Inevitably, you’ll encounter one of those moments where it feels like Gravity reaches up and tugs at your “sleepy, collapse into a coma” strings.  Pulling you down into that cozy chair or inviting floor as your energy and vigor slip, slip away.  And this event could occur during even the most mundane of activities… meetings, the Super Bowl, blind dates, waiting in line at Disney.

But there are ways to counter the Sandman’s curse…

  1. Engage your fight-or-flight instincts. It’s a touch more difficult to drift off when your body’s priming for an epic battle… or hasty retreat.  I know what you’re thinking, “How do I pick the right target to fight?  Someone small… preferably genetically engineered with Nerf hands.”  Well, that’s not the (only) way to enable this pick-me-up… you could also tap into the power of visualization.  Picture yourself in combat (or engaged in a combat-like sport… foosball doesn’t count) or facing your greatest fear (again, foosball doesn’t count).  Just the act of mentally “putting yourself in harm’s way” can stimulate enough adrenaline to help get you through the moment.  Bonus: running around the room shouting, “The zombie spiders are crawling on my nards!” will act as a good deed in keeping others awake during a boring status meeting.
  2. Move it or snooze it. This one’s easy.  Get up and get moving.  Do some push-ups  or jumping jacks or shadow boxing or dance moves from the 80s.  Do something that gets that heart pumping blood quickly through the body.  This does two things for you… makes you more attractive to vampires and pushes oxygenated blood out to the body to give you that alert O2 bar buzz.  Well, not quite (the scenery’s often better at the O2 bars), but it does get the heart pushing out energy.
  3. Cut your losses. Just give in to the forces of the universe commanding you to sleep.  Down a few shots of caffeine and then take a nap before your heart explodes.  Give this “nap” twenty minutes to help get the full effects of the caffeine.  It’ll almost feel like a full night’s sleep… just don’t forget to get real sleep later because it’s just illusionary sleep.  This one might be tricky to implement in some places, but if the boss asks why you’ve brought a folding cot to the meeting, tell him there’s room to share.
  4. Shatter some senses. You can stimulate the body to stimulate the mind, so I guess this would be the next best thing to thinning out the blood circulating in your caffeine system.  Scents like peppermint and citrus can do the trick, but I hear smoke and fire can also get the job done (see “engage your fight-or-flight instincts” above).  Besides the nasally senses, you can also get use out of that sense of touch.  Apply some pressure (or thumb tacks point-side-up) to the tips of your fingers and drive that touch center in the brain crazy, “OMGWTFKFC!  Something’s wrong with the hands!  Do something, brain… we need those for… uhh… social networking.”