If you have a lot of homework and noticed you procrastinated it until 10PM (or later), you’ll probably be up for a few hours throughout the night. Here are some tips for staying awake. Note - DO NOT stay awake a long time past your normal bedtime if this is cramming for a test. This is standard in this field, and while it seems like it would be good to get in some last minute studying, it won’t help you that much. Sleep allows concentration and alertness during the day, and the following should only be used if sleep is not possible to attain due to the workings of time.
Well, first and foremost, print out this article. Copy the contents and paste it into a word processor or something that has print functionality. This is by far the best way to quickly glance at the article.
Turn off your computer. This disallows you from being distracted, obviously, by instant messaging, social networking, Digg or reddit, etc. If this is not possible, quit all of the applications you do not need, and switch user on Windows XP (WinKey + L.)
If you know before the fact you are going to try to stay awake, sacrifice one hour of your afternoon time to take a nap. This will sort of reset or tweak your mind’s sleep clock.
Never, ever go to bed, doze off, or assume a horizontal position. Especially after 1AM, these will surely take you to sleep. While it seems almost irresistible to do so when you’re tired and it’s 2AM, this will transport you from the night to when you wake up, and it’s whenever you need to get to school or work. Not good. The first time you experience ‘Eh, I’ll just lie down/close my eyes for a few minutes so I can recuperate’ and it’s the next morning, had better be your last.
Prioritize your work. At these hours of night, work on the hard work first, easy things last.
Get some food beforehand, but not too much. Too much food, of course, would prompt you to go to sleep more. Have small snacks every hour or so. Don’t eat one meal at once, break it up into smaller chunks; research has shown this is better. This brings up the question What should I eat? Eat carbohydrates. Carbohydrate is the energy food. Maybe try some dry cereal as a snack. (I recommend Special K, which tastes good as a snack and has dried strawberries.) No foods with a lot of fat in them.
Drink lots of water. Well, most beverages should do well also. I definitely recommend tea. See the benefits of water at Ririan Project. Plus, the bathroom breaks allow you to walk around.
Feeling tired? Go for a jog. If possible, go out for a short jog to be more focused on your work when you come back. Or, if possible, fire up the computer/console and play some Halo. Or any game. This will keep you from dozing off to sleep. Listen to ‘exciting’ music. Do not listen to light music. Light music lets you relax, and possibly go to sleep. Bad. So listen to some hard rock, techno, or something, even if you don’t like it.
Do not listen to pzizz, or any brainwave sound generator that allows you to sleep better. This is kind of a given.
If you’re dozing off, wash your face in cold water. Or put your head in it. Or put your head in ice-cold water with ice in it. Redundant statement, but it works.
Hot Debate: Don’t use sugar and caffeine. It is speculated that these will give you a good high energy period, but then give you a low period or a drop.
Have I made an error in these? Do you have any good staying awake tips? Post them on the comments - I’ll be glad to hear them, and most likely others will, too.