Most of us have endured the dreaded experience of trying to survive a busy day on minimal sleep. Getting less than the amount of sleep our body requires makes us feel groggy, irritable and reduces our ability to concentrate. To ensure you are well-prepared the next time this occurs, we have summarised an insightful article from the ABC Life Blog which outlines six tips to help you function after a poor night’s sleep.
Please note: These are suggestions only, if you are having regular issues with your sleep please consult a qualified health professional.
Strategically use caffeine
Many sleep-deprived people turn to caffeinated drinks such as coffee and energy drinks to stave off tiredness. This is because caffeine is effective in improving our alertness and focus levels, making getting through the day that little bit easier. However, the article warns against treating it as the cure to all your sleepless woes. Caffeine can also make us feel ‘’stressed, on edge and a bit sick,’’ along with raising our heart rate. The article suggests that whilst it can be a great short-term fix, you should also consider a range of additional factors — such as individual sensitivities to caffeine and mood — before slurping down six coffees!
Watch what you eat
Like caffeine, increased snacking can lead to long-term pain for a short-term gain if it isn’t properly thought through. A sleep health expert quoted in the article says that food is “more a psychological mood boost than helping the body cope with disrupted sleep”. Eating sugary food can make us feel even worse in the long run by providing us with a short-term boost followed by a steep drop in energy levels. So yes — food can help us get through the day by giving us a mental kick, but you should think twice before raiding the chocolate draw!
Drink plenty of water
A regular intake of water is a great way to improve all-round health and well-being. It helps reduce the impacts of sleep-deprivation by ensuring the detrimental side-effects of dehydration are avoided. However, the article also points out that ‘’water doesn’t help your alertness’’, meaning that “it doesn’t combat true sleepiness.”
Get some Vitamin D
Heading outside and soaking up a small dose of sun is a great way to wake up! The article quotes Moira Junge, a health psychologist with the Sleep Health Foundation, who explains “getting sunlight on your face in the morning can help your body shut off melatonin, the chemical we produce for sleep,” improving our alert levels. Whilst sunlight isn’t the be-all and end-all cure to sleep deprivation, it can certainly make us feel better!
Try a (very quick) powernap
Who would have thought the best cure for sleep deprivation is sleep itself? Powernaps help us ‘catch up’ on lost sleep, reducing the effects of tiredness. The key is to keep them short, around the ten-minute mark, as anything over half an hour can disrupt regular sleep patterns for days to come. It’s a fine line, but successfully negotiating it can effectively combat sleepiness.
Catch up on your days off
This is another survival tip where it is important to tread carefully to avoid furthering the consequences of sleeplessness and do not try it if you suffer from regular sleep interruptions. If you aren’t one of those people, sleeping a bit longer on your day off can help you feel fresh and recharged for the upcoming week!
You can read the full article on the ABC Life Blog.
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