Sleep Is The Cousin Of Death: Five Ways To Stay Awake Longer

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I Never Sleep Cause Sleep Is The Cousin of Death - Nas

As I write this blog post, the clock is about to hit midnight and most people are already asleep. Findlay & I just spent the last few minutes chatting about our plans for the coming months and what is on our plate for tomorrow. It’s becoming a routine for us to have late night conversations and late night hustle. I’ve been hustling late into the night my entire life. It’s something I enjoy doing and something that gives me an advantage. As Will Smith once said;

While the other guy’s sleeping, I’m working. While the other guy’s eating, I’m working. While the other guy’s making love, I mean, I’m making love, too, but I’m working really hard at it!

A few months back, I read a book from Peter Thiel called Zero to One. It’s a great book and one that students of technology and entrepreneurship will be reading for decades to come. In this book, he answers the question: “What is one thing you believe to be true that most do not?” and points to the idea of death as being a part of life. He’s not sold on the concept of death and thinks that with ongoing advancements in longevity and science, we may someday live forever.

While it would be great to live forever, I think the first problem we should tackle is sleep. I hate sleep. Nothing about sleeping interests me except for the fact that it allows me to function the next day. If I didn’t have to sleep, I wouldn’t do it. I think that sleep can be cured and will someday be obsolete. For now, I have to use tactics to stay awake that aren’t preventing sleep entirely but just extending the periods in which I can stay awake.

As someone who has tried pretty much everything to extend his ability to stay awake, you can trust that the ideas I’m going to share with you have been tried and tested. In fact, some of these ideas are backed by research and I’ll share those studies. Let’s get to it – Here are five ways to stay awake longer instead of falling asleep:

Eat High Protein Meals

Protein - Salmon Sushi

When people tend to think about the energy they put into their body getting burned they tend to think about a treadmill. Few people actually realize that 25% of your calories are being consumed by your brain. If you want to stay awake, you need to ensure that you have enough energy in your body to keep your body running.

A midnight snack is a great idea but a handful of potato chips or gummy worms is not going to do the trick. You need foods that are high in good fats and healthy protein. Whether it’s a bowl of stew or a small batch of chicken wings – the proteins in these foods will stimulate a neurotransmitter in your brain called orexin that regulates arousal, wakefulness and appetite. (Back in 2007, there was actual talks about orexin being used in Nasal spray to prevent sleep.)

There’s a reason why the CEO of Apple Tim Cook eats proteins bars all day.

Take A Few Minutes Worth Of Deep Breaths

For the past few months, I’ve been practicing meditation before bed to get my brain off the hustle. In doing so, I’ve improved my ability to be conscious of my breathing. Most people don’t realize that deep breathing raises blood oxygen levels which slows your heart rate, lowers blood pressure and ultimately aids mental energy. The goal is to breath so deeply that your stomach rises with air and not your chest. If you can do that a few times, your brain will be equipped with the energy it needs for a burst of hustle.

Turn Up The Lights

I’m a big advocate of a program called f.lux because it helps you transition from laptop to bed. It reduces the bright light on your devices to help your eyes transition from high exposure to low exposure when your eyes are closed. Studies have shown that exposure to bright light can reduce sleepiness and increase alertness. So if you’re trying to stay awake, turn off f.lux and turn on the lights in your office!

Drink A Bit Of Liquid Hustle



Good ol’ reliable.

Don’t buy into the hype that sugary energy drinks are the best thing to have at night. Sure, these beverages have lots of caffeine in them but they’re also filled with sugar which can lead you down a one way street to crashcity. If you know you’re going to be working late hours on the regular, don’t make the mistake of running out of coffee. Subscribe to Hustle & Grind so the coffee is always on time, delivered to your door every single month.

Have Bursts Of Conversations

Studies have found that taking part in conversations right before you drift off can give you the surge of energy you need to make it through. A lot of my friends get text messages or Skype messages from me randomly at night when I’m looking to break up my hustle with interaction. It’s these conversations that will help keep your mind sharp and ultimately give you a break from tackling a task that is either daunting or repetitive.

If you’re not a night owl, you might want to consider it as research has also shown that intelligent people are more likely to be nocturnal than people with lower IQ scores. It’s not always easy staying up late but I hope these strategies can help you if that’s what you’re looking to do. Whether it’s a late night or an all nighter – these five natural ways to stay up late are both tried and tested.

Know of any other strategies or tactics that can keep you awake? Let us know in the comments – We’re always looking for ideas to stay up past our bedtime.



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Great tips! I will be sure to keep these in mind for my next day of working until 4am. I had no clue about high protein foods, I will implement that asap!

Findlay Hilchie

Awesome to hear! Another hour worked today could turn into more time later!


I can understand your desire to stay wake as long as possible.

It’s a direct result of a 21st century drive to assume that ‘more’ (time/money/success/productivity etc) equates to a better quality of life and more happiness.

However, this contradicts of all our current understanding of the science and physiology of sleep.

Bottom line is, sleep is the third pillar of heath, alongside exercise and and good nutrition.

Long term skipping on sleep can have multiple chronic side effects including heart disease, cancer and Neuro degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s.

Sleep deprivation affects brain development in children and adults, reduces overall cognitive ability, memory consolidation, and creativity.

Poor sleep and shift working also greatly increase the incidence of obesity, as they disturb the balance of hunger hormones grehlin and leptin.

Finally, rats deprived of sleep for 3 weeks just mysteriously die. Scientists don’t yet know why…..

So, I’m hedging my bets.

Life is too short not to sleep well.

PS:a correction: f.lux is about colour temperature, not the brightness of your screens.


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