5 Tips For Getting Through The Day If You Didn't Get Enough Sleep
In the real world, getting a full night of sleep is not always possible. Whether we’re travelling, bogged down with work, or dealing with a relentlessly noisy neighbour, sometimes we wake up (or just get up) faced with the gargantuan task of getting through a busy day with a serious sleep debt. When that happens, don’t fret! There are steps you can take for damage control. Just make sure not to make a habit of it.
Most people don’t drink enough water and feel much more tired than they should even when they have slept enough. Drink a big glass of water as soon as you wake up and get another six or seven glasses in before bedtime. Keeping yourself hydrated is one of the best ways to keep your energy levels up no matter how much you’ve slept.
As soon as you wake up, expose yourself to bright light
You know how we’re always going on about shutting off your electronic devices and fluorescent lights before bed? That’s because bright light has the same effect on your body’s Circadian rhythms as natural light—basically, it fools your body into thinking it’s daytime, making you alert when you shouldn’t be. That’s a problem at bedtime, but can work in your favour on a sleepy morning. If you’re up with the sun, open the shades and literally just look outside (not at the sun!) for a good few minutes. Better yet, go for a quick walk. Otherwise, open up your laptop or spend some time in a room with bright light.
Do some light exercise first thing
While working out may be the last thing you want to do when you’re tired, getting your blood going in the morning will go a long way towards keeping you alert for the rest of the day. There’s no need to stress your sleepy self with strenuous exercise, but a yoga class, brisk walk, or good stretch will give you a natural high that will help offset your sleep debt.
Eat to keep your blood sugar stable
When you haven’t slept enough, your body tends to crave sugary foods. Don’t give in. While a doughnut or chocolate bar will give you a quick boost of energy, that high will fade as quickly as it set in. Do your best to eat a balance of complex carbohydrates and protein to keep your blood sugar level and avoid energy dips you probably can’t afford after a long night. For example, have wholemeal toast and eggs for breakfast, a protein-laden salad for lunch, and a hearty stew for dinner.
Use caffeine judiciously
Relying on loads of coffee to keep you awake on a daily basis is not ideal, but there’s nothing wrong with an extra cup of joe on a day when you’re extra-tired. However, as per the advice above, don’t load your coffee up with sugar to avoid the dreaded sugar crash. If you can handle the taste, try having your coffee unsweetened with a bit of cream. Also, space your coffee through the day, and as always, try to avoid it entirely too close to bedtime.