11 ways to fake awake after a restless night's sleep.

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Sleep is the most unreasonable lover in the world. You hop into bed with it expecting the goods, but it ignores your one basic need. And nothing tops the agony of the morning after the sleepless night before.

A study by the University of New South Wales found that after 19-plus hours of no sleep (ie your average all-nighter) people’s responses functioned as badly as when they were at the maximum legal alcohol limit to drive.

Will booze before bed help you sleep?

We’re not going to lie to you – getting through today is not going to be easy. But these 11 tips will make it easier. We promise.

1. Open the curtains as soon as you get out of bed

We know you don’t want to be vertical – but being vertical in a dark room drags your mood to a dark place. A Japanese study found that bright natural light regulates the brain’s production of serotonin and melatonin – waking you up and improving happiness. Two things you need on your side right now.

2. Don’t skip breakfast

When you’re tired, even pouring a bowl of Cornflakes can feel like a challenge in an Ironman contest. But a study on schoolchildren found those who ate breakfast were more energetic and cheerful than those who didn’t. Listen to the kids, but skip the sugary stuff they’d probably pick for eggs or wholegrains.

 The breakfast food that could make you live longer.

3. Drink caffeine one hour after waking

Your natural route is snooze button, then kettle button. But scientists suggest a detour.

Cortisol – a hormone that regulates your body’s internal clock and alertness – is naturally pretty high when you start the day. It dips after about an hour, which should be your new coffee o’clock, according to neuroscientist Steven Miller.

How much coffee is too much?

4. Do your toughest tasks first

Because what seems challenging after 10 hours without sleep isn’t going to get any easier after 15. Write a plan of attack, and nail the gnarly tasks at the same speed you’ll use to get into your pyjamas this evening.


5. Then devote the afternoon to easy admin

Fact: there will never ever be a better time to tidy your drawers.

6. Go easy on the carbs at lunch

Comfort food is like a duvet for the body. But when you’re battling to stay awake, a duvet is the last thing you need. Falling asleep at your desk never got anyone a promotion.

4 ways to trick yourself into packing your lunch every day

7. At work, sit somewhere cold

It should help wake you up. OK, it isn’t always pleasant, but when your default facial expression is yawn-face, air con can be an unlikely ally.

8. Take a 26-minute nap

A nap is a luxury most of us can’t accommodate, but it you can, keep it short. In a study for NASA, pilots on transpacific flights who napped for an average of 26 minutes had 34% fewer performance lapses. Even 10 minutes can help – but don’t exceed 30 or you risk waking up groggier.

9. Drink lots of water

It won’t magically aqua-away your tiredness, but drinking 6-8 glasses a day will stop you from getting dehydrated – which makes sleepiness worse.

A foolproof way to drink more water (and love it)

10. Move about as much as possible

When you move, feedback automatically goes from your muscles to your brain, telling it to keep you alert. Exercise, walking, working standing up, even being engaged in conversation can help to convince your body that it is not time for bed yet.

11. Try to stay positive

As physical as the tiredness battle is, part of it can be conquered in your head. Focus on every little positive that comes your way: the strength of the coffee, the brightness of the sun, the beauty of the clock striking 5.30pm.

We’ll say it again: you CAN do this.

How do you stay awake after an all-nighter?

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