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Lauren Mote, the Vancouver-based bar manager at Uva Wine and Cocktail Bar, co-owner of the Bittered Sling line of cocktail flavourings, and Diageo World Class Canada 2015 bartender of the year, explains how she stays alert in the wee hours.

Up until this past year, I was a total night owl. I’d often stay up until 5 a.m.—the earliest I’d go to bed was midnight. I was a student and bartending and then running a bar, and when you’re young and full of piss and vinegar, you can stay out late, sleep three or four hours and bounce back.

I was still incredibly productive, but the lifestyle totally catches up to you. Now in order to deal with the late nights, I have to be diligent about eating clean and staying active. That means biking to every meeting, going to the gym almost every day, drinking tons of water, and eating that quintessential west coast diet, which is heavy, heavy on vegetables. If the lifestyle starts to slip, focus starts to slip, and work starts to slip. This helps me power through when I don’t get enough sleep.

I can’t always control my work schedule. Sometimes we have an event that goes to 2 or 3 a.m., and then the following day we have a really early start to prep for an event, or go on TV, or travel. You just have to roll with it, and being healthy and eating well helps.

When I do have a night off, I don’t force myself to stay up late. If I’m tired at 10 p.m., I embrace it and go to sleep and wake up at 6 a.m. like a normal nine-to-five person. And even if I do go to bed late, I tend to get up around 8 or 9 a.m. People talk about having an inner alarm clock that wakes them up at the same time everyday; I have an inner guilt clock. I know I have so much work to do and I like to get up and get rolling while it’s business hours. I’m like a kid eating sugar: I get up and I’m super wired and ready to tackle everything. And then I crash later in the afternoon and have a 45-minute nap.

It’s true that you are always trying to get back on what you deem to be your normal schedule. I don’t think there’s an exact formula for doing that—I just found the one that works for me.

If you’re trying to keep yourself alert at night, keep in mind that alcohol is a depressant. If you’re going to have a drink at cocktail hour but need a wee jolt, you can try mixing it with a stimulant like caffeine (from tea or coffee) to even you out.

This article is from the August 2016 issue of Canadian Business. Subscribe now!

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