8 Ideas to Help You Function When You’re Sleep Deprived

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If you are reading this article, you may have had your struggles with sleep deprivation. Lack of enough sleep eventually affects your performance and productivity levels. You find it challenging to stay awake for a full day when you are so tired and want to collapse on your ghostbed mattress and sleep the day away.

However, the answer to this dilemma is not sleeping in on weekends. In fact, that makes the problem even worse because dealing with sleep debts is not that straightforward. It seems the issue is very difficult to manage, thanks to the fast-paced lifestyle we live in the world of today. You likely lack defined sleep hours, so you find yourself sleeping almost anywhere: on the bus when you are headed home, on the couch, in front of your laptop, and so on.

With this increasingly common issue, it is a good idea to figure out ways that you can stay as productive as possible, even when you are struggling with sleep deprivation. Read on to find out some of these useful hacks.

Make it a point to face the sun as often as possible

It is true that exposure to the sun will instantly refresh your mind and help fight fatigue, due to sunlight stimulating the brain to produce less melatonin — the hormone that is in charge of making you sleepy. It also increases the levels of Vitamins B and D, which boost your mood, enhance the functionality of the immune system (an effect of sleep deprivation is a weakened immune system), and assist your mind to focus.

Avoid taking coffee

We all know that the solution to feeling sleepy is taking a full cup of coffee; however, this is not necessarily the case. In fact, the more coffee you drink, the more dehydration your body begins to experience, and that will make your attempts at staying awake worse as the day goes on.

When you are trying to stay awake and productive, it is important to reduce your coffee intake and substitute it with juices or other healthy drinks. On that note, you should:

Drink a lot of water

One of the major reasons behind fatigue is dehydration. Think of the last time you were really thirsty, and you will probably realize you felt very tired as well. Drinking water is one of the ways you can combat fatigue because it helps you stay awake and more alert. Water will also help to replenish the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain, as well as replenishing the tissues.

In addition, you will need to go for more bathroom breaks when you drink lots of water, which indirectly ensures that you are up and active the whole day. Two pro tips that always prove useful: drink one or two full glasses of water before you begin your work to wake the internal organs up, and you can even add some extra zest to the water by adding some lemon.

Become more active

The more active you are, the less chances you have of focusing on the fact that you are operating on little sleep, so workouts are always a great idea. Exercise is a guaranteed way of improving the levels of adrenaline and energy through faster blood circulation, and it also helps in giving your metabolism some kicks. All these changes will help you operate more effectively while improving your sleep patterns at night.

However, you might not have the time to run to the gym after your workday, so consider going up and down the stairs or going for a jog or walk as a substitute.

Reduce large meals

When you are sleepy and trying to stay productive, eating a large meal is never a good idea — especially when it involves carbohydrates. That includes anything from junk food and very heavy meals, because they will always make you feel drowsier.

Instead, you can consider eating light meals or snacks that contain protein as a major food source, especially those that have tyrosine. These include vegetables, fish, chicken, whole grains, and fruits. Snack on these at regular intervals to help you stay awake.

Take breaks

As much as you want to accomplish a lot throughout your day, it is important to remember that you are human — so breaks are just as important to your productivity. Every few hours, make sure to take a break from what you are doing and get away from it for a few minutes — such as looking at the plants in your work-space or going outside for a walk. If this feels like too much, you can stand up and do some stretches for a few minutes.

This will improve the circulation of blood throughout your body and signal to your brain that you have accomplished something, helping it to relax.

Take a nap

As much as you cannot sleep in when you are sleep deprived because it does not help much, you can take a break in the day by having a power nap to refresh you. This will help to reset your biological clock and help you power through the rest of the day.

When you wake up later, you will feel refreshed and more lively and ready to power through.

Take a cold-hot shower

Most research will tell you that hot showers make you sleepy, but when you combine them with cold showers, it will boost your senses and prepare you for the day. Do this in quick succession — first starting with the hot shower then the cold one immediately afterwards. This will remove all traces of fatigue and help you start your day feeling fresh.

 

Final thoughts

When trying to get yourself some energy while sleep deprived, it is good to start by rediscovering your sleeping patterns and adjusting them to your schedule. The aim here is to take control of your sleep, not letting your sleep control you — and these tips will help you do that and stay as productive as you can.

 

Germ Magazine guest author
… is a contributing guest author for Germ, which means the following criteria (and then some) have been met: possessor of a fresh, original voice; creator of fresh, original content; genius storyteller; superlative speller; fantastic dancer; expert joke teller; handy with a toolbox; brilliant at parties; loves us as much as we love them.

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