Summary: Here are some pointers on how to have a more productive day at work when you didn’t sleep the night before.
We’ve all done it; some every once in awhile and some more times than you could begin to count. Sometimes, you end up binge watching a television show into the early hours of the morning because you just have to know what happens. Or you’re out with friends and having too good of a time to call it quits when you know you probably should. Or you go to bed at a reasonable hour but spend your night tossing and turning while the sheep you count get up into the thousands.
When it’s time to get up and join the rest of the world in the morning, there’s nothing you can do to change how your evening went the night before. However, you can move forward and do a few things to make your day a bit less difficult. Showing up to work or just life can be hard when you’re functioning on very little sleep, especially when it comes to actually using your brain for critical thinking.
So what do you do? While many people turn to coffee, there are actually many other options to consider as well. Here are tips to help you function when you didn’t sleep the night before.
- Drink a lot of water. The first thing you should do any morning is drink a glass of water. When you’re sleeping, your body becomes dehydrated and drinking water will help wake up your brain. If you’ve gotten little sleep, be sure to drink extra water throughout the morning.
- Move your body. Laying around and not moving might be your first instinct, but the best thing to do is to get your blood pumping. Whether that means walking part of the way to work or actually getting in a quick workout before you go to work, do what you can to get your heartrate up for at least a few minutes. If you start nodding off at your desk, get up and do some jumping jacks in the stairwell or take a walk around the block.
- Take a cold shower. It might be hard to jump in, but once you get into a cold shower it really shocks your system awake. If you’re struggling throughout the day, try splashing cold water on your face or wrists.
- Avoid refined carbs. When you’re really tired you tend to crave sugar because it’s a fast energy source. However, you probably know that it only lasts so long and then you crash. Instead of grabbing a donut, some cereal or a bagel, look for a breakfast that’s high in protein and fat to help wake up your brain and give you sustained energy.
- Get some sunshine. We all know sunshine feels good and improves your mood, but it also helps you stay awake because it increases your levels of Vitamin D and B as well as gives your immune system a little boost. Try going for a walk outside whenever you need to wake up a bit.
- Listen to upbeat music. Whether on your way to work or while you’re working, listening to upbeat music can stimulate both your body and mind to wake up. Dance party anyone? It can’t hurt!
- Take a cat nap. Be sure to wait until the afternoon for this one, but taking a quick 20 minute nap can give your mind and body the quick break it needs to go back into work feeling refreshed. If you don’t have an office or a quiet space at work, try taking a nap in your car or somewhere creative.
- Rearrange your day. Sometimes you just can’t expect a lot out of yourself when you haven’t gotten sleep, so try moving your more difficult tasks to the next day and work on other small tasks or even running errands if possible to break up the monotony of the day.
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