Survival Skills When You Did Not Get Enough Sleep

Your alarm rings but you are hitting the snooze button yet again. You’ve barely slept but you cannot afford to sleep in anymore. 

Life will not wait till you are fully rested and ready. So here are some tips to get through the day after you’ve been up most of the night with a newborn, noisy neighbours or just that naggy voice inside your head.

1. One word: COFFEE

It might be the first thing we reach out for after a night of bad sleep. (We say that as we sip our morning coffee writing this). Although it is not a direct substitute for a good night's sleep, drinking coffee can potentially help you improve your cognitive ability and physical performance. Researchers specifically name caffeine as a tool to help workers who have been sleep-deprived, such as first responders, and shift workers.

While caffeine can be your friend, be aware of your own sensitivities and its side effects. Drink in moderation. 

2. Bottoms Up

Not what you were thinking. Drink water. Lots of it.  Just like sleep, when you are dehydrated, your body may feel weaker than usual. Drinking sufficient amounts of fluids in beverages and water-filled food (such as fruits and vegetables) can help you maintain your energy.

3. Into the Light

Open the curtains and bask in sunlight. If you have the chance, take a short walk outdoors. Getting sunlight can increase your alertness. 

Because of our 24-hour internal clock (circadian rhythms), sunlight exposure signals to the brain that it is time to be awake. Research has also found that being out in the sun may improve your mood and cognitive performance.*

4. Keep it Simple

Practice self-compassion. You are tired and probably not at your best. As far as possible, try to keep your day simple. This is the time to prioritise the tasks that you need to work on and you can and should leave the rest for another day. Perhaps, try to do those one your lists of to-dos that you are particularly good at for a smoother day. 

Remember, be kind to yourself.

This blog post is for general information only. For detailed advice, seek a qualified medical practitioner who knows your medical history.


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