Tips for Surviving Your Workday on Not Enough Sleep

Posted by Nicole on July 10

Didn’t get enough sleep last night, and struggling to keep your eyes open at the office today? When you do not get enough sleep, your regular workday can feel like it is about a week long. How can you get through it? Here are a few simple tips that should make it a bit easier to survive your workday when sleep-deprived.

1. Start with a glass of cold water.

You can jumpstart your metabolism in the morning by drinking some cold water. Cassie Vanderwall, clinical nutritionist at UW Health in Madison, Wisconsin, explains, “We know that anytime we ingest something that is a different temperature than our stable temperature of 98.6, our body has to work harder.”

There are other options as well. For example, you can go to your sink and splash cold water on your face. Or, you could hop in a cold shower for a couple minutes.

2. Expose yourself to blue light.

The next thing you can do is try and expose yourself to some sunlight on the way to work, if possible. If you do not have that option, see if you can step outside a couple times during the workday.

Sleep Foundation writes, “We get the most of our exposure to blue light from the sun. Blue light stimulates parts of the brain that make us feel alert, elevating our body temperature and heart rate. During the day, blue light can improve performance and attention, tuning our circadian rhythm and setting us up for a better night’s sleep after the sun sets.”

So, getting some sunlight will help you wake up during your workday, and potentially sleep better the next night.

3. Move around.

If you are slouching at your desk all day, the message your brain is getting is just “sleep, sleep, sleep …” So, try and get up and move around a bit at least several times an hour, even if it is just stretching and walking to the water cooler.

4. Eat something, but not too much.

Give your body some fuel for the workday. But don’t eat too much, or you might just wind up feeling sluggish.

5. Caffeine is okay, but in moderation.

Coffee or tea might help you get a little extra energy for your workday. But make sure you are not overdoing it, or you could just end up interfering with your sleep the next night.

6. Take some micro naps, if you can.

If you feel tempted to drift off for a few minutes during your workday, consider doing it (if you can get away with it).

WebMD writes, “If you're flagging in the afternoon, taking a six-minute snoozer will likely perk you up, as super-short naps are thought to improve alertness and memory. One study found that ‘a sleep episode as short as six minutes was enough to significantly boost memory performance.’ And we're talking declarative, or long-term memory, meaning that you'll have an easier time tomorrow remembering what you did today. All after just six minutes of shuteye.”

Try Not to Let It Happen Again

Work performance is only one of the reasons it is important to get plenty of sleep each night. So, try and get a full night of sleep every night if possible.

Need some recommendations to help you sleep better? Take a look at Easy Tips for Improving Sleep Hygiene.