How to Get Through a Day After a Sleepless Night

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You can make it through the day, even when you’re running on empty.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: you go to bed at night, but despite your best efforts you can’t seem to properly fall asleep. Maybe it’s too hot, maybe there’s some annoying noise, maybe there’s a fly buzzing around your head. Whatever it is, the moment you finally close your eyes and relax, your alarm clock goes off. Congratulations, you’ve just had a sleepless night. A bad night’s sleep can absolutely murder your motivation for the day, to say nothing of your ability to stand up and dress yourself, but with a few tricks, you can still plow through the day.

Your first assumption may be that you need some caffeine. A little bit of coffee in the morning is okay, but you shouldn’t rely on that stuff. Any energy you get from caffeine will only last so long, so the inevitable crash coupled with your existing exhaustion will make you feel like a corpse. Instead, look for natural ways to stimulate your body and brain. Open a window to get some fresh air and sunlight, for example. Natural forces are naturally soothing and stimulating; if it’s sunny out, your body won’t instinctively try to go back to sleep.

Try not to skip any meals if you can help it. You may not be in the mood for anything heavy, but your body needs food to have any energy. Much like caffeine, you should also steer clear of extra sugar if you can. If you can manage it, try to do some light exercise. Don’t try to exhaust yourself; just a little bit of blood-pumping can help keep you awake and alert. If all else fails, it’s okay to take a 20 minute power nap. Just don’t sleep too long, or you’ll mess up your circadian rhythm even more.

Once you’ve lurched through the day’s responsibilities and it’s bedtime once again, chances are good you’ll have that good night’s sleep you missed out on yesterday. I can tell you from experience, the sleep that comes after sleep deprivation is one of the finest sleeps there is.