Which Foods can Help Me Stay Awake?

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  • Originally Written By: Kris Roudebush
  • Revised By: C. Wilborn
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2018
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Food has the ability to bring a rush of energy followed by a crash, especially when eaten in large portions or in carbohydrate-rich combinations. If you need to stay awake, whether it's to make it through the last half of the day or to pull an all-nighter, your best bet is to eat small amounts of lean protein and healthy carbohydrates about every three hours. Eat regularly so your body will be constantly digesting and delivering a steady, even stream of sugar into the blood system. This can help keep you feeling alert.

To stay awake, try eating whole wheat crackers with low-fat cheese, a small handful of nuts with a serving of grapes, or half a turkey sandwich. The idea that eating turkey will cause drowsiness appears to be a myth, since the levels of tryptophan, a compound that causes drowsiness, in turkey is about the same as in other meats. Other energy-boosting snacks include yogurt, an apple with peanut butter, and cottage cheese with fruit or vegetables. Fruit is often a good choice to help you stay awake, because it boosts your blood sugar relatively quickly, but doesn't make you crash the way candy or other sugary foods can.


In addition to eating snacks, drink lots of cold water. Dehydration can make you tired, and prevent your mind from being at its sharpest. In addition, drinking water will force you to take more breaks — for obvious reasons — which can help prevent eye strain if you're staring at a computer or book. Getting up and walking around briefly can also help wake you up, as can the cold of the water itself.

Drinking caffeine is not always a good choice to help you stay awake. It will give you a short burst of energy, which is an option if that's all you need. Consuming large quantities of caffeine usually causes an energy crash later, however, and can make you feel worse the next day. Sugar is an even worse choice because the subsequent crash happens even more quickly. While both caffeine and sugar may help you stay awake for an hour or two, be sure to consider the long-term ramifications.

Eating the right foods is only one part of staying awake; you should move around regularly as well. Take frequent breaks, since eye strain and sitting in one position for a long time can cause drowsiness. Create a strategy to stay awake that includes eating healthy foods to give you the energy you need, drinking water to stay hydrated, and taking frequent breaks to help keep your mind sharp enough to get the job done.


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Post 11

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Post 6

to mutsy: brightness does not help me, sadly any new suggestions? Please keep posting. i really need to know about this.

Post 5

Icecream17- I am going to try that next time. I wanted to say that bright light also allows you to stay awake at work. It is difficult to go to sleep with all of the lights on.

Post 4

SurfNturf- I just wanted to add that eating foods rich in protein also help you stay awake all night.

Foods like peanuts and peanut butter stay in your system longer so that curbs your hunger which also makes you feel stronger and more alert.

Post 3

Cupcake15-What I try to do is lower the air conditioning so that it is really cold. That is how to stay awake when all else fails. Also, drinking a cold drink invigorates you and also keeps you alert.

Post 2

It reminded me of my college years when I needed ways to stay awake in order to study for an exam.

In order to say awake at night, I would take a small nap of no more than twenty minutes in the early evening. This used to help me stay awake at night.

I also used to drink lots of Cuban coffee. Espresso has a higher caffeine content than regular coffee so it helped be stay awake at night.

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