The Art of Cheating Sleep

When I did my military service, we performed an exercise whereby we stayed up for 36 hours without food and then marched our way to the shooting range. The resulting spread of bullets on the target where equivalent to that of someone being significantly intoxicated.

I think many of us can relate to that feeling of drunkenness when we have slept too little. I therefore ask (out of personal necessity) - what methods do you fine people use to snap out of the tipsiness of sleep deprivation?

I am looking for something a little more innovative than cocaine/coffee/tobacco. Yes, I could google this, but "the ten best.." lists are neither as inspiring nor as motivating as personal accounts.

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Comments (115)

Apr 26, 2017 - 7:17am

Adrenalin is the only thing I find to be useful.
Sometimes it suffices to go easy and do a light work out, take a cold shower or hold your breath, sometimes you'll need something more intense.
If time allows it, sparring is a great way to get your Adrenalin pump going. If not (no joke intended, pretty much a last resort), go somewhere private and slap yourself. Let it cool off and you're back to normal for a few hours. Stand on top of a building (if possible / available), especially if you're scared of heights.
Or you could use red bull instead of water to make coffee and see how that works out for you...

May 1, 2017 - 7:55pm

For a nice adrenalin rush, I like to grab a fist full of pubic hairs and yank them out by the roots. If you do it just right, your genitals will feel like they're on the surface of the sun which is coincidentally good for both: work productivity and self-esteem. You can also try squirting lemon juice directly into your cornea, because nothing says determination to the senior executive team like masochism.

Pro Tip: Stick to coffee (It tastes better than self-deprecation, and when consumption is kept at or below three cups a day, it is scientifically proven to have positive benefits for your Cardiovascular system and longevity).

"A man can convince anyone he's somebody else, but never himself."
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May 5, 2017 - 5:54am
<span>Escobar Houdini</span>:

Adrenalin is the only thing I find to be useful.
Sometimes it suffices to go easy and do a light work out, take a cold shower or hold your breath, sometimes you'll need something more intense.
If time allows it, sparring is a great way to get your Adrenalin pump going. If not (no joke intended, pretty much a last resort), go somewhere private and slap yourself. Let it cool off and you're back to normal for a few hours. Stand on top of a [building](http://www.immobilier-france.fr/) (if possible / available), especially if you're scared of heights.
Or you could use red bull instead of water to make coffee and see how that works out for you...

I haven't tried brewing coffee with red bull but the other adrenalin tricks you mention do work. Also putting your head in the fridge/freezer for a few minutes.

Jan 4, 2019 - 3:54pm
Escobar Houdini:

If not (no joke intended, pretty much a last resort), go somewhere private and slap yourself. Let it cool off and you're back to normal for a few hours. Stand on top of a building (if possible / available), especially if you're scared of heights.

Holy shit this made me spit my water all over my keyboard. Thank you.

Don't beat yourself up on this, Eric. Some people like taking the long way home. Who the fuck knows?
Apr 28, 2017 - 9:16pm

Seconded. Learning how to deliver 11 tons TNT of freedom and democracy is an essential skill in life.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."
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Apr 26, 2017 - 7:53am

A trick that I learned when I was also in the military was to just stay on your feet and keep moving, so stand at your desk if you can and every so often take a walk. Also, I agree with above, slapping yourself in the face or pinching your arm really hard to give you a shot of pain helps a little bit. Embrace the suck.

"That was basically college for me, just ya know, fuckin' tourin' with Widespread Panic over the USA."

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Apr 26, 2017 - 8:39am

One thing that I learned in the military is sleep whenever you can. If you have the option to get some z's, do so. With regard to staying up, Intestinal fortitude, an active mind and Copenhagen/Kodiak Ice should be all that is needed. Finally, outside of military operations/emergency scenarios, there is next to zero reason to stay up past 24 hours.

Only two sources I trust, Glenn Beck and singing woodland creatures.
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Apr 26, 2017 - 9:05am

Sleep is a learned trait. It also has to do with sleep cycles, some say getting five hours of sleep is equal to getting nine hours of sleep. I just slept a little less each day until I got to where I am now. I sleep around 5 hours a night and I have trouble getting to sleep at the end of the day because I have too much energy.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

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May 4, 2017 - 4:26pm

Took about a year of sort of on and off actually moving towards that number, before that I was sleeping about 8 hours a night.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

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May 5, 2017 - 4:51pm

Yeah but these guys don't want to believe that, as if they're being productive every hour of every day

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/
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Apr 26, 2017 - 9:48am

What I found to help me while in the army is to stay hungry. When you haven't eaten anything for at least 8 hours you are awake and clear as crystal. However this starts to have diminishing returns after 16 hours.
Also avoid sugar, while it can give you a boost , you come crushing down harder after that.
Lastly +1 on getting a sleep whenever you can, even for 5 mins.

Apr 26, 2017 - 10:05am

You can't. I'm a big fan of not being a bitch and powering through things, and sometimes you have to not sleep, but if you do it consistently if will catch up to you hard. It will impact your health hard. You will age much faster and perform poorly.

If you want to save time, don't eat. I've been eating once a day for a year, doing a 48-hour fast monthly, and a 5-day fast quarterly.

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/
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Apr 26, 2017 - 2:17pm

Nope, I'm in ketosis and used to it. I eat less than 50 grams of carbs most days. Google the warrior diet.

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/
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Apr 30, 2017 - 12:48pm
<span>GoldenCinderblock</span>:

I'm a big fan of not being a bitch and powering through things, and sometimes you have to not sleep

don't eat. I've been eating once a day for a year, doing a 48-hour fast monthly, and a 5-day fast quarterly.

. THIS ISNT EVEN MY FINAL FORM
Best Response
May 1, 2017 - 7:44pm
<span>GoldenCinderblock</span>:

If you want to save time, don't eat. I've been eating once a day for a year, doing a 48-hour fast monthly, and a 5-day fast quarterly.

Y tho

"Son, life is hard. But it's harder if you're stupid." - my dad
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May 2, 2017 - 9:27am

Because it has incredible health benefits. Google it.

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/
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May 3, 2017 - 4:39pm
<span>GoldenCinderblock</span>:

You can't. I'm a big fan of not being a bitch and powering through things, and sometimes you have to not sleep, but if you do it consistently if will catch up to you hard. It will impact your health hard. You will age much faster and perform poorly.

If you want to save time, don't eat. I've been eating once a day for a year, doing a 48-hour fast monthly, and a 5-day fast quarterly.


lol look at all these sickly little office fucks hating on me
heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/
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Apr 26, 2017 - 11:24am

A lot of people here who have managed to maintain habits from the military. For me its the opposite: after the military, no amount of activity in my day can measure up to my time in the army and deplete my energy to the point where I can get some quick r&r in the middle of the day. Unfortunately the energy does not translate into alertness and trying to nap just frustrates me.

What about foods? Supplements? Vitamines? Anyone have experience with something in those categories that actually works?

Apr 26, 2017 - 11:38am

Mod/Provigil.

Military used it for fighter pilots during cold war I believe. It's prescription now or you can get the prodrug ordered online (not illegal)...

Other nootropics help also but I can't recall on those.

Ephedrine or Pseudo-ephedrine also helps for a quick boost. Both OTC but you have to scan your drivers license because people use it to make meth.

Array
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Apr 26, 2017 - 12:33pm

Adderall - obviously ;)
@heister has the answer I have found to be most effective... it takes a few weeks to be able to make the switch.. the key is get up early on the weekends which is the shitty part. Use sleep cycle to track your sleeping patterns and adjust accordingly. There will be days when you spring out of bed juiced and other days where you want to jump out of your window.. a glass of water and some pushups right away and you'll get the blood flowing.. key is to stay hydrated throughout the day and stay away from they diuretics as much as possible, i.e. coffee, tea, soda.. A little nicotine never hurt anybody

Apr 26, 2017 - 2:20pm

Anyone tried "Polyphasic sleep"?
It seems like you don't sleep for one day then trade that night's sleep for short multiple naps the next day.
I just read this article about students who tried this method. They basically did not sleep one day and slept short 20 minutes naps 1AM, 5AM, and 9PM. Sounds interesting to me. Anyone like to give a try?

"How some people can 'cheat' sleep and stay awake longer"
http://www.rappler.com/life-and-style/career/135943-polyphasic-sleep-sc…

Youtube: Polyphasic sleep study

Apr 26, 2017 - 7:48pm

Tim Ferris experiments with this in his book "4-hour body". Polyphasic sleep is probably the closest you get to actually cheating sleep as it is a method whereby you convince your body that you have gotten sufficient REM sleep. Tim lays out the following alternatives:

  • Monophasic sleep: full 8 hours of sleep
  • Siesta: 6 hours of sleep, one 20 min nap
  • Everyman 2-nap: 4.5 hours of sleep, two 20 min naps
  • Everyman 3-nap: 3 hours core sleep, three 20 min naps
  • Everyman 4-nap: 1.5 hours core sleep, four or five 20 min naps
  • Uberman: Six 20-min naps

The uberman method necessitates that you power through the acclimatisation phase (one to two weeks), but it also requires that you stick to your nap schedule religiously and that you do not oversleep. According to Tim, this will essentially bring you down to 2 hours of sleep per day whilst feeling as rested as someone who has 8 hours of monophasic sleep.

Apr 26, 2017 - 2:29pm

Sometimes if I find myself nodding off, I usually kick in my pissed off/focus mentality to push through whatever I'm doing. If you're physically drained, that's one thing and there's not much you can do about that but being mentally drained, I try to change my mindset for the time being.

If you find yourself feeling lost, go climb a mountain.
Apr 26, 2017 - 7:46pm

I can relate to this. Its when my headphones come out and I listen to early Metallica. I like to refer to it as positive aggression - a sense of rebellion, or defiance, against personal weakness. I also like to entertain the words of Frank Underwood (House of Cards): "I've always loathed the necessity of sleep.. It puts even the most powerful men on their backs."

May 1, 2017 - 6:45pm

have tried everything in this thread. this is by far the preferable method ^

twitter: @StoicTrader1 instagram: @StoicTrader1
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Apr 27, 2017 - 9:35am

Bro I been studying buddism since a young age; you can probably tell. I just got a vaporizer.

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/
Apr 27, 2017 - 9:34am

I actually thought of you guys as I woke up this morning. I started sleeping on the floor a few months ago and I find that I sleep slightly less and awaken with boundless energy. When you sleep on the floor, there's no rolling around in bed. You lie down and you're asleep. You wake up and you stand up and start your day.

My setup is a yoga mat with a blanket on top. And I use a comforter. No pillow. Haven't used pillows in years. Bad for your back. I do have a wedge sex pillow though and that's pretty sweet.

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/
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Apr 28, 2017 - 4:45am

My god, are you a shaolin monk? Jokes aside, thats pretty awesome. I'm sure your method is effective in the sense that the moment you wake up you don't snooze because theres nothing really appealing about snoozing on the floor. I remember when I had sleeping problems as a kid I would move from the bed to the floor with my cover and pillow. Something about the softness of the bed that unsettled me.

Apr 28, 2017 - 9:37am

It's actually just because I have a bad back and sleeping on what is essentially a giant sponge isn't good for it. It does have peripheral benefits though. I had to work my way back up to getting 7-8 hours, which is my sweet spot. Last night, I started falling asleep on the couch with my wife around 8:15, was asleep on my little floor setup by 8:30, and was up at 4:30. I normally do ~5min of foam rolling on my back before bed followed by a dead hang to failure, but I had my knees tattooed this weekend, so I'm not doing that while it heals.

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/
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May 5, 2017 - 8:57am

My wife's a special ed teacher and says I'm probably mildly autistic. I'm also probably mildly bipolar and potentially somewhat a psychopath. Being me is super fun though so it's all gravy. A lot is genetic. My dad was a lot like I am. I've also done shit tons of drugs. Like 200+ dissociative trips and a couple heroin ODs. So who knows.

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/
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May 5, 2017 - 9:00am

No, no pillow. I think my back problems are pretty unique. I don't know what caused it exactly but me putting on 100lbs in my late teens weightlifting and then dropping it in a year after the pain got too bad on an extreme diet definitely didn't help. I have a full body skeletal/muscular imbalance. If you really care, here's a copy paste from when I was looking for a doctor before I realized how expensive it would be and decided I needed to get rich first:

I've had an imbalance which I've dealt with for about 8 years. The injuries are getting worse, so I've decided to try to seek help again. About a year into the issues starting, I saw a few physical therapists and chiropractors. They all had different opinions and none helped, so I gave up.

-~8 years ago: Start feeling pain in my upper back on the right side of the spine in the rhomboid area. In addition to pain, shoulder alignment feels uneven. Constant compulsion to roll shoulders back and to crack my own upper back, which helps for seconds. Pain gets worse with fatigue. Worst pain experienced when working as baker and working with dough on my feet all day. Pain gets worse as weight increases. I was lifting weights at the time. Pain started around 170 lbs (6'). At 240 lbs, it was at its worst and a chiropractor I was seeing at the time told me to stop completely so that his treatment would be more effective. Dieted down to 150 lbs and pain got less bad, but has never gone away.

-Currently: 160 lbs. Back has stayed the same. New issues have come up. Some issues are more constant than others. When one gets better, another seems to take its place:

-Tightness in right hip flexor going down inside of right leg and up the right side of the lower abdomen. Walking feels awkward. Compulsion to push right hip out.
-Right shoulder feels misaligned. Doing core exercises (hanging leg raises, ab wheel) causes injury causing acute pain in front part of shoulder when doing front raise and shoulder press motions.
-Left knee feels awkward. Feel pressure building up inside when walking/squatting. Doing 10+ sets of bodyweight squats will make it pop, releasing the pressure. Cycle repeats.
-Left hip feels "loose," like the socket is bigger than the ball. Consistently clicks when doing hanging knees-bent leg raises. Sometimes clicks on every left footstep.
-Doing lateral raises will often cause a pull in the right upper trapezius.
-Standing/squatting in a neutral stance feels awkward. Having the right foot ~6" forward feels more natural.
-Right side of face sometimes feels "tight" i.e. feels like right eyebrow is raised, ear is raised. Compulsion to do weird stuff with mouth and eyebrows. Resisting in public good exercise in willpower...

Exercise routine is daily walking (~1hr), weekly pullups/chinups/dips, weekly swimming, weekly sprints, weekly jogging. Anything else will cause eventual injury.

I'm not sure whether I should see a PT, chiropractor, ART therapist, etc., whether the issue is neurological, or whether this is just how my body is and I need to live with it. What do you suggest?

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/
May 5, 2017 - 5:34am

Or New Zealanders.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."
Apr 30, 2017 - 12:54pm

As sad as it is, I've found routine to be the only consistent way to get less sleep. If you SLOWLY decrease the amount of sleep you're getting, your body will adjust to a certain extent. But if you don't stick to it for even a few days, i.e. a weekend, you're going to be tired again. Of course everyone needs a different amount of sleep, but pretty much every IB analyst has naturally gotten down to 6 or less.

Apr 30, 2017 - 3:10pm

I run barefoot, shirtless in -9F degree weather (yes, Fahrenheit). Have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2 days (nearly record breaking). Have a 19 BMI, 8 pack abs etc etc.

Yet they call me the koala bear. I sleep (on average) 9-10 hours a night.

My point being, not sleeping is no indicator of how "macho" or "cool" you are.
Learn to be proud that you sleep like a damn baby.

Jan 4, 2019 - 5:39am
MonacoMonkey:

I run barefoot, shirtless in -9F degree weather (yes, Fahrenheit). Have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2 days (nearly record breaking). Have a 19 BMI, 8 pack abs etc etc.

sounds hotttttt

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

May 1, 2017 - 6:34pm

-Get up and move
-Physical sensations (force yourself to fidget your leg, slap yourself in the face, even better, get someone else to slap you in the face)

Array

May 2, 2017 - 8:59pm

try accessing your yank bank - works really good for me. I like thinking of Megan Fox and Adriana Lima playing around with a chocolate fountain in my living room where I start as a spectator for a while, then a coach and then right in the trenches! :) Blood gets rushing 100MPH and you wake right up. Stray boners can be a little awkward around the office but a small price to pay for some mid afternoon entertainment. Just don't yank it or u'll fall asleep in the stall...

"I'm talking about liquid. Rich enough to have your own jet. Rich enough not to waste time. Fifty, a hundred million dollars, buddy. A player. Or nothing. " -GG
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May 4, 2017 - 4:06pm
<span>the_gekko</span>:

I like thinking of Megan Fox and Adriana Lima playing around with a chocolate fountain in my living room

welp, I guess I'm not standing up any time soon

"Son, life is hard. But it's harder if you're stupid." - my dad
May 3, 2017 - 9:40pm

for all of those who have referenced slapping yourself made me remember this video of John Henderson before games

John Henderson

"Straight Cash, homie"-Randy Moss

May 4, 2017 - 9:33pm

Contrast showers do it for me. That and accelerants.

I come from down in the valley, where mister when you're young, they bring you up to do like your daddy done

May 5, 2017 - 12:49pm

Nose beers.

I'm into, uh, well, murders and executions, mostly.

May 5, 2017 - 1:57pm

I second the contrast warm/cold shower approach - my offices have always been close to an Equinox, and while they tend to close earlyish at night (seriously Equinox, not a single 24 hour location in New York or LA?), a 5am shower and quick change of venue can do wonders for pushing through an all-nighter.

May 5, 2017 - 6:14pm

Shoot yourself in the head with a Mac-10 then go microwave some Mac and Cheese. You don't necessarily have to eat it but the aroma of cheese has h2c2o2 which triggers phosphorous glands in your quadriceps and activates your thought receptors.

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

May 5, 2017 - 11:13pm

My ultimate stay awake and alert "cocktail" involves taking 50-75mg of caffeine per hour with 60-120mg of ginkgo biloba every six to eight hours. Ginkgo increases blood flow to the brain and in turn helps you stay alert - it also triggers the release of certain neurotransmitters in areas of the brain, but cannot remember specifics. Be sure to also consume healthy fats like fish oil and coconut oil and you shouldn't have a problem staying awake and productive. I personally only get 5ish hours a night and trust me, this concoction seriously works.

May 7, 2017 - 6:29pm

For the last few months I've lived on basically a 6-day a week schedule. Sleep 1.5 hours a night on all work nights, then get a block of 24 hours of sleep straight sometime during the weekend (so it averages to 4.5 hours a night). It's efficient since I cut out 1/7th of the time I'd spend doing things like eating, bathing, etc., since I'm asleep for an entire day.

How do I get by on 1.5 hours of sleep during the work week? Well it's a combination of light therapy in the morning, supplements, creatine, caffeine + l-theanine, some racetams as needed, and loud music at night. If I'm really feeling sleepy, I'll let myself drift into a 15-20 minute power nap, but that doesn't happen every day.

Though, close to half the time I won't even hear my alarm in the morning and my wife will need to wake me up, so you'll need to the help of someone to wake you up if you want to sleep so little. But I feel completely refreshed after my 24 hour sleep over the weekend; it feels like I could maintain this for a long time.

May 11, 2017 - 9:29am
<span>WallsOfJericho</span>:

For the last few months I've lived on basically a 6-day a week schedule. Sleep 1.5 hours a night on all work nights, then get a block of 24 hours of sleep straight sometime during the weekend (so it averages to 4.5 hours a night).

Why stop there? Just go without much sleep for the entire year, and then pick a month (winter, probably), go comatose, and then wake up ready to own the shit out of the next 11 months.

Make sure you fill up on salmon and berries to create a fat layer that will sustain you through your long sleep. Your metabolism will slow, but you'll still need energy stores. Your winter fur will have come in by then, so that will help you stay warm.

...also, become a grizzly bear

"Son, life is hard. But it's harder if you're stupid." - my dad
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May 8, 2017 - 7:55pm

Rubbing-one-out seems to always work for me. Being serious.

Ace all your PE interview questions with the WSO Private Equity Prep Pack: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/guide/private-equity-interview-prep-questions
May 9, 2017 - 9:03pm

these bankers are coked out. humans are not supposed to stay up that long. inefficient stupidity.

Let me hear you say, this shit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!
Sep 11, 2017 - 12:09pm

reduce sleep (Originally Posted: 05/08/2011)

okay so it is final exam week. i need to study hard for my 5 finals exams. so how can i sleep as little as possible for the next 7 days without using drugs.

does drinking coffee help? coffee can only keep me up for 2 days and then i crush for like 14 hours. I need to sleep as little as possible for 7 days.... how can i do it?

I need to concentrate too. my final exams are tough quantiative classes. not like just memorize crap.

please help!!!

Sep 11, 2017 - 12:12pm

Instead of skipping on sleep try to be very efficient when you are not sleeping. Usually you need to sleep at least 6-8 hours. In times like these you can make an exception and sleep 4-5 hours with the help of energy drinks and coffee (not too much though). IF you don't sleep for a longer period, your awareness and efficiency will drop so that's really isn't worth it. Be efficient when you are not sleeping.

Do what you want not what you can!
Sep 11, 2017 - 12:15pm

.

One of those lights, slightly brighter than the rest, will be my wingtip passing over.
Sep 11, 2017 - 12:13pm

Sorry, but a drug is your best bet. 5-hour energy will probably help. You need to get at least 4 hours of sleep per night, preferably 6. Make sure you eat, but don't eat poultry, it will make you tired. If you never do this (sleep little for days on end), you're going to have a bitch of a time handling this.

Really, there is no way to condition yourself for this in such a short amount of time. There are substances you can use to keep you up, but something like coffee, energy or 5-hour energy only goes so far, then you get into controlled substances like adderall, cocaine, etc. I refuse to promote that stuff on a public forum, though.

Next time don't be a fool and keep this shit until the last minute.

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer "Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee
Sep 11, 2017 - 12:17pm

It's possible to survive quite well on 4 hours a night for a week, sure. Eat right, exercise, and keep yourself hydrated, and you'll be extremely alert and productive except for maybe an hour after you wake up and the last 1-2 hours before you sleep.

If you don't want to do stims, dip. Seriously, throw in some Skoal (start with pouches if you've never tried before) and you'd be amazed how much it helps your ability to focus. It's also a mild stimulant so it can help keep you up in the morning/at night. There's a reason 75% of my banker friends dip like HS baseball players.

Sep 11, 2017 - 12:19pm

Keep sleeping 10h and be extremely effective when studying. We study better under pressure. Studying effectively also has an advantage: there's no more sht coming. You end your stuff, you are free. If you work more effectively in banking, more sht comes, so no need to be effective there.

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