We’ve all done it — pulled all-nighters to study in school, to finish up a project or a presentation for work, or to deal with a medical emergency or a trip to the hospital. During this time, you don’t feel tired, because you are running on pure adrenaline.
But once the adrenaline wears off and daylight comes, the tiredness might start to kick in. You may suddenly feel hungry, or tired, or a little wavy. You might find yourself nodding off. Still, there are things to do and you may not have the luxury to go to bed right away. You still have to power through the day.
When you haven’t had enough sleep, everything is affected, including how well you pay attention, your memory, and your reaction time. That’s why it’s not a good idea to be making big decisions, after you haven’t had enough sleep.
Here’s how to power through the day when you haven’t had any sleep the night before.
Don’t drive to work
If possible, make other arrangements to get to work, such as catching a ride or taking the bus. Even if you are able to drive there in the morning, you may have an unbelievably difficult time staying awake by the end of the day when you have to go home.
Take a power nap
Even if you don’t have time to get a full-blown sleep, try to catch a 15 minute nap in a comfortable chair or on a couch. Set your alarm — if you sleep too long, the nap will do more harm than good. If you sleep longer than about 30 minutes, you may feel groggy when you wake up. This is called sleep inertia, and happens when you wake from a deep sleep. When you wake up from your 30-minute power nap, you will feel a bit more refreshed.
Drink a big glass of water
Your first inclination might be to drink a big cup of coffee, but that’s not the way to go. You need to be strategic with your coffee or energy drink. It takes about 15 to 30 minutes for you to feel the effect of the caffeine, and the benefit will last for three to four hours. But when it wears off, you might crash. Go for a big glass of water instead. Staying hydrated keeps everything running smoothly.
Snack throughout the day
When you’re feeling sleepy, you may forget to eat, but having small snacks throughout the day may be just what you need to keep you moving. Stick with healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables, and carbs, like bagels and toast, rather than heavy foods, which may put you to sleep.
Get some exercise
Your instinct may be to sit down and rest if you’re tired. After all, shouldn’t you save your strength? Nope. You could take a brisk walk during your break time to get some oxygen in your lungs and to your brain. That fresh air will boost your brain power and make you feel less tired.
A friend of mine Troy Petrunoff, a Content Strategist at AngelHack says, “I enjoy a mid-day workout, it gives me a second wind and mental boost to finish the day strong.”
There you have it, coffee isn’t the only way to power through the day with little sleep!