Human beings take for granted the significance that diet and nutrition have on the quality of sleep that they record every night.
While there are definitely foods that you should avoid if you want to record a higher quality of sleep, there are also foods you can consume if you want to achieve the exact opposite result.
Need to Stay Awake? Eat These Foods to Avoid Sleep! If you really want to stay awake my top healthy food choices to eat are sugary fruits like melons and pineapples. Proteins, water, green tea, and chocolate for something a little naughty. There are also some, medical, healthy and natural techniques that will help you stay awake when you need to.
You should always remember the basic principle should always be that improving sleep requires you to eat correctly and attempting to stay awake should not be a regular occurrence.
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What Foods Can Keep You Awake?
If you are planning to stay awake for the occasional important reason the following foods will help you stay awake…
1. Consume More Caffeine to Avoid Sleep
There are conflicting views on the impact that caffeine can have on things like sleep latency, sleep efficiency and even wakefulness. There are some scientists who confidently argue that caffeine does not have a material impact on either of those things.
However, it is very difficult to dispute that caffeine is a super stimulant. It always has been. The authors of the Harvard Health Letter say outright that caffeine keeps you awake at night.
People also often labor under the misapprehension that caffeine only has to do with coffee.
However, there are actually several sources of caffeine, which can all contribute to your staying awake at night.
In addition to coffee and most of the energy drinks, you will find caffeine in –
- soft drinks
- hot chocolate
- ice cream
- also in various forms of medication
Coffee and energy drinks are not for everybody. Sweet and cold also works.
My go-to is ice cream. The sugar, dairy, and added caffeine keep me awake and it should keep you awake too. Don’t underestimate the value of ice cream and it’s great ability to disrupt your sleep.
2. Consume More Lactose to Avoid Sleep
In the personal experience of this author – and this is not unique to me – the consumption of lactose products before sleep can cause some cramping in the stomach can make you feel somewhat bloated and it can produce a bout of diarrhea.
In retrospect, if you plan on doing some late night reading or studying, this might not be the most prudent action, primarily because of the disruption it will create. However, if you are just somebody who needs to stay awake at all costs, by all means, give this a solid go.
So, where is it that you will find this lactose. The options are somewhat obvious but we shall list them anyway.
They include but are not limited to –
- ice cream
- whipped cream
- yogurt and foods made with milk such as cream-based soups and baked goods
3. Food That Causes Heartburn and Keeps You Awake
Once again, there is no real logic behind deliberately giving yourself heartburn but spicy foods are normally very effective if staying awake is the goal that you wish to achieve.
So, where do you find these foods that cause some level of heartburn?
Well, the list includes but is not limited to –
- heavy fatty meals
- spicy foods
- cold cuts (contain hi amounts of sodium)
- colas and sodas
- fried foods
- acidic fruit juices
- citrus fruits
- tomato sauces
People also seem to have fallen in love with the idea of passing out once they have consumed some form of alcohol. Frankly speaking, you often do.
However, that initial period of sleep will, without doubt, be interrupted for the remainder of the night when the effects of the heartburn start to have an adverse impact on your sleep efficiency.
The heartburn will become too difficult to ignore and you will get up and likely stay up, despite all of the tossing and turning that you can muster.
Of the three options we have presented here, it is pretty clear that the consumption of caffeine is not only the most palatable option but it is also the least painful you will need to endure while achieving your goal of staying awake.
In addition to that though, the majority of people who want to stay awake are those who would like to do some late night reading, some work or just some studying for an examination.
Regardless of the workload in question, it is unlikely that it will be completed if and when you are dealing with stomach cramps (lactose) or heartburn (spicy food).
How Do I Stop Feeling Sleepy?
One way to go about avoiding sleep is to eat the wrong foods. Those are mostly foods that will react negatively to your body when you eventually decide to get some shuteye. We have already tapped on things like stomach cramps and heartburn.
However, you do not necessarily have to consume something in an attempt to stay awake at night. The objective can be achieved perfectly naturally too.
1. Walk It Off
If you feel sleepy, you can do the old-fashioned thing by getting up onto your feet and walking around. You can walk around the house. However, that can be a stuffy place depending on the time of the year.
Alternatively, you can leave your home and go for a brief stroll down the road. Again, that might hinge heavily on the safety of your neighborhood. If that is too life-threatening, take a walk into the garden.
Just move around and do not stay rooted in one place at any given time. It is all about getting oxygen pumped through those veins, muscles and especially the brain. When you are feeling sleepy, the brain is often where things feel most hazy.
2. Daytime Nap
In one of my previous blog posts, you can see the article here, I made a concerted effort to champion the cause of the power nap in the workplace – in an attempt to improve productivity. Well, the power nap during the course of the day can be just as effective when trying to stay awake.
There is one caveat here and that has to do with the timing of your power nap. Firstly, you should probably only ever take one of those naps during the course of the day.
Secondly, it is prudent to pursue this option sometime in the afternoon and maybe even early evening. However, we suggest you stick with the late afternoon.
The further you are from bedtime, the better the prospects of that power nap achieving something meaningful and material, in the context of what you might be trying to achieve later in the evening.
More often than not, a power nap too close to your regular bedtime will also mean falling asleep for the next seven or eight hours.
In a previous article about napping, I spoke rather fondly of a new space-like contraption called the Energy Pod.
The thing about the Energy Pod is that it is programmed to help put you to sleep. It is also programmed to help wake you up when it is firmly established that the time to wake up has come.
In the absence of an Energy Pod, do yourself a favor and set an alarm clock for yourself. Set that alarm for somewhere in the region of 25 or 30 minutes. Anything longer than that would be counterproductive and you will probably remain sleepy once you wake up.
3. Screen Time Breaks
People often joke that they need to rest their eyes. However, there is a genuine benefit to this. People spend so much time on computers, phones and watching television screens that they take for granted the impact this could be having on their eyes.
As I type out this article, it is becoming increasingly apparent that all I can think about is finding a bed and falling asleep. There are many who spend a similar amount of time on screens and feel the same way.
It is a strain on the eyes and can create fatigue. The obvious thing to do under those circumstances is to move away from the computer screen or the tv and the phone.
It will not necessarily qualify as a power nap but just shut your eyes for a few moments and you will likely find that you feel a little fresher when you open them again.
4. Healthy Food to Help Keep You Awake
We have dealt with caffeine, alcohol, lactose and even spicy food. All of those things will likely keep you awake late into the evening. However, it will not always be comfortable and that is because those foods are not particularly healthy.
However, there are healthy food options available for people who want to stay awake. They include but are not limited to
- peanut butter
- whole wheat
- some fresh fruit
The latter kind of gives new meaning to them (carrots) being good for your eyes.
5. Talk to Someone
Sometimes developing techniques to stay awake can be all in the mind. The joke is often made that talking to yourself is the first sign of madness. Talking to yourself can also be a useful and underrated technique to realize the objective of staying awake at night.
However, we have to say it is even better still if you can strike up a conversation with somebody, whether that be somebody in close proximity to you or somebody you need to speak to over the phone. Regardless of how you go about starting a conversation, the logic behind it is that this is what many doctors would refer to as an outstanding behavioral stimulator.
6. Light It Up
We all know the significant impact that lights can have when we are feeling sleepy. Anybody who lives in a city will tell you about the nuisance often presented by the streetlights, even when the curtains are closed.
Instead of allowing light to be a nuisance, you can actually use it to your benefit if and when you want to stay awake – or as we have phrased it in this blog post, stop feeling sleepy. Depending on how much you would like to stay awake, you can examine this matter from a long-term point of view.
If you live in a dwelling where there are only ever options for dimmed lighting, you should either consult with your landlord about the prospects of inserting brighter lighting or just have the lighting scheme altered yourself if the property belongs to you.
Regardless of the path you pursue, the ultimate goal if to provide better lighting for yourself, which will, in turn, help you stay awake for longer periods on those evenings when you need to get some extra reading or studying done.
You know your regimen better than anybody else and therefore you would know better than anybody else just how drastic the changes to your lighting scheme would need to be.
We cannot stress enough the importance of pulling your car over when feeling sleepy. That is something which happens when you are driving a long distance in your car. It is not just about your safety but it is also about the safety of others on the roads.
I have traveled to many places and one country stands out to me – South African, where driving fatigue is among one the most pressing problems on the roads, alongside people who drive under the influence of alcohol.
Every publication of a newspaper and every news broadcast provides a grim reminder of what goes wrong when people take this element of driving for granted. Recovering from fatigue when on a long journey is not actually a complicated affair. It is purely a matter of will.
At previous stages on these blog pages, we have preached about the significance of taking a power nap and the prospects of that improving productivity in the workplace. The power nap is an underrated trick and can also prove highly effective when you have decided (wisely) to pull over when sleepy on the road.
When you stop, after feeling sleepy, it would also be prudent to take a brief walk around and take in the fresh air. Whatever you choose to do, just don’t forget to take that power nap as it will do you good.
8. Avoid Tedious Tasks
Work and some of the tasks associated with it can prove extremely tedious affairs. Tedious tasks that never seem to end will definitely make you feel sleepy at some point. This applies to the workplace or even at home.
Whatever the circumstances, it would always be prudent to change up those tasks, even if purely for the sake of variety. Actually, bringing in some variety is the whole point. The less monotonous the task, the less likely you are to fall asleep doing it.
Sometimes switching to a more difficult or complicated task helps stimulate the brain, keeps you super alert and ultimately keeps you awake when you feel that you need to stay awake.
9. Stay Hydrated
We have touched on food at various stages in this particular blog post and more often than not we have provided poor advice on the unhealthy options that are available to help keep you awake.
Some of it has been tongue and cheek.
However, an option we probably haven’t nearly mentioned enough is the consumption of water when you are feeling fatigued.
More often than not, fatigue is brought about by you being dehydrated. Consuming copious amounts of water will help you stay hydrated.
It also makes a tremendous amount of sense to eat foods that are high in water content. Most of those foods will be fruits and vegetables.
It is often said that sugar helps give you energy, which it does. However, a more useful and healthier technique when wanting to improve energy levels is taking part in some form of regular exercise.
In the same way that regular exercise helps boost energy levels, it also facilitates better sleep if and when you do eventually fall asleep. It improves the entire cycle really. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the proverbial case of knocking over two birds with one stone.
11. Health Check
If you are feeling sleepy often and cannot explain the level of fatigue, there is a distinct possibility that you are dealing with a medical problem. We mean, if all of the above methods fail, then you really should see a doctor about it.
More often than not, under these circumstances, you will discover that your body just needed a meaningful detox and that is something a doctor can also help you through.
Final Thoughts – Need to Stay Awake? Eat These Foods to Avoid Sleep!
The above tips have been outlined for the times when you need to complete a little extra work, you need to stay up to collect someone from a red-eye flight or you want to adjust your sleep patterns.
If you have concerns about feeling sleepy all the time it is in your best interest to head off and seek medical assistance to ensure all is well with you…
As always here’s to better sleep!