Writers, students, parents, we all have times when we want or need to stay awake. Maybe there is a project you need to finish or research you need to do. While you could chug down an energy drink or five cups of coffee, these approaches tend to take a toll on your body. After some searching, I created my own list of safe ways to stay awake, and now I present it to you.

Turn Up The Lights – We are hard-wired to associate “dark” with “sleep.” The lower the lights are the more you will want to sleep, so to help keep yourself awake try turning up or on all the lights around you. Make it as bright as possible and you may be able to concentrate a little more on work and a little less on your bed.

Get Up And Move Around – This can also help with writer’s block. Getting your body and mind moving is a good way to give yourself an extra boost of energy when you need it most.

Use Scent – Strong scents from essential oils, incense, or candles can give you a jolt and help keep you awake.

Chew Ice – Temperature plays a large part in how comfortable your body is, and how likely it is to go to sleep. Also the crunching will help jolt your mind into awareness. I have heard though that chewing ice can be bad for your teeth, so I wouldn’t do it on a regular basis.

Splash Cold Water On Your Face – A time-honored classic. If it works in the morning, it should help at night too.

Turn Up The A/C – Once again this will help keep your body just uncomfortable enough that you are less likely to fall asleep. (In winter you may just want to turn down the heat a little).

Chew Gum – This may not help if you are truly exhausted, but why not try it if you just need a little nudge while you finish that paper?

Eat Something Crunchy

Brush Your Teeth – A strong minty toothpaste as well as the physical (even if it is slight) should help your body get itself kicked up a notch.


Reduce Eye Strain/Rest Your Eyes – Reducing the strain on your eyes will make it less likely that you will have to close them and thus less likely that you will fall asleep.

Start a conversation – The mental energy needed to carry on an intelligent conversation will help your brain stay focused and reduce the likelihood of it settling down long enough for you to go to sleep. Just listening will not do the trick.

Use Acupressure – There are several techniques you can look up to help you keep awake.

Listen To Energizing Music – This will help put your mind into an energized state.


Do Deep Breathing Exercises

Switch Tasks – This will help with mental fatigue and keep your brain actively focusing on the task at hand.

Drink Water

Eat Protein