election all-nigher

How to pull an all-nighter on Election Night

Election Night TipsWhatever your political leanings in the forthcoming General Election, if, like many people across the country, you’re planning on seeing the whole thing through, for an Election all-nighter, it’s essential that you’re properly prepared…

1. Powernapping

First of all the Powernap is your pal! We’ve written elsewhere on t0his blog about the untapped power of the Powernap, and this election night it can become your greatest ally. Plan a cheeky 15 minute snooze the day it all happens. Don’t sleep too long otherwise you’ll wake up feeling drowsy and out of sorts. You can also dip into sleep throughout the night when nothing much is happening, and particularly the next day. You’ll really need it!

2. Don’t succumb to the dangers of sleep deprivation

If you’re in charge of a cruise liner, operating heavy machinery, or anything really important the next day, exercise extreme caution around staying up all night. In fact, despite the lure of the Swingometer and the hope of seeing certain politicians with egg on their faces, sleep deprivation is serious. Did you know that the recent disasters at Bhopal, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, Exxon Valdez, and the Space Shuttle Challenger were all caused either wholly or in part by sleep deprivation on the part of key personnel? You might not have that level of responsibility, but driving you and the kids around in the car is no less significant. So, we urge you to carefully consider what your schedule for the following day looks like.

3. Do it with friends

Other people’s company is great for keeping you awake (well, some people’s company is… I used to have an uncle we nicknamed Nightnurse as he could put you to sleep absolutely anywhere with his dull chat). So why not have an election night get-together. The craic will keep you going.

4. Try to lay off the booze

Tricky one this. It’s all about timing your run to perfection really. Perhaps a champagne breakfast is a good idea (depending on what you have planned for the next day), rather than a crate of lager or a box of wine which would, despite the early excitement, be likely to induce you into an early state of slumber.

5. Use digital media

Why not have a few friends in different places connected via Skype or Facebook chat? This will keep the fun going, keep your energy levels maintained, and will be a nice way of feeling in touch with people. Follow interesting hashtags on Twitter to keep you intrigued too, for humour and insight. Plus the blue light given off by electronic devices is also a good way of limiting the body’s production of melatonin, the hormone that encourages sleep.

6. Lay off the stodge – but sweeties are good!

Don’t give yourself a heavy dinner. Foods rich in carbohydrates will make you feel sleepy. But fruit… Fruit is good. And so are sweeties, so this is your excuse to load up on Haribo, Cola Cubes and Soor Plooms (whose very tartness will wince you away from slumber).  And make sure you stay hydrated, because dehydration makes you feel woozy, and drinking lots of liquid will also mean you get up to go to the toilet fairly frequently, thus keeping you moving.

7. Listen to Winston Churchill

“You must sleep some time between lunch and dinner, and no halfway measures,” Churchill, who famously only slept 4 hours a night, said on the benefits of Powernapping. “Take off your clothes and get into bed. That’s what I always do. Don’t think you will be doing less work because you sleep during the day. That’s a foolish notion held by people of no imagination. You will be able to accomplish more.”

8. Don’t trust the decisions of a politician who doesn’t sleep

If you’re sleep-deprived, your ability to digest new information will be impaired, as will your ability to think under pressure. It’s not macho and committed, it’s plain silly if a politician boasts about working all through the night every night. “If a candidate is simply pressing the flesh and trotting out platitudes then staying up all night isn’t a problem,” comes the verdict from Professor Jim Horne who runs the Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough University, in the Telegraph.

“But if someone is in high office and they react to a crisis by not sleeping then that will impact on their decision -making and mood and that doesn’t bode at all well. The problem won’t simply be one of sleepiness; a lack of sleep affects areas of the brain that respond to novelty, so a person is unable to take on brand new information, think innovatively or respond intelligently to changing circumstances. Instead, they become irritable and fixated on trivia to the point of abduracy, regardless of the advice they are getting from others.”

9. Break it into chunks

A good way to break up the sheer length of time, and frequent monotony of the proceedings is to break it up. Schedule things that will keep you moving. Setting an alarm every hour and getting up to make a cup of tea will help keep you mobile and prevent couch-potato-i-tis setting in. This will help you see it through the less interesting bits.

10. Go to bed.

If you’re simply not feeling it, if the excitement’s not there for whatever reason and you find yourself struggling, don’t force it. Why not just give up and listen to what your body is telling you, let it take over and take yourself to bed. I guarantee you’ll feel better the next day!

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