How to Get Through Your Workday on Limited Sleep

When you miss out on your seven to nine hours but you still have a full day ahead, these tips will keep you energized.

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation

There is no substitute for a good night’s sleep. You try but there are times when you weren’t able to get the recommended seven to nine hours. Whether you worked the late shift yesterday or you were up all night with a sick child, you missed out on that critical period of sleep and recovery. On days like this, there are ways to power through the next day on limited sleep. Learn how to overcome an occasional sleep deficit with these useful tips.

Take a Cold Shower
Start your day off with a refreshing cold shower, which can help jolt you awake. The unexpected sensation of the cool water on your skin causes your body to release endorphins and adrenaline, naturally occurring chemicals that can help boost your energy levels.

Eat Healthy
It’s important to eat nutritious meals when you’re functioning on limited sleep. Opt for foods high in protein and complex carbohydrates, which will not only help you stay awake but will also improve your focus. (Think peanut butter on whole-wheat toast.) Avoid sugary foods or items high in trans or saturated fat, , which can deplete your energy levels further.

Drink Water
Even mild dehydration can cause fatigue, moodiness, and trouble focusing. If you’re at the job and feeling lethargic, make sure you stay hydrated. Although the exact amount varies by person and activity level, a good benchmark to aim for is at least eight tall glasses of water daily.

Take A Walk
Light exercise can help energize you naturally and improve your performance during work hours. A quick, low-intensity workout like a yoga class or casual bike ride as soon as you wake up can help fight fatigue. Walking in fresh air can also help revitalize your energy levels.

Limit Caffeine
While you might feel a drop in energy toward the end of your work shift, avoid reaching for another cup of coffee. Caffeine consumption even six hours before bedtime can significantly disrupt sleep. Try herbal tea instead.