Dave Gibson


General sleep tips

How to stay awake for the US Election

It seems like yesterday that Trump took control of the White House. Whilst some are fed up of all the constant news and talk of Trump, Brexit and Covid a lot of us will be staying up to watch the results of the US Election come in on 3rd November.

The BBC’s coverage will start at 11.30 that night. However, with the UK between 5 and 8 hours ahead of the USA, the initial results won’t be in until early morning the next day. If fact, when the 2016 Election was called for Trump it was 07.30 GMT the next day, which would be Wednesday 4th November for the UK.

Even though the result might not be known straight away this year (the postal votes being double the normal rate), the theatre of Trump vs Biden will keep some of us glued to our TV sets through to the early hours of the morning.

If you are one of these people, here are five tips to help you stay awake to watch the election results as they come in.

1. Adjust your body clock to run later.

It seems daft to change your sleep-wake time having just changed a week or so ago. However, one of the key ways to stay up late in the evening is to get up later that morning. In order to set up waking an hour later go to bed an hour later on Monday night. Or if you want to be even more prepared for the late-night Trump show you could go to bed later on Sunday too. If you do this for two consecutive days your body clock will be running a full two hours later on Tuesday night.

2. Nap in the day to put some sleep in the bank.

Napping is a great way to catch up on lost sleep, but it can also be used to accumulate sleep time ahead of a late night. Napping just after your lunch in the Siesta period would be the ideal time to nap.

3. Eat and drink with a late night in mind.

What we eat and drink has a massive effect on our body clock, energy and sleep. The first thing to do is to adjust your meals to be later in the day. Then try to eat healthily to build up energy through the day. Avoid all starchy foods in the evening as they boost sugar and give you an energy burst. Then you would end up crashing later. Avoid caffeine too all day. Then drink a small cup of coffee just before the results start. Caffeine is well known to keep us awake. Carry on drinking small doses of caffeine through the rest of the results. Stop about 2 hours before you want to sleep though depending on your sensitivity. When you are having your pre-election caffeine boost eat some high energy food which is hard to digest. This tends to be protein-based foods including tuna, cheese, eggs or even a protein bar. Fruit are good too. What you are aiming for is to get the energy from this snack later rather than sooner. Finally, avoid all booze in the evening as it will send you to sleep.

4. Don’t burn yourself out.

It sounds obvious but if you take it easier during Tuesday daytime you will have more energy in the evening. Take more exercise on Sunday and Monday. This means you can then relax more during Tuesday

5. Make it a bright, cool party.

By keeping you lights on during Tuesday evening your body clock will think it’s still daytime. Keep this going through the election results too. Also keep fresh air coming into your room to prevent it becoming too warm. A snug room will make you nod off. Finally, whilst under the rule of six, we can’t socialise on Tuesday night so you could keep a Zoom or Facetime session going with friends throughout the election results. You are far more likely to keep awake in company than on your own.

Here’s hoping we get the result we want so we can sleep better for the next 4 years.