We all have bad nights when we just can’t get the rest we need, and the next day we suffer from a lack of energy and focus as a result. Doctors and sleep professionals have recommendations to help you cope and feel better. Here are six such recommendations.
Try caffeine but in moderation. Two cups of coffee should be the limit as you won’t get any further benefits from drinking more, according to Jeffrey Durmer, MD and chief medical officer at the Fusion Sleep Center in Atlanta. Dr. Durmer says sleep deprivation leads to a build-up of sleep hormones in the brain that caffeine can’t prevent or eradicate. Two Cups o’ Joe should do all that caffeine can do. The same holds true with over-the-counter energy supplements. They can help, but you shouldn’t overdo it. The doctor recommends if you’re relying too much on coffee and supplements to function everyday,
then you need to get a sleep check-up.
Don’t overuse sugar. Reaching for candy and sweet treats will give you a momentary boost, but then you’ll soon crash back to perhaps even a worst state of fatigue. Dr. Durmer recommends eating fruit instead. Fruit has natural sugar that takes longer to digest and thus won’t lead to a rush followed by a crash.
Take breaks for rejuvenation. Dr. Durmer sugggests going on a walk outdoors. “Movement stimulates alertness in the brain, and sunlight provides your body with natural cues to promote wakefulness,” he says. Other options include light to moderate exercise and taking a nap, if that’s possible.
Adjust your schedule to your life-state. This equates to making your day’s tasks easier for you. Cut your list of what needs to be done down to just the essentials and focus on doing them well rather than stressing over a big list that you probably won’t be able to complete in your reduced state anyway.
Take public transportation or car pool it to work. This is a safety tip since being fatigued can lead to poor reactions and decisions while driving. If you have to drive, try to take a 15- or 20-minute nap before heading home from work. And don’t wear sunglasses. Blocking the light will only trigger your brain to create melatonin, the sleep hormone.
Sleep extra the next night. You may want to try to get some extra zzzz’s the night after a bad night before, but here you need to be careful because changing your sleep habits by going to bed earlier or sleeping longer can disrupt your circadian rhythm, or body clock. Dr. Durmer recommends sleeping no more than two extra hours and only doing that occasionally so as not to reset your body clock. Also, for a healthy person, there’s no extra restorative power after 10 hours of sleep.