Fighting Off Sleepiness Before a PresentationJonathan Berntsen
You beat the deadline and made sure that everything in your deck looks right. But one look at the clock and you realize it’s already deep into the night. Deeper than you expected. And you’ve got to wake up on time the next day. To make sure you’re not late for your presentation (which is why you crammed in the first place), you sleep less hours. This trade-off might not be that great since you’ve compromised your delivery—exhausted, sleepy, and all that.
When you’re not in the best shape to deliver your speech, your slides can’t build rapport with the audience for you. Here are ways to energize yourself so that you don’t fall asleep before—and during—your presentation.
1. Warm Up
Get your blood rushing to reinvigorate your body. Liken it to hyping yourself up or getting yourself excited—or anything as long as you feel the blood pumping. You might think that exercising will use up your remaining energy reserves, but the body is a lot smarter about conserving energy than we give it credit for.
You can get more energy by moving around. This will trigger the release of hormones in your body and will put you on alert. Do simple activities like stretching and doing breathing exercises. The latter will also help you relax before your presentation.
2. Cool Down
Shock yourself awake with something cold if any attempt to warm up didn’t work. An ice-cold shower is guaranteed to wake you up first thing in the morning, but it’s not something you should do often since too much of it could lead to medical complications.
You can splash some cold water on your face during the day of your presentation to repeat the effect without getting your entire body shivering. A blast of cold air from outside can also wake you up. Just don’t sit down in a cold room for too long or you’ll be tempted to doze off.
3. Power Nap
Taking a quick nap for ten minutes can help you recharge when prodding yourself awake just doesn’t cut it. Or you’re too tired to begin with. Getting a few minutes of sleep might give you just enough energy to present. If you love caffeine, you can also try the “coffee nap.” It works by drinking a cup of coffee and taking a short nap afterward. Both helps get rid of adenosine, a byproduct of the brain that makes you feel tired and sleepy. Several researchers have already proven the effectiveness of this study.
Sleep deprivation also gives you a distracting headache. A short shuteye can help alleviate the pain when there’s no paracetamol around. The trick is to keep it within twenty minutes to avoid feeling groggy afterward.
We tend to be on our best behavior when we’re around other people. You’ll perk up by talking to somebody instead of sulking in a corner, slumped down and obvious that you’re sleep-deprived.
Talking to your peers might give you the encouragement you need to pull off your presentation. You can also ask your friends for more tips on how they fight off sleepiness. Focus your attention on something else to help you be alert.
It’s best to consider different options and discover what works and doesn’t for you. For some of those who only end up getting sleepier after taking a power nap, moving around might work better than getting a few minutes of rest. Others might find that relaxing with a cup of coffee or tea is more helpful than shocking themselves with a cold shower in the morning.
Do what works for you to keep awake during the day.
Bratskeir, Kate. “10 Ways to Wake Up Without a Cup of Coffee.” The Huffington Post. December 3, 2015. www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/09/16/wake-up-without-coffee-its-possible_n_6096518.html
Daum, Kevin. “12 Non-Caffeinated Ways to Wake Up at Work.” Inc. May 28, 2013. www.inc.com/kevin-daum/12-non-caffeinated-ways-to-wake-up-at-work.html
Knowlton, Susan. “How to Fight Sleepiness.” Health Guidance. n.d. www.healthguidance.org/entry/15792/1/How-to-Fight-Sleepiness.html
Pinola, Melanie. “How Long to Nap for the Biggest Brain Benefits.” Lifehacker. September 4, 2013. www.lifehacker.com/how-long-to-nap-for-the-biggest-brain-benefits-1251546669
Stromberg, Joseph. “Scientists Agree: Coffee Naps Are Better Than Coffee or Naps Alone.” Vox. April 23, 2015. www.vox.com/2014/8/28/6074177/coffee-naps-caffeine-science