Not talking one bad night of sleep here. These are my tried and true safety tips for real talk sleep deprivation and a true need to stay awake anyway: new parents, anyone who is required to work 24 hrs+ at a time, very bad insomnia. I'm also averaging appx 3.5 hrs a night coming out of this weekend so 😜😴😜
  1. Narrate your drive
    Driving tired is legit like driving drunk. Your attention span is terrible and reaction time is in the toilet. Saying it out loud (ie "green means go," or "stopping at the stop sign") may seem bananas, but it forces you to pay attention and be awake.
  2. Crunchy stuff: apples, Cheetos, celery, dried chickpeas, whatever floats your boat
    Eat it. It is very hard (though not impossible, trust) to fall asleep with a potato chip in your mouth.
  3. Sleep--stick with me on this one
    I mean, obviously. But you can always convince yourself that for some reason, unless you can get a FULL night of sleep or at least an uninterrupted hour or whatever, it's not worth it. This is a lie. Sleep whenever or wherever you can. Gotta eat when you're hungry, shit where there's a pot, etc.
  4. Write important shit down
    You think you will remember, but you will not. Or you will write one word and think this will trigger you, but the next day you will look at your to-do list and it will say "playbill" and you will have no idea what it means. Fully document important stuff when tired.
  5. Caffeinate wisely
    Again, this seems obvious, but you have to do it right. If you are in a hardcore sleep deficit, you need a steady state of low-level caffeine (ie tea, soda; save your redbulls and espresso for the start of the day) to keep you from literally falling asleep standing up. Do not worry that it will keep you up once you finally get to sleep. It will not.
  6. Hydrate
    Because being tired and being dehydrated just feels awful, and all that caffeine and crunchy food is gonna dry you out. And as long as you don't have a bed wetting issue, having to pee frequently will prevent you from falling asleep.
  7. Get some sun
    Natural light can certainly burn your eyes and make you feel like the Wicked Witch of the West as you melt, but it does send a strong message to your body that it's a time to be awake.
  8. Deep breathing
    As you get more tired, your breathing can get more shallow (that's one of the reasons we yawn when tired). That, coupled with your brain's need for oxygen, makes some solid deep breaths (see @ouizoid's outstanding list on 4 square breathing) extremely important.
  9. Wash yourself
    Multipurpose: showers are very stimulating and if you have had to be awake for a billion hours, you probably have at least one reason to smell bad.
  10. Pretend you are in a video game
    There's no great reason for this other than the fact that your distorted sense of reality will definitely make this seem really possible and it's kind of fun.
  11. Mint stimulates the brain and makes it more alert and improves memory. Chew mint gum when you drive or perform surgery, LOL. What a fantastic list!
    Suggested by @ouizoid
  12. Play music that you know by heart and soul
    Paul's Boutique for me!
    Suggested by @AlexandraLouise
  13. Sadly, avoid sugar
    The Sour Patch Kids will get you through minute by minute, but they will make you lose the war.
    Suggested by @AlexandraLouise
  14. For an immediate pick-up, try an essential oil for energizing: rosemary, cypress, grapefruit, lemon, peppermint. As easy as rubbing 2-3 drops in the palms of your hands, cupping them over your nose, and taking 3-5 deep inhalations and breathing out of the mouth.
    Try putting a few drops of peppermint oil on a hot, damp towel and deals it over your bare shoulders after a shower / bath. Can also try an essential oil to ease stress, or to feel more grounded.
    Suggested by @wikiHow
  15. Drive with the window cracked
    I once fell asleep at a stoplight after a 24 (really 26) hour call. After that, I'd drive with my window cracked or down so the air and noise would keep me stimulated. 😳
    Suggested by @TT