21 Crazy Ways to Stay Awake All Night That Actually Work

woman working on her laptop

A good night of rest can be the key to an energized morning and maximum productivity. However, there are times when staying up all night long can become necessary. This may be due to a sudden night shift at work or another assignment that takes sleep out of the equation.

But how do you guarantee that the body can go through the whole night without nodding off especially when you’ve been working all day?

It is important to find ways to inhibit the chances of dozing off if you’re serious about not battling an eye throughout the night. These steps should be able to trick the brain into believing that it is still daytime to prevent the release of hormones that calm the mind, reduce body temperature, and induce sleep.

A few of these may include:

  • Taking a long afternoon nap 
  • Keeping the thermostat up
  • Taking a cold shower
  • Sleeping with the lights on
  • Brushing your teeth
  • Putting your feet in a basin of cold water
  • Undertaking light exercises such as walking around
  • Staying glued to your smartphone

1. Taking a Long Afternoon Nap 

Taking a long afternoon nap is a tried and tested method for pulling an all-nighter. If you’ve been spending a good 7-8 hours in bed every night, depriving yourself of sleep suddenly can take a huge toll on your health.

Fatigue can likely set in at some point and cause you to fall asleep. Besides, the body’s internal sleep clock follows the same trend based on your habits.  This is why some sort of disruption increases the chances of success.

We recommend taking the nap around the latter part of the afternoon as this can increase the body’s level of energy by the time you wake up. Pulling through the night unscathed should be a lot easier.

2. Take a Cold Shower 

Cold showers are a powerful weapon for an all-nighter. This is because they can wake up the body from the deepest realms of slumber. The cooling effects of the water can produce a higher state of alertness for the body, allowing you to focus on work or whatever activity that needs to be done overnight. 

Cold showers can also reduce the level of CO2 in the body by forcing you to take deeper breaths which can improve your concentration levels.

Besides, taking a cold shower in the evening when temperatures may not be too kind can increase mental toughness. This is especially true when you have ready access to warm water but choose cold instead.

With this higher level of willpower and concentration, you should have little problems seeing through the quest to stay up all night.

3. Keep the Thermostat Up 

person lowering the thermostat in a bedroom

It is no secret that keeping the thermostat down increases the chances of falling asleep because the human brain associates low room temperatures with the night. Thus, it begins launching the necessary processes to induce sleep as soon as temperatures start tumbling especially during the latter part of the day.

Keeping the thermostat up can trick the brain into believing it is still daytime. This can delay the release of the hormones that put you to sleep.

Additionally, we all struggle to drift off in mid-to-high temperatures. By keeping the room temperature at normal levels, you’re less likely to fall asleep even the body is quite tired.

In the absence of central air conditioning, you can always switch off the air conditioner in your room or keep it at relatively high-temperature levels. If you regularly sleep with the fan on, switching it off or at least lowering it can keep the body alert throughout the night.

4. Sleep with the Lights On

Sleeping in darkness is one of the best ways to get a blissful night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Why do you think parents enforce lights out times at home for their kids?

Thus, keeping the lights bright and on can boost the ability to stay awake throughout the night. Remember, the presence of lights also informs the brain that it is still daytime. Thus, the brain will continue to send signals and release hormones that keep you awake to enhance productivity instead of releasing sleep-inducing melatonin.

This can lower the risk of nodding off when you have important work to do. Apart from the direct lights from a bulb, you should also make sure that your environment receives as much direct sunlight as possible.

Avoid drawing window blinds and any curtains that can block natural light. 

I switch on the Miroco LED Bright White Light Therapy from Amazon every time I need to stay up all night. It provides the medically recommended 10,000 Lux of illumination which emulates the energizing power of a bright sunny day to improve my concentration levels.

5. Brush Your Teeth

Have you noticed that regardless of how sleepy you may feel after a bad night, the effects begin to wear off immediately after brushing your teeth in the morning? This is because brushing the teeth has the power to increase your concentration levels.

The majority of toothpaste on the market contains active ingredients such as peppermint and cinnamon which promote the body’s ability to focus. Also, the art of brushing the teeth, rinsing your mouth with water, and washing the face can all jolt you back from Slumberland.

Thus, keeping your toothbrush and toothpaste on hand during the night shift can come in handy should you begin to doze off at some point.

6. Put Your Feet in a Basin of Water 

Staying awake throughout the night may require a lot of non-conventional hacks and one of the most effective is immersing your feet in a basin of water.  Unlike a similar trick that involves putting the feet in water for about 15 minutes before bedtime, this requires leaving your feet in the basin as you continue to work.

This trick is more effective when your shift work involves staying seated and the steps are as follows:

  • Fetch a basin of water and put in a bit of ice if it is still warm
  • Remove your footwear and socks
  • Place your bare feet in the basin
  • Continue with work as the feet remains in the basin for as long as you need
  • If the need to get up from your seat arises, put the feet back in the basin as soon as you return

7. Undertake Light Exercises

woman taking a walk

Exercise is one of the best ways to keep the mind sharp and active. If you’re undertaking shift work or need to stay up for any reason, finding ways of incorporating light exercises into your work routine can be a smart move.

From taking the stairs instead of the elevator to doing several repetitions of push-ups or sit-ups every couple of hours, the idea is to avoid getting stuck in one place to eliminate the temptation of dozing off.

If you hate working out, staying on your feet, and finding ways to walk around regularly can do the trick. You can simply walk to the bathroom and wash the face every time you notice signs of dozing off or feel stuck.

This is even more critical when you have to remain seated for most of the night as sitting down increases the risk of sleep

8. Stay Glued To Your Gadgets

Own a smartphone or gadget such as iPads and laptops? Staying glued to them may be one of the most tried and tested ways to achieve success when pulling an all-nighter. But how does technology affect sleep in the first place,

Well, these gadgets emit blue light that inhibits the brain’s production of melatonin, the main sleep-activating hormone. Thus, playing with an electronic gadget can make it harder to fall asleep even at your regular bedtime.

Secondly, the act of reading emails, checking people’s social media feeds, and watching YouTube videos may keep the brain at high levels of alertness. The technology achieves this by relaying the need to stay awake to the brain at constant intervals.

Lastly, as long as these gadgets stay close, you’ll continue getting alerts that can keep the brain from dozing off. From new Facebook friend requests to new emails and Instagram posts, there are a ton of updates that will keep rolling in.

9. Get Your Caffeine Fix

Do you live on the smell of fresh-brewed coffee in the morning? Grabbing a cup or two may help you pull an all-nighter.

Caffeine, which is the active ingredient in coffee, inhibits the body’s ability to sleep by suppressing adenosine, a powerful neurotransmitter that sends signals to the brain to release sleep hormones.

Caffeine also ramps up the body’s production of adrenaline, which keeps the mind alert and maintains productivity all night long. This can decrease the chances of falling asleep throughout the night.

The good news is that the effects of caffeine can last up to 6 hours so knocking back another cup midway through the night shift should help you stay on track until morning.

Besides, caffeine is a diuretic that typically causes dehydration in the body. This can increase the number of times you’ll have to take bathroom breaks meaning a lower risk of falling asleep during the night.

Checked out the article we wrote on How To Sleep After Overdrinking Coffee? Click the link to discover some sneaky tactics that can get you dozing off within minutes.

10. Write it Down

Have you noticed that writing makes it difficult to sleep? That’s right. A notepad and pen can be one of the antidotes to staying wide awake throughout the night.

Have an upcoming task in the morning? Plan everything by writing it down in the notepad. Are there important pieces of a puzzle you need to remember? Is there something you need to do in your personal life? Just write it down.

Writing keeps the mind sharp and alert, which further lowers the risk of falling asleep.

11. Eat Properly 


A heavy meal is counterproductive when trying to stay awake all night. Instead, stick to eat light meals at regular intervals as the combination of hunger pangs and the production of insulin after consumption can help keep you awake.

The trick is to focus on sports bar foods such as fries, mozzarella sticks, and potato chips. Additional foods that can help you stay awake include:

  • Cured Meats: Meats such as bacon, pepperoni, and sausages secrete good levels of tyramine, an amino acid that produces a stimulant known as norepinephrine, which helps the body stay awake.
  • Fermented Foods: Sour cream, yogurts, and aged cheese contain Tyramine, an amino acid that provides stimulation for brain activity. This means increased mental alertness and the ability to stay awake.
  • Sugary Foods: Cupcakes, mayonnaise, and ketchup give the body an extra dose of energy which can boost the ability to avoid sleeping all night.
  • Chocolate bars: Contain a mix of sugars and caffeine meaning an increased level of concentration and lower levels of fatigue.
  •  Fried Foods: Fried rice, fried chicken wings, and other common fried foods increase the level of acidity in the brain. This can lead to a heightened environment that keeps you awake. 

Have you read the article we wrote on Why You Should Never Sleep On a Full Stomach? Click the link to read it now for some powerful insights.

12. No Alcohol

lady holding a glass of wine

Drinking a glass of wine can help you relax and fall asleep. However, if you’re serious about staying awake, it is important to keep alcohol at bay. You wouldn’t want the brain to react by releasing hormones that can put you to sleep, would you?

Besides, a long night of drinking may cause drowsiness. Not only can this affect the ability to stay productive but it often stimulates the brain to release melatonin. Since this hormone has powerful sedative effects, you’ll soon find yourself dozing off to sleep.

Ditching the alcohol eliminates the risk of drowsiness and allows you to stay alert for as long as you need to.

13. No Energy Drinks

If you’re trying to stay awake then energy drinks should be one of your best buddies right? Not, exactly! Sure, energy drinks may contain exceeding amounts of caffeine which keeps the mind alert.

However, once their effects wear off, you can end up feeling more tired increasing the need to keep drinking higher quantities. Besides, energy drinks can be very addictive to the point where you end up drinking several cans or bottles within a short period.

This can quickly make you exceed the daily recommended amount of caffeine at 400 mg since the average can of energy drink contains 120 mg of caffeine.

Thus, staying away from energy drinks can be worth your while especially for those who need to stay awake regularly.

14. Switch on the TV 

Need a simple way to stay up all night? Why not just switch on the TV? Televisions can help you stay productive at night in a myriad of ways.

Firstly, the light emitted from the TV can inhibit the brain’s production of melatonin, which regulates sleep. This means a high level of awareness during the night to concentrate on whatever you’re doing.

The sounds and scenes from the television can also entertain the brain even when you’re not paying full attention. It is no secret that an entertained mind stays alert which allows you to focus on the tasks for the night.

The trick is to switch onto a channel that enables multi-tasking so it does not interfere with your school or professional responsibilities.

15. Chew Gum

Many folks chew a piece of gum whenever they find themselves in settings where they can easily lose focus or feel sleepy. This is because it is a potent method that has been used over the years.

Chewing gum keeps the facial muscles active meaning a higher amount of blood flow to the area in question. Since chewing takes effort, it can keep brain activity at high levels forcing the brain to concentrate and stay alert albeit on low-key levels.

The good news is that you can chew a caffeinated gum during the all-night session as this gives you the dual benefit of exercising the gums and caffeine. You’ll be amazed at how easy pulling through the night can be.

The Military Energy Gum from Amazon is my go-to option every time I have to work a night shift or study throughout the night. It gives an instant energy boost that provides maximum concentration until the morning.

16. Listen to Music

girl listening to music

Listening to music can be a great way to keep the mind awake. Does this mean you should log onto Apple Music or your favorite streaming service and start listening to any song on your playlists? The answer is no.

Listening to slow tempo music can only make you feel sleepy. Instead, choose high tempo music that rings sharply in the ears and beats out every ounce of sleepiness. The good news is that you can find this kind of music in every genre.

The trick is to choose tracks that play close to 120 beats per minute i.e. double the average person’s heart rate at 60 beats per minute. They can make it easy to keep the brain active for as long as necessary.

17. Gossip

It is difficult to feel sleepy when you’re engaged in thought-provoking conversations. This is why many night shift workers bond over gossip whenever they get the chance. Instead of keeping to yourself throughout, you can stay engaged by having a conversation with third parties if possible.

Even if you’re staying up all alone, perhaps a partner or friend will be happy to pick up their phones and have short chats every couple of hours.

Even texting on platforms such as WhatsApp can be a great way to share conversations that keep you awake. The good news is that many students and co-workers now have WhatsApp group chats where there’s always a few people awake and posting at every point.

Feel free to join in conversations and keep it going. By the time you realize, it is already morning and your shift has come to an end.

18. Stretching

woman stretching on a yoga mat

The benefits of workouts for staying awake are well-known but did you know that regular stretches can have similar effects? Whether you’ve got your regular workout routine checked off or not, it is important to stretch your muscles for 5-10 minutes every hour or so.

Stretching exercises can lead to deeper breaths and associated benefits such as increased oxygen supply to the muscles in question.  Additionally, getting up on your feet frequently is a good way to stay active and banish any signs of sleepiness.

Do well to stretch those areas that are at greater risk of stiffness such as the thighs and feet, arms and shoulder, neck, and waist.  Not only will this allow you to focus throughout the night but it can also reduce the risk of aches and niggles in the morning.

The BalanceFrom GoYoga All-Purpose 1/2 Inch Extra Thick Anti-Tear Yoga Mat from Amazon is my go-to mat for doing yoga at home and the office. The 71-inch length and 24-inch width make it comfortable for people of all shapes and sizes. With 5-star reviews from over 21,000 buyers (and counting) on Amazon alone, you cannot afford to miss out on it.

19. Inhale Sharp Scents

Have you ever inhaled a sharp scent while dozing off? It can give a rapid awakening of your senses. This is why we recommend inhaling strong smells if you’re feeling sleepy and nothing seems to be working.

There are several types of essential oils on the market and each can do your alertness levels a lot of good by just inhaling it. Some of the most popular oils readily available on the market include:

  • Peppermint
  • Cinnamon
  • Lemon
  • Camphor
  • Lemongrass
  • Eucalyptus
  • Bergamot

There are several options to diffuse these essential oils including creating your mist sprays or using an electric diffuser. However, the simplest option is to open the bottle or container and inhale it directly.

This can give a quick jolt to the brain and eliminate any signs of sleepiness while you concentrate on work or studies for the rest of the night. Luckily, most essential oils come in smallish containers you can easily carry to work either in a pocket or purse.

I always take a bottle out of the ArtNaturals Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils Set from Amazon whenever I need to stay up all night. It comes in 8 x 10 ml bottles of 8 different essential oils and inhaling any of them prevents me from sleepiness every time I pull an all-nighter.

20. Switch Tasks 

Switching tasks from time to time can help you stay awake for as long as necessary because boredom can make you feel sleepy. If you stick to doing the same tasks over and over again then chances are it is only a matter of time before fatigue sets in and you start nodding off.

Dr. Neil Stanley, a sleep specialist says feeling safe and secured is one of the quickest ways for the body to fall asleep.“Therefore, in a low-stress, safe, environment such as a lecture or watching a film, it is common for some people to feel a strong urge to sleep,”.

This same mechanism works when you’re engaged in monotonous tasks. It can get to a point when the brain feels so sure that it does not require any more effort for it to be done. This can decrease the level of brain activity and induce sleep.

However, switching through different tasks keeps the brain active and alert to prevent errors and accidents. The result is maximum productivity throughout the night.

21. Use Medication 

If you’ve tried every other tip above and still getting little to no results then you may have little option than to speak to your doctor. There are prescription medications that can stimulate the brain to stay active and keep you up throughout the night.

These drugs promote wakefulness even when you’re extremely tired and need to sleep. Also known as Nootropics or smart drugs, these stimulants may be available in the form of amino acids, herbs, or synthesized medications.

Whichever form you opt for, staying awake for several hours without any problems can become a real possibility.

The most popular medications for staying awake include:

  • Modafinil
  • Armodafinil
  • Modalert
  • Waklert

Be mindful of the fact that these drugs can be addictive when used over the long-haul. They may also cause side effects ranging from breathing problems to long-term disruptions to your sleep cycle as well as rashes and irregular heartbeats.

The Genius Consciousness Super Nootropic Brain Booster Supplement from Amazon is my go-to solution each time I need to stay awake. It stimulates heightened mental clarity, focus, and cognitive performance to guarantee maximum productivity.


We’ve just listed the 21 proven ways to stay awake all night long. While these tips are effective, you should always try to get the much-needed amount of shuteye the body needs. There is no healthy substitute for sleep – be it drugs or any lifestyle choices.

Also, make sure to get adequate rest after staying up all night the next day. This can be beneficial to your long-term health.

Gabriel Smith

Hello, my name is Gabriel and I LOVE to sleep. Okay, you’re right, a lot of people do like sleep. But my passion is actually not sleeping. My interest lies in the “theoretical part”. What to do before bedtime. What a good night’s sleep is. etc. In short, how to sleep well. I hope you share the same interest as me, and enjoy reading everything about sleep.

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