7 Steps To Take If You Got Absolutely Zero Sleep Last Night
And while a regular sleep schedule (waking up at the same time, going to bed at the same time and logging seven or eight hours of sleep every night) is hugely important for your overall health, a few sleep-deprived days aren’t the end of the world. They just feel like they are.
Consider this your guide for surviving those days you feel like a zombie…
1. Don’t Drive
Time to make peace with public transportation. “A lot of times, people think, ‘I’ll just have an extra cup of coffee and I’ll be okay to drive,'” says Shalini Paruthi, director of a Paediatric Sleep and Research Centre. Turns out, that’s not the case. Research from off-road simulations suggests that sleepy drivers have similar (lagging) reaction times to drunk drivers. So give a pal the keys or hop on the bus.
2. Follow Your Daily Schedule as Best You Can
“The most important thing to do is to get back to your daily routine as quickly as possible,” says Paruthi. After all, if you’re awake when your brain and body want to be sleeping, your hormones will be produced a little bit differently, she says. To remind your body everything is normal, it’s important to keep up with regular mealtimes, workout times, and even foods that you usually eat. So don’t venture away from your usual menu just because you didn’t sleep well, she says. Just be wary of carbs: “These usually increase levels of serotonin, which will calm you down and make you feel sleepier,” says sleep specialist Michael Breus.
3. Befriend Caffeine
The powers of caffeine are well known – and since it’s a stimulant, its very purpose is to wake you up. If you need a little more to finish that project, that’s usually okay, says Paruthi. To keep a steady stream of energy, you could also try small doses (around 50 to 100 milligrams) sprinkled in at 9.30am, 12pm and 2.30pm, suggests Breus. Just look out for signs like a racing heart or a headache that signal you’ve overdone it, says Paruthi.
READ MORE: 7 Easy Hacks For Your Best Sleep Ever
4. Try the Nap-a-Latte
Breus uses this technique he created with many of his Fortune 100 execs: “If you only got five to six hours of sleep and really need more, get yourself a cup of drip coffee, and put two to three ice cubes in it to cool it down,” he says. Then drink the entire glass quickly and take a 25-minute nap. “You will get enough Stage 1 to 2 sleep to help lower your sleep drive, and the caffeine will kick in at around the time you wake up,” he says. “It will give you the energy boost you need and is good for about four hours.” Make sure to try the trick before 2pm as to not mess with your next night’s sleep.
5. Or Just a Regular Short Nap
“A quick power nap is also a good idea (without the caffeine) on the days you’re sleep deprived,” says Breus. Shoot for mid-morning for 15 to 20 minutes – but not too much longer or you’ll feel worse (unless you can score a full sleep cycle, which is 90 minutes, he says).
6. Skip the Serious Talks
Ever notice when you’re sleepy you’re also annoyed with everyone? Research suggests when we’re lacking sleep, we’re more likely to be overly emotional – and not handle our feelings as well as we might when we’re well rested. So push back the big talks, suggests Breus.
7. Make an Early Bed Time
If you’re running on five hours of shuteye, do your best to catch that up to seven or eight hours in the next night or so, suggests Paruthi. Normally in bed by 10.30pm? Try to make that 9.30pm. It probably won’t be too difficult.
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com
Looking for more sleeping tips? These ordinary everyday activities could be sabotaging your shut-eye.