8 Ways To Stay Awake If You Can’t Stay Up Past 10 PM (But Have To)

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As I've gotten older my bed, has become more enticing than a bar stool, so I choose to turn in early instead of staying out late. But sometimes events require I keep my pajamas in the dresser and my eyes open past my bedtime. Thankfully there are ways to stay awake at night if you can't stay up past 10 p.m., but have to. Sleep is precious, but sometimes — for good reasons — it needs to be delayed.

A friend's birthday party, a work project on a tight deadline, a can't-miss-this astronomical event. All of these are valid reasons to stay awake well past 10 p.m. — but if you're used to lights off and snoozing by then it'll take a little extra effort to stay energized. Falling asleep in the booth at a friend's birthday? Missing a deadline? Not great.

There are simple ways to convince your body that it wants to stay up past 10 p.m. — and they're all totally healthy. First thing: keep your mind engaged and off the idea of how sweet sleep is. The thought of a plush pillow and a warm duvet draped over you is the surest way to lull yourself to sleep. Avoid the tips listed below and you'll get to experience — and enjoy — life after 10 p.m.

Enjoy A Walk

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If your eyes are beginning to feel heavy, put on your walking shoes and take a brisk walk to help you regain your energy. According to WebMD, a study conducted by Robert Thayer, Ph.D showed that "brisk 10-minute walk" increased energy for up to two hours. Likewise, exercising lightly can stimulate energy needed to stay up late night. Inhale the night air!

Embrace The Power Nap

Wanting or needing to stay up late doesn't mean you can't sleep at all. Embrace the power nap! According to Science of People, a 10 to 20 minute nap has the power to administer a "quick jolt of alertness and vigor and/or decrease fatigue." And that is exactly what you'll be needing if you're planning on staying wide awake, and alert for the activities, past your usual bedtime.


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Open the pantry if you need stay awake. While sugary snacks can boost energy levels, sugar crashes are very real and you may end up feeling drowsy quickly after. WebMD suggests reaching for peanut butter, nuts, fruit, or yogurt to get a longer lasting dose of energy. Snacking to stay awake? I'm into this game plan.

Hop Into The Shower

A quick burst of cool water will wake just about anyone up. If you need to wash up before a night out anyways, plan on doing so closer to the time you leave. And keep the temperature cooler than usual. Warming your body up at night will make you want to crawl into bed and fall fast asleep.

Stay Cool

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Speaking of temperatures, staying cool can help combat sleepiness. Being cool keeps the brain more alert. "Splashing very cold water on the face and hands may help wake the body and brain up, as the body must then work to replace the lost heat," writes Medical News Today. Consider this permission to crank that air conditioning.

Turn On The Lights

A dimly lit room entices sleep. Keeping a room bright will also keep your brain alert. According to WebMD, "exposure to bright light can reduce sleepiness and increase alertness. Try increasing the intensity of your light source at work." If you're planning on staying up past 10 p.m., keep the lights on and bright as they can be.

Avoid Alcohol


If you're staying out past 10 p.m., try limiting your alcoholic intake. Beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks are considered a sedative that can decrease your energy. Instead of that third glass of wine, go with water. According to Harvard Health Publishing, "Consuming a sufficient amount of fluids in beverages and water-filled foods (such as fruits, vegetables, and soup) will help you maintain your energy." Water is the best drink of choice for that late night birthday celebration.

Switch It Up

Monotonous activities are a snooze fest. Stimulate your mind by switching up your activities. Engage in conversations with friends, take a brisk walk, sip on water. If you're planning on staying awake beyond 10 p.m., walk away from your Netflix and move around. You'll increase your energy and alertness, making it easier to stay awake to complete your project or catch the once-in-a-blue-moon astronomical event.

If you're staying up past 10 p.m. when you typically turn in early, it's probably for good reason. Utilizing these tips to stay alert and energized will turn you into quite the night owl. At least for one night.