Reader Question – How to Wake Up

What is the best way to wake up if you haven’t slept?

If you feel drained because you haven’t had enough rest, the best thing you can do is go ahead and get some sleep. This is a little like asking “How can I stop from feeling thirsty when I haven’t had anything to drink?” Your body is trying to tell you something and you should listen to it. There are somethings you can to to help stay awake, but you can only trick your body so long. Here are a few things might help if you are having trouble focusing because you are tired:

  • Take a short walk – The exercise will help wake you up.
  • Lower the temperature – If you feel overly warm your body may start trying to go to sleep.
  • Work standing – This gives you a little more physical activity.
  • Change your environment – If you can go somewhere else it may be easier to stay awake.
  • Get a light crunchy snack – Many people find that eating helps keep them awake.
  • Get sunlight – Sunlight can help reset your body’s clock and tell it to stay awake. You can also try turning on additional lights in your work area, but nothing will beat actual sunlight.
  • Take a short nap – This can be tricky because if your body needs to sleep, taking a nap may leave you even more tired than before. If you can wake up in your first sleep cycle, you may be able to wake up refreshed. (There are some watches that are supposed to track your sleep state and wake you up when you will feel most refreshed.)
  • Talk to someone – If you are having trouble concentrating because you are tired, spending a few minutes talking with a co-worker can dramatically get your brain back into gear.
  • Read a joke or mind puzzle – The goal here is to try to help activate your mind. If you feel tired and your brain is bored, it will try to shutdown your body by making you feel tired. Give your brain something to think about and you’ll often feel more awake.

As I said earlier, you shouldn’t fight your body’s request for sleep. These tips are only temporary solutions that will help get your mind back in gear when you are feeling tired at an inopportune moment.


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