October 2013

Staying Awake in the Final Hours

Kate from Kate’s Book Nook is a SUPERSTAR when it comes to the last hours of the Read-a-Thon. She’s been our go-to for late-night/early morning hosting for the last several -athons, so now’s your chance to find out how this talented lady stays awake for those coveted hours. 


In the last several Read-a-Thons, I have co-hosted the last four to five hours. These tend to be some of the toughest hours for those who are trying to do the full 24 hours. Coming from a family of night owls, I am frequently awake in the wee hours of the morning. Over the years, I have developed many tips and techniques to staying awake and staying alert.

Here are some of the tricks and tips I recommend to stay awake:

  • Listen to music – even get up and dance for a few minutes. Listening to music quietly instead of loudly is actually more effective.
  • Get up and move around a bit. Walk around the house. The neighborhood (if it is safe). Sometimes I would put on an audiobook and do some crochet or cross stitch or knitting. Anything to keep my hands active, but my mind free. You can also try doing some jumping jacks.
  • Read something interesting and upbeat. Classics and heavy literature are better when you mind is fresher and more alert. Shorter books or action filled ones are good for keeping you going.
  • Keep the room bright! When the light is dull, your eyes tend to drift closed. The brighter the better!
  • Chew ice – The chilling temperature keeps the brain alert. If you don’t have ice around, chew something else, such as gum or candy.
  • Take a quick shower. I don’t recommend a cold one, because then you will want to rush under the covers, but a quick shower will help awaken your body. If nothing else, splash your face with cold water.
  • Eat some healthy snacks – Some citrus fruits or nuts (such as sunflower seeds, almonds, or cashews) really help keep you awake and alert. Try some peanut butter and celery. Avoid anything starchy, such a breads or potatoes. Those are heavy and make you sleepy.
  • AVOID THE COFFEE OR ENERGY DRINKS – I know, I know. You are battling to stay awake. The coffee or Red Bull would be so helpful. But think again, my friends. After these last few hours are past, you are most likely going to want to go to sleep. You don’t want the extra buzz you got from your caffeine fix to keep you awake. Instead try some orange juice or grapefruit juice or ICE COLD water. Stay hydrated.
  • Go on twitter or this blog and chat for a few minutes. I know that chatting with you all always helps me stay awake.

Do you have any tips or tricks that I might have missed? If so, please share them below in the comments section. I am always trying to come up with new and interesting ways to stay awake!


9 thoughts on “Staying Awake in the Final Hours”

  1. Love your ideas. I hadn’t thought of chewing on ice or even the idea of changing my drink to something more like juice. I do drink a lot of water but it is so easy to forget when you’re reading. Staying hydrated is great advice. Great post.

    I’ve used several of your methods to get through those last hours. Most of the time I’m jumping in late so I read into the night during the readathons. This year I’m setting bells and alarms so I can get started at 7AM my time. I want to go the distance. It’s a challenge, it is. 🙂

    I’ve called on that pattern interrupt theory at times and clapped my hands, stomped my feet, etc. I’ve also done some quick stretching and back and shoulder exercises to get the circulation going. Nothing too much. More like trying to get the kinks out. Talking to the dogs gives some help, too.

    Here’s my morning readathon post:
    Five ways to have fun with readathons.

  2. @Elizabeth – good luck! You can do it. But even if you don’t, what matters is that you had fun and you got some reading in!

    @Heather – you should try. I have only done it a couple times but it is usually the early morning that kills me. Or the afternoon. Hehehe

    @Vikk – great blog post with more excellent tips. The ice really does help. The other day at work, I was really struggling and chewing ice helped me make it through the day.

    @Sharlene – is it really a 1 AM start? Because I am a 5 am start and my sister in Singapore is an 8 pm start. But I am really bad at converting time zones. Should probably double check my numbers. Hahaha. Anyway, I hat mornings a lot so I will definitely be employing some of these early on. Here’s a tip for the wake up. If you can, set your alarm with like 10 alarms in 5-10 minute intervals. Then place your phone far away from your bed. I did not do this last readathon and I slept though the first 8+ hours.

  3. @Sharlene – I went and checked the start times tab and saw you are totally right about your start time. I don’t know what you starting at 1 am surprises me so much. It just seems so close to me, but I know that getting to New Zealand is so far away from me!!!

  4. These are fabulous tips! I know that anything with backlighting helps me stay awake.

    But as a former elem school teacher, the dancing part makes sense! I used to make my kids do “brain breaks” and physically get up and move when they were sleepy after lunch (or at any other time during the day).

  5. As it finishes at 1 in the afternoon for me I’ll be having coffee in the final hours. I just can’t go to sleep at that time and be OK for work Monday! I’d rather have a few hours sleep in the early hours (just past half way).

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