Sleep is a period of deep relaxation needed for the health and functioning of the mind and body. In some instances, it may be necessary to prevent sleep to complete tasks like work or studying. There are a variety of home remedies to help you stay awake, many of which are reasonably safe when used on a short-term basis.
While it's often associated with tiredness and exhaustion, exercise can be an excellent way to increase alertness. According to Science Daily, low-intensity exercises like walking may boost energy levels by 20 percent while decreasing fatigue by 65 percent. Exercise directly affects the central nervous system by boosting production of neurotransmitters like serotonin, which regulate mood and sleep patterns. It also raises heart rate and improves circulation, which can result in increased alertness.
Low-intensity exercises like leisurely walking, yoga and bicycle riding are excellent for fighting fatigue. While 30 minutes of exercise is recommended daily for optimal health, as few as 5 to 10 minutes can enhance energy.
Caffeine is a common stimulant found in many food and drink products. It increases heart rate, blood pressure and respiration, leading to feelings of improved energy and alertness. According to the National Institutes of Health, caffeine is thought to delay tiredness by blocking adenosine receptors in the central nervous system. It is often used as a study aide due to its effects on memory and alertness and may help fight physical fatigue caused by intense physical exertion.
Caffeine occurs naturally in tea, chocolate, coffee and herbs like kola nut and yerba mate. While it can provide a temporary energy boost, caffeine may also cause a sudden "crash" characterized by low mood and decreased energy. Side effects like jitteriness, insomnia and nausea are common among caffeine consumers and may be more severe in sensitive individuals.
While technically a form of sleep, naps are an efficient way to ward off the lengthy deep sleep that can interfere with productivity. According to the National Sleep Foundation, short naps may help improve focus and performance while reducing the frequency of accidents and mistakes.
While napping is not feasible for everyone, taking short breaks lying down with your eyes closed can be beneficial even if you don't achieve sleep. To prevent drowsiness and night-time insomnia, limit naps to 30 minutes or less.