- Drink a lot of coffeeAlthough the short-term buzz you get from coffee is largely psychosomatic, the effect over several hours is undeniable. Caffeine is a stimulant drug, and coffee has it in abundance, far more so than tea or cola. Proper filter coffee is the strongest, and the nicest, but instant coffee still works; though personally I can’t stand instant coffee and would rather drink tea if real coffee isn’t available.
Perhaps you could even consider investing in a real coffee machine. We have one here at SitePoint HQ, and it gets well used, for totes.
- Drink a lot of coffee!Just like
you do not talk about Fight Club, this tip is significant enough to mention twice. The risk of course is that caffeine addiction is recursive — it calls itself in a self-sustaining loop: you drink coffee to stay awake, but that stops you from sleeping properly; so the next day you’re tired, so you drink coffee to stay awake, but that … and so on!
- Eat properly, not just junkGood food is the gasoline that makes your engine go, and just as low-grade fuel gives diminished performance from your car, so poor food gives poor performance from your body and your brain. If you want to be firing on as many cylinders as possible, you need to eat decent regular meals, and drink plenty of fluids like water and fruit juice (as well as all that coffee!).
What you don’t want to do is spend the whole day or night snacking on chips, chocolate and donuts (mmm … donuts), however tempting that may be. There’s no denying the instant gratification of a sugar-induced energy rush, but it doesn’t last, and doesn’t keep you going. It’ll also make you feel gradually more nauseous over time, so eat decent food.
- Avoid power napsMany people recommend power naps as a quick way of refreshing yourself, however I find they often have the opposite effect — either you wake up an hour later feeling groggy and just as tired as before, except you’ve wasted an hour; or, your body takes over and you end up sleeping for three or four hours, at which point you’d have been better off just going to bed.
If you do start to feel like you
can’t keep your eyes openthen stand up, walk around, perhaps even go outside for a short stroll; get some fresh air and smoke a cigarette or whatever. Have another cup of coffee. That doze feeling will soon pass.
- Get plenty of fresh airA hot, humid or stuffy atmosphere is a sure-fire way to send yourself to sleep. You need to stay alert, and circulating fresh air will help you to do that. Have a window open, and if it’s too cold put on extra layers rather than turning the heating up — cold air is much better for you to breathe and will help you stay awake.