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How to Stay Awake When You Find Yourself Nodding Off

Had a rough night's sleep? Here are five tricks that could help blow off the cobwebs.

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How to stay awake - yawning woman holding coffee cupPhoto: franz12 /

You can’t always avoid feeling tired

There are ideals and then there’s real life. In truth, you will at times find yourself tired but still obligated to stay alert. Here’s how to stay awake and make those moments as painless as possible.

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How to stay awake - happy man listening to musicPhoto: Prostock-studio /

Play music

This brain hack works best if you opt for something cheery, with a beat that’s strong and fast but not exhausting (100 to 130 beats per minute).

Tonight, make it a point to add these sleep-promoting podcasts to your playlist.

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Smiling woman facing the sunPhoto: Shutterstock

Go outside or place yourself near a bright light

Your body takes its sleep-wake cues from light. If it’s not high noon on a sunny day, fool your system into thinking it is.

When you’re ready to catch some Zzz’s, check out these natural ways to fall asleep fast.

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Woman drinking waterPhoto: Shutterstock

Drink water

Dehydration increases sleepiness. Keeping yourself hydrated can help to curb fatigue.

Here’s how much water you need to drink to stay hydrated.

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Woman nordic walking on boardwalkPhoto: Jacek Chabraszewski /


Aerobic activity pumps oxygen through your system and releases hormones that give you energy.

Find out what happens to your body when you start walking 10,000 steps a day.

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Hipster man reading a book at a bookstorePhoto: Shutterstock

Stimulate your mind

Boredom promotes fatigue. Start a conversation or read an article about a topic that interests you.

Now that you know how to stay awake, use this sleep hygiene checklist to get the deep, restful sleep of your dreams.

Reader's Digest Canada
Originally Published in Reader's Digest Canada