Here’s what to do when sleep isn’t an option
Staying awake is understandably a challenge for anyone surviving on less than five hours of sleep. Of course, getting enough sleep is important for your overall health. (Especially since this is what happens to your body when you don’t get enough sleep.) You don’t want to make a habit of skimping on the z’s. Still, if you need a boost to get through your day, you’ll want to try one of these proven tricks for staying awake.
Turn on a bright light
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep a night—and although we should aim for that, it doesn’t always happen. A sick kid, deadlines on a work project, or even insomnia can cause us to get too little shut-eye. But how to stay awake when that happens? Besides taking a nap, which isn’t usually possible when we have to face the day, here’s what you can do: Reset your internal clock with the help of light. “Light therapy delivered for 20 minutes upon awakening or at particular times of day can be very effective,” says sleep expert Michael Breus, PhD, clinical psychologist, fellow of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and author of The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan. “There are special [blue spectrum] bulbs that are commercially available that can help a person wake up—I use them in my bathroom.” A study from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that bright light at the end of a night shift was effective in increasing alertness. If you can’t sleep, one of these 10 medical conditions could be why.