.
Although you should get up and move a little, avoid multitasking when you are sleepy. Your working memory is impaired due to sleep deprivation, which means you cannot focus on too many things at once.
Maybe coffee is not your drink of choice. If you aren’t big on upping your caffeine intake, you can improve your focus thanks to good ole water.
Instead of reserving your water during sleep, you accessed it as you were awake all night long. Therefore, you’re likely to be a little bit dehydrated, which is why it’s essential you replenish your water supply after staying up all night.
Besides that, your adrenal glands are working overtime because of sleep deprivation. They produce hormones to manage your stress, so it’s critical to increase your fluids.
You can also add electrolytes to your beverage. Rather than downing a bunch of sugary sports drinks, simply add a half teaspoon of pink Himalayan salt to a large cup of water. After staying up all night, the salts will jumpstart your adrenals as the water revs up your body.
If you’re the type of person who pulls all-nighters regularly or works odd hours doing shift work, invest in a high quality mattress. Good mattresses provide comfortable, regenerative sleep so you can wake up feeling energized.