How to Work on No Sleep: Willie Geist

Do not think about being tired Illustration by Neal Fox; Geist: Getty Images

As the host of a live television show that starts at 5:30 in the morning, the question I’m asked more than any other is, “What time do you wake up?” When I tell the person asking that the alarm goes off at 3:30 a.m., there generally is an audible gasp, followed by the kind of “I’m so sorry” sympathetic head shake usually reserved for someone who has just heard a friend has inoperable brain cancer. Then they ask, “How do you do it every day?” I’ve been at this early bird thing for almost five years now, so I’ve got a few tricks. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. First, you have to tell your body lies. If you catch your body at a weak moment, as I often do, it might actually believe you when you tell it after four hours of sleep that you actually slept a full night and you feel like a million bucks. The trick usually works for a couple of hours before the body begins to suspect it’s the victim of a ruse. Once you’ve apologized for lying to your body, sworn never to do it again, and given it a buttery Croissan’Wich as a peace offering, your survival relies on staying busy for the rest of the day. I find when I’m totally focused on work, I don’t feel as tired as I am. The minute you downshift, the car starts to stall. Exercise is a huge help, too. I used to find it annoying when superfit people in tight Lululemon gear said working out gives you energy and makes you feel better, but it turns out there’s something to it. A workout in the middle of the day really does revive you and buy you a couple more hours. I prefer a lightweight, breathable Lululemon singlet. Don’t be too proud (or too young) to take a quick nap if you need one. You might feel like an old man or lady passing out in front of Judge Judy at three in the afternoon, but if I have to do something at night that will keep me out past my infantile bedtime, I’ll sneak a nap to push me through. Plus, it offers a nice window into your golden years. It also helps if you like your job.

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