Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Tips for Staying Awake When You Cannot Stop Yawning (Day 90)

So, it is Day 3 of 4:30 am wake up calls. And things are getting real. 

I've given up pretending to be a positive person and I've instead embraced my truest self: a very cranky old man who has seen some things while in one of the World Wars. 

I've also already stopped attempting to hold off sending emails until the sun rises. So, if you heard from me at 6:45 am today, know that tomorrow you might get an email at 4:45am. I just don't care what anyone thinks and take this as your reminder to silence your phone notifications. I am three days into the rest of my life as a crew team mother with 4:30am wake up calls and officially cannot stop yawning and have zero patience for anything. 

(I am, however, patiently waiting for the Ruggable rug I ordered last week when I was having my COVID-19 second shot reaction. I have no idea what it looks like and it has caused lots of marital discord so it better be amazing.)

ANYWAY, I cannot stop yawning and today I had to nap at 8 am, after I had lunch and had already been up for 3. 5 hours. I napped and at some point, Nicholas woke up and decided he was alone in the home and left for the neighbors to do the Jump Rope for Heart Challenge. It is amazing how the third child is feral and also has survival skills. His proactive behavior (he even looked both ways when crossing the street according to Ring footage) will probably land me in some hot water with some authorities. BUT our street is sort of like a commune of families of feral children. So it is all good. It takes a village, especially when one member of your village is waking up at 4:30 am. 

By the way, some of you have told me that it is your normal behavior to wake up at 4:30 am by choice and not for payment. And I think you should go ahead and schedule your check-in to the looney bin. 

Where was I? (I am losing train of thought!). 

Oh the yawning. Anyway, I yawned a lot on Monday and Tuesday. BUT outside of my midday (8 am is now considered midday, btw) nap, I cannot go to bed until 11pm tonight. I have a full roster of writing, exercising, parenting (I am an active and involved parent!), dinner making (we eat late here like the Europeans!) and watching Season 1 of Beverly Hills 90210 while complaining about the pandemic. 

I've spent the last 3 days refining my skills at controlling the yawning and also perfecting my bright, shiny awake makeup look (if writing does not pan out I am going to turn to make up artistry for the dead and tired). Outside of my afternoon nap on Monday and my midday nap today, I am truly learning the art of sleeping for 4.5 hours and functioning like a high-level, high-functioning, highly-engaged adult. (It's like a fun pretend game!).

Anyway, here are my tips for staying awake when you cannot stop yawning:

1. Do not yawn in the first place. 

Once you start, it becomes very hard to stop. So, really, just don't it. 

2. Scream instead. 

When you are tempted to yawn, just begin to scream or yell at your spouse/children/dog/cat/neighbors/ghosts/furniture. Be sure to mute your mic if you are on a work call. 

3. Stay away from other yawners.

Yawning is contagious like the Rona, so socially distance yourself from other yawners. Lily, thankfully, is a teenager and does not like to be within 6 feet of me! Also, masks work to your advantage here! If someone is masked, you cannot see their contagious yawn!

4. DO NOT PUT YOUR HEAD DOWN ON THE KITCHEN COUNTER.

This in all caps because this is very important. You may have stopped the yawning only to think "Hmmm. . .that kitchen counter looks so cool and smooth and cozy." BUT you cannot put your head down because you will end up like this:


5. Wear the most uncomfortable pants you own. 

I know we are pandemic, matching sweat suit, pajama pants with polo shirts and lounge wear people. BUT when you cannot stay awake because of intense 4:30 am wakeup fatigue, you cannot wear your athleisure. Anything with an elastic waist is for LOUNGING and you cannot lounge. You can to stay awake and fight the power of the yawn. Instead, choose your most uncomfortable pants and buckle up for a day of discomfort and caffeine. 

6. Caffeine is a must! 

I suggest alternating black coffee with green tea with those handy La Columbe double shot lattes. Of course, you should also drink at least 1-8 gallons of water, to be healthy. If you drink enough of all these things you will avoid the shakes and use the toilet often which keeps you moving and not asleep on the floor. 

7. Keep the temperature low. 

If you are focused on shivering, you will not yawn, you will just shiver. And the more uncomfortable you are, the less likely you are to yawn and then pass out on the table. 

8.  Talk in all meetings endlessly. 

Do not give in to the natural tendency to scroll through your phone or doodle in your notebook during long important meetings. Instead, talk as much as possible. Ask questions, give compliments, fake smile and nod while making eye contact with your webcam. The moment you lose focus is the moment you are snoring through Agenda Item 3 (of 47) and then you'll have to have a "talk" with your manager who may be unfamiliar with the 4:30am wake-up requirement of parents of high school athletes. 

9. Have a dance party with anyone who is willing.

Vigorous exercise combined with loud music will keep your heart rate up and you awake! I suggest grabbing your most dance-y child and putting on Rock Lobster by the B-52s. Or you can go for a run. (watch out for the lady with the bunny in the stroller.

10. GO TO BED! 

This is the most turnkey solution! Obviously, if the above tips do not work, you should just take a nap and stop being so weird. 


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