At times, you want to put your sleeping pattern on the back burner. Reasons for this may vary from preparation for an examination to completing a job assignment. Although staying awake and alert is crucial in such a scenario, it's not simple, especially when one is feeling extremely sleepy at night. However, curbing sleep pangs is not that difficult as it seems, if you eat the right food during meals.
Caffeinated products like coffee are helpful to ward off sleep and increase alertness. When the situation demands that you need to have too little sleep, a cup of coffee can be a good option. Caffeine restricts production of melatonin, a hormone that controls sleep-wake cycles. Decrease in melatonin levels prevents us from falling asleep at work or at home.
Unlike alcohol that depresses the nervous system, caffeine is a stimulant for the central nervous system, which is the reason why we are able to stay awake for long periods of time after drinking coffee, tea or green tea. Other caffeinated beverages that can help you to stay awake are mountain dew and diet coke. Avoid over consumption, instead prefer to drink it in small quantities at regular intervals to prevent dehydration.
Foods High in Tyramine
If you don't like to depend on caffeine to disrupt sleep, then go for foods rich in tyramine. These foods prompt the body to secrete certain hormones that stimulate the brain to stay awake. Tyramine is an amino acid that boosts the secretion of norepinephrine, a hormone that increases the attention span of brain. Norepinephrine acts as a stimulant and makes us feel less sleepy. Foods that contain tyramine are given below:
- Aged cheese like gorgonzola and brie
- Cured meats that include bacon, sausages, pepperoni and salami
- Fruits such as avocados, bananas, raisins
- Vegetables such as tomatoes
- Pickled fish like herring
- Soy based products such as soy sauce and tofu
Foods High in Iron
Diet poor in dietary iron triggers a feeling of extreme tiredness and forces us to take frequent naps. People with iron deficiency anemia (poor red blood cell (RBC) count) also experience lack of energy, which makes them drowsy. RBCs do the job of transporting oxygen to each and every part of the body.
With low RBC count, the body is deprived of sufficient oxygen supply. As a result, a persistent feeling of exhaustion keeps on bothering the patient. No wonder, excessive sleepiness is commonly associated with anemia patients. So, make sure you include iron rich foods in the diet to keep sleep pangs to a minimum. Iron foods, especially organ meats will energize and revitalize you to stay awake.
Coffee is not the only drink that helps to distract sleep. Drinking ice-cold water can also benefit to drive away the feeling of sleepiness. It is an easy home remedy to stay awake the whole night. Also, frequent urination that follows with increased water intake can deter you from taking sleep.
Foods Rich in Refined Carbohydrates
Sleep takes a backseat if you add refined carbohydrates to your diet. Having dinner that has too much of refined carbohydrates can restrict your sleep and allow you to stay awake at night. The best example of refined carb is white flour that is found in ample amounts in cakes, donuts, cookies, white bread, muffins and cupcakes. Refined carbs are also found in sweet drinks and snacks like potato chips and candies. Many who eat these foods in the evening face a hard time falling sleep. So, if you are serious about staying awake at night to meet your job deadline, eating these foods would work in your favor.
One of the best tips to stay awake is to avoid heavy meals. Sleepiness after having a large-sized meal is common and so eating food in moderation is necessary to ensure that sleep does not get the better of you. Sitting for hours in one position can also make you sleepy. So, get up and do some stretching exercises and walk for 3-5 minutes in your room. This light activity done at regular intervals can refresh and motivate you to stay awake.