|May 7, 2024

How to Stay Awake After an All-Nighter

By Dave Asprey
Reviewed for Scientific Accuracy

How to Stay Awake After an All-Nighter

  • Seeking tricks on how to stay awake after a sleepless night? Sleep is foundational for overall human performance — but sometimes, you have to pull an all-nighter.
  • Staying hydrated, using caffeine (responsibly), supplementing throughout the day and getting sunlight can help support your energy levels.
  • Running on fumes is less than ideal, but these tips will help you power through your day … until you finally get some sleep.

Need to learn how to stay awake after a sleepless night? Make no mistake, all-nighters do nothing for your health. Less sleep raises blood pressure and adversely affects the levels of your stress hormone, cortisol.[1] [2] If you want to support your health and perform at your peak on the regular, sleep is non-negotiable.

But what happens when you need to burn the midnight oil and still function the next day? Though it’ll take a couple of days to recover fully, these next-day hacks will come in handy when an all-nighter is inevitable. Here’s how to stay awake — and still perform like a badass — when you’ve gotten zero shut-eye.

Drink water

Glass of ice water

To be alert and focused after an all-nighter, one of the most important things you can do is stay hydrated. New research has found that shorter sleep duration is associated with dehydration.[3] Your adrenal glands, which produce the hormones that manage your stress, will be also working overtime due to lack of sleep.[4] However, water is vital to help them function properly — so drink up.

Add electrolytes

Some people will feel more alert if they mix half a teaspoon of high-quality pink Himalayan salt in a large glass of water first thing in the morning after an all-nighter. Salt can wake up your adrenals and get you revved up to tackle the day, regardless of last night.

Use caffeine

Cupped hands holding coffee beans

Coffee is an obvious tool when it comes to staying awake on no sleep. To maintain energy throughout the day, try smaller doses of caffeine (50 to 100 milligrams) peppered throughout daylight hours. Keep in mind, one 8-ounce cup of coffee equals 95-165 mg of caffeine, and most people should max out after about four cups.[5]

I recommend drinking Bulletproof Coffee instead of taking it black or with sugar. This way, you’re adding brain-boosting quality fats to your morning cup that help curb cravings, which can ignite after a sleepless night.[6] Learn how to make Bulletproof Coffee here.

Optimize your diet

Variety of roasted carrots

Avoid high-glycemic foods

Eating high-glycemic starches like white rice and pasta can make you feel tired.[7] That’s because high-glycemic foods contribute to blood sugar spikes and energy crashes[8] — the last thing you want when you’re trying to stay awake. So, pass on the rice and potatoes … at least until you’ve gotten a good night’s sleep.

Add protein

Amino acids, aka the building blocks of protein, have been shown to activate orexin cells.[9] Orexin is a neurotransmitter that helps keep you awake.[10] [11] Feed your sleep-deprived self an additional serving of a complete source of protein like red meat, fish, poultry or eggs, which contain all the essential amino acids your body needs.

Boost ketones with Brain Octane oil

Brain Octane oil is C8 MCT oil, the best MCT for maximum ketone production. Ketones quickly cross the blood-brain barrier to support brain power, which means you have more gas in the tank to power through your day. Learn more about MCT oils here.

Supplement to destress your system

Ketoprime pills in palm of a person's hand

I would never pull an all-nighter without Ketoprime and Unfair Advantage, which support mitochondrial cell function. Mitochondria are the power plants that keep your body running. Keep them fueled and you’ll have more energy for everything you do.

The PQQ in Unfair Advantage helps form new mitochondria and boosts cellular energy to keep you running at peak levels. KetoPrime creates new mitochondria to power your cells. With these supplements, you’ll feel ready to tackle whatever the day throws at you. I take three Ketoprime under my tongue, and that has revived me more than once from an all-nighter crash.

Keep your gut bacteria in check

Bulletproof Coconut Charcoal pills

Most people don’t know that gut bacteria have a circadian rhythm. They get stressed when you don’t sleep all night, and subsequently pump out more toxins called lipopolysaccharides that can make you feel inflamed, tired and cranky.[12] [13] Take 1,000 mg of activated charcoal to help move toxins out of your body. Another way to support your gut: Eat more prebiotics, which feed your good gut bacteria. Bulletproof InnerFuel Prebiotic supports healthy digestion and boosts immunity, and it makes your Bulletproof Coffee extra frothy — another big benefit, if you ask me.

Related: Losing Sleep Wrecks Your Gut. Here’s What You Can Do About It

Get sunlight

Woman sitting outdoors in sunshine

To fight grogginess and stay awake, expose yourself to at least 20 minutes of sunlight in the morning following a late night. Sunlight helps regulate your melatonin levels, biological clock hormones that get out of whack with insufficient sleep.[14] If you can’t get sunlight, sit under a 500-watt white halogen bulb in the morning to help your circadian rhythms reset themselves.

Move your body

Woman jogging outdoors

Exercise should be one of the first activities you do in the morning to stay awake after an all-nighter. It’ll raise your body temperature as well as your heart rate. There are even studies in rats showing that exercise prevents anxious behaviors that stem from sleep deprivation.[15] What kind of exercise should you do? Something that gets you going but doesn’t increase your stress levels — you have enough sleep-stress, and you don’t need exercise-stress, too. This is not the time for a serious high-intensity interval training workout. Aim for a brisk walk instead.

Recover the right way

Woman asleep in bed

While you might want to sneak in a nap after your all-nighter, trust me when I say it’s the worst idea. You’ll wake up feeling groggy, and you’ll throw your circadian rhythm off, too. Instead, go to bed early the night after your all-nighter. Typically in bed by 10 p.m.? Aim for an hour earlier. Also, control your light exposure: dim the lights and block the light as the sun sets. Definitely don’t stare at bright screens. You’re going to want to help your body reset its circadian rhythm, and junk light will just set you back.

Related: How to Sleep Better

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