We've all struggled with a bad night of sleep before. Tossing and turning all night can leave us feeling seriously lethargic and anxious the next day. However, a sleepless night doesn't have to set you off track. You'll be surprised at how well you can function if you use these strategies to power through your day.
1. Stay optimistic
Don't underestimate human resilience. One night of poor sleep isn't catastrophic. If you keep the right attitude, you may find your focus and energy levels are consistent with your normal days. Working yourself up over a rough night will just drain your energy more. It's important not to stress about your night because obsessing over not sleeping can lead to more trouble sleeping the next night.
2. Take it easy
With your energy already compromised, it makes sense to take it easy the next day. Skip your planned evening workout, and spend your night unwinding before bed. If you don't get enough sleep, your workouts will be significantly less effective. Restorative sleep is needed to repair and build muscle tissues. Gentle exercise is fine, but don't exert yourself too much. Try doing some yoga or light exercise in the morning to promote blood circulation and increase alertness.
3. Let there be light
Get exposed to as much bright light as possible, especially right after waking up. Morning light energizes us and improves mood by boosting serotonin levels. It also helps regulate our circadian rhythm, which will contribute to better sleep in the future. When there's little or no sunlight in the AM, use artificial light during the daytime.
4. Stick to a healthy diet
Even though you'll be tempted to reach for a sweet pastry and coffee in the morning, sugar and caffeine will only provide a short fix. You should also avoid large meals and simple carbohydrates like pasta for lunch. These foods will make you more likely to crash later on. Try eating protein-rich foods like nuts and lean meats to keep you energy levels up. Remember to stay hydrated and drink a lot of water during the day as well.
5. Go outside
Tiredness peaks from 1 pm - 3 pm. If you can't squeeze in a 20-minute power nap during this time, get some fresh air. Research shows that spending time outside increases energy in 90% of people.
Sleepless nights happen to the best of us, but we can overcome their negative effects. Remember, it's just one day we have to get through. Bed is only a few hours away. Go to sleep slightly earlier the following night and you'll feel totally rejuvenated the next day.