Monday, January 20, 2014

How To Survive On Practically No Sleep

I'm one of those people that somehow never seems to get the right amount of sleep. Usually I feel good after 6-8 hours, but any less (or, weirdly, more) and I can't seem to function. As an active, busy student who can sometimes be a procrastinator, I am no stranger to nearly-all-night-ers. So, if you're up till 3 am one night finishing a project and have to wake up at 5 am the next day before a workout, school, sports practice and work (and don't forget to budget in time for homework!)... how the heck do you stay awake?

1. DRINK WATER. I used to google 'how to get recover from a hangover' when I didn't get enough sleep. I've never been drunk, but I imagine a hangover feels somewhat similar to running around on 3 hours of sleep. Drinking water was always one of the first tips that popped up. I assume this might be to flush toxins from your system, and I don't know if lack of sleep affects toxins, but water gives you more energy anyways because it gets your blood moving.

2. As does exercise. If you're tired, working out will work like water and energize your body by getting your blood moving. You don't have to go on a ten mile run or anything; even an easy yoga class will help you feel more awake.

3. Avoid caffeine, actually, except in small amounts like green or black tea. Coffee might help you for a little bit, but really all it does it give you a short burst of energy before letting you crash. Plus, most people don't drink straight coffee; you definitely don't need all the added syrups and sugars in common coffee drinks! Also avoid energy drinks, which are pretty much entirely made of sugar and chemicals. Instead of these gross quick-energy-fixes, have some fresh fruit or veggies. Green juices work super well for me, especially if they contain ginger or chia seeds. Eating fresh and healthy foods will help you fend off headaches and feel more awake in general. Peppermint tea is wonderful, too. Simply smelling it can enhance your mood and lift your spirits!

4. Get up and get going just like you normally would. Eat breakfast, brush your teeth, get ready for the day. If you curl up in bed and hit the snooze button ten times, your tiredness will consume you. Getting up and moving, even if that just means getting dressed, tells your body that the day is starting and it needs to be prepared. 

5. But maybe, maaaaaybe cut something out. Do you really NEED to do that 5:30 am yoga class if you're going on a run later? Would it be more beneficial for you to reschedule breakfast with a friend so you can save your energy for that work meeting after lunch? I'm generally not a huge advocate of skipping/rescheduling things just for sleep, but sometimes you have to recognize your limits. Also, if you're cutting something out, make sure the only person it really affects is you. For example; you're exhausted but decide to see a movie before you get to work on that big project due tomorrow. When you get back from the movie, you crash on the couch and don't wake up until your alarm beeps the next morning. Now your mistake (not doing the project) affects your boss/teacher/classmates/coworkers, whereas if you had skipped the movie and done the project, you would have missed the movie but made the responsible decision. 

6. Finally, prep for the future. Think about why you didn't get enough sleep. Late night out with friends? Maybe plan those on days when you've got an empty calendar the next morning. Are you up chronically late working on projects and assignments? Take a good look at your habits and see if there's a better time besides 10pm to start being productive! This is still one of my biggest problems... :P

So there you have it; some tips on surviving on very little sleep! Of the course the best advice would be to get more sleep in the first place... But who has time for that? ;)

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