We are creatures wired to go to bed at night and rise in the morning with the sun. However, there are some professions that require night shift work, and there are plenty of night shift workers that need to stay awake in the wee hours of the night. So how do they do that? How do you pull off a night shift without falling asleep on the job?
Caffeine Can Help You Stay Awake Naturally
Caffeine is the friend of many reluctant early risers but also many night shift workers around the globe. Caffeine is a legal stimulant that can be found in coffee, black and green tea, and also in energy drinks. It gives you a quick energy boost, and it enhances concentration, making it the perfect choice for night shifts.
However, you should be careful when consuming caffeine since it can cause irritability and anxiety, trembling hands, frequent urination, and heart palpitations. The upper limit for consuming caffeine is 400mg per day.
Also, be careful if you opt for consuming energy drinks because these usually contain higher doses of caffeine and lots of sugar (or equally unhealthy artificial sweeteners). Not to mention they can be bad for the heart.
It's best to take smaller doses of coffee (1-2 espresso shots) throughout the night.
Take a Nap
For those of you who are not fans of caffeine, you might want to try the opposite and - sleep. Yes, power naps (or cat naps) have been proven to be effective means for countering fatigue and sleepiness.
Power naps last for about 15-30 minutes, and they shouldn't exceed the 60-90 minute limit. Otherwise, you risk falling into a deep sleep and waking up even more tired than before.
Now, I understand not all people can take naps during their night shifts. Staying up all night without even 5 minutes of shut-eye is a must for some people and professions. However, if you are allowed to get a bit of rest during your long nighttime hours, then, by all means, doze off for half an hour, and you'll feel fresher for the rest of the night.
Moving your body is another alternative that you can use to keep yourself stay awake. Seriously, even 10 or 15 minutes can make a difference. This is because moving increases blood flow, filling up your body with more oxygen, your blood pressure elevates, and alertness levels rise.
It's a known fact: bright light can help you stay awake. This is because it delays the release of the melatonin hormone, which promotes sleep.
There are two ways you can use the power of bright light to stay up all night. You either turn on all the lights in your office or wherever you are, or you use the blue light coming from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop.
Even though sometimes you will have to work night shifts and keep yourself awake late into the night, you also must pay attention to your health. Staying up all night can make you sleep deprived in the long run, mess with your sleep cycles, and can cause sleep disorders.
That's why after pulling an all-nighter, you should stick to your usual sleep schedule and not try to make up for lost sleep time. If you experience continuous sleep problems, by all means, consult with a doctor or a sleep specialist.