Whether you work odd hours, have young kids, or are cramming for a deadline, getting 7+ hours of sleep a night isn’t always do-able. Below are some tips for powering through your day despite a sleep deficit.
When: You wake up
What: Go to the window or step outside to soak up some daylight.
Why: Natural light triggers the suppression of sleep hormones, which can help clear your morning fog.
When: You need a lift before noon
What: Use caffeine wisely.
Why: Having coffee with breakfast will give you a boost, but keep it to one or two cups. Drinking too much caffeine could leave you feeling jittery, and more than that probably won’t help.
When: Regular meal and snack times
What: Eat protein and avoid sugar.
Why: Sleep deprivation leads to an uptick in cravings for sugar and junk food so keep healthy foods at the ready. Try eggs + avocado, rotisserie chicken + baby carrots, salmon + spinach, tuna + salad. Protein-rich choices will provide you with steady, lasting energy.
When: While reviewing your to-do list
What: Cross off anything non-essential.
Why: Cancel what you can, and politely decline new requests. (If you still have too much to do, consider soliciting help from friends and loved ones.)
When: You drag later in the day
What: Go on a short walk.
Why: Light exercise will GIVE you energy. Meanwhile, fight the urge to have more caffeine! Caffeine takes 8 hours to leave your system, so cut off coffee, tea and soda by early afternoon, or it could disrupt your sleep tonight.
When: You have at least 30 free minutes
What: Take a nap.
Why: Not only will you feel more alert, but thirty minutes of shut-eye helps your immune and endocrine systems recover from a rough night.
When: You get angry or irritated
What: Take 5 – 10 slow, deep breaths.
Why: Lack of sleep shortens your fuse. Deep breathing will calm your nerves and give you a buffer that allows you to respond to stress rationally instead of emotionally.