Are you one of those people that can function fairly normally on just a few hours of sleep? If you are, lucky you! My husband is one of those people. He can rock up to bed after midnight and think nothing of it the next day. I, unfortunately, am not one of those people and a bad night can make me seriously grumpy the following morning.
Last night, I didn’t get enough sleep due to our four-year-old waking at 4.30am. Normally, I would spend the day pretty miserable and dwelling on my lack of sleep, but with this month being all about ‘positive vibes’ and keeping a healthy mindset, I decided to be a little more proactive. So, I’ve been busily researching the best ways to get through the day after a bad night. If you struggle with getting to sleep in the first place, please check out our post on ‘Tips to improve your sleep‘.
There seems to be strong consensus around the best methods to make it through the day in one piece, so I’m feeling pretty confident that the following should be sound advice. I thought I’d share with you what I’ve discovered, just in case you didn’t get your seven hours either, and you’re in need of a little help today. Here we go.
Ten tips to help you get through the day after little sleep
If you have an alarm set (that isn’t your children), resist all temptations to hit the snooze button to try and get more sleep. Experts say you won’t get any more decent quality rest, so it’s better to bite the bullet, get up, and get on with your day.
Eat a protein-rich breakfast
Although you may want to reach for sugary foods, stick to whole grains, and protein-rich foods such as eggs or plain Greek yoghurt with fruit.
Also make sure you eat within an hour of waking up, as this will help to give you the boost you need for the day ahead.
Caffeine is okay in moderation
I don’t actually drink coffee but if you do, try to have just one or two cups during the day, at strategic times to make the most of the caffeine hit. One expert suggests waiting until after midday, as this is when our energy levels naturally dip and we need the boost most.
Drink plenty of water
When you’re tired, you can be a little dehydrated, so make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Get outside in the daylight
Natural light is one of the best ways to wake up our bodies naturally, as it sends a message to our brains that it is time to be wakeful. If you walk to school, that’s perfect. If not, try to get outside for at least 15 minutes if you can, and you should feel a little more alert.
Better still, exercise
If your schedule allows it, some light exercise in the morning will help. Nothing crazy – a gentle jog, yoga, or even a brisk walk will do. Don’t overdo it!
Rearrange your workload if possible
Let’s face it, you’re not going to be performing at your best today, so if there are big projects to work on, or important decisions to be made, if you can, try to move these tasks to the following day. If that’s just not possible, try to work on these in the first two hours of your day, as this is when you are going to feel your best.
The tasks which require less brainpower or creativity can be put off until later in the day, when your energy levels are lower.
Eat a light, protein-rich lunch
Yes, there’s a theme here to the type of food you should be eating! The experts recommend staying away from simple carbohydrates and instead choosing lean meats, veggies and salads if possible, otherwise you will feel much sleepier during the afternoon.
Can you nap in the afternoon?
Probably not possible if you work in an office, but if you are at home you may be able to squeeze in a 20 minute power nap. This has been shown to have a really restorative effect on your body and will give you the energy you need to make it through the remainder of the day.
Stick to your usual-ish bedtime
Even though you’ll probably want to crash out as soon as you’ve put the kids to bed, experts recommend only going to bed an hour earlier than normal, so as not to disrupt your natural sleeping pattern. They also recommend not sleeping in for more than hour past your usual getting-up time in the morning but hey, we’re parents – what’s a lie-in again??!
I hope you find these tips helpful. Please feel free to share any other advice you have in the comments below.