Have you ever wondered why, on getting up on some mornings, you feel more tired and exhausted than you were when you went to sleep last night? Sleep deprivation or having little sleep is a common problem among people and it has a wide variety of causes. The causes could be stress due to thinking about the upcoming meeting at work, pain in some part of the body, sleeping with your pet, some medicines such as anti-hypertensive, a crying new baby in your life, alcohol, a snoring bed partner, poor bedtime rituals such as drinking coffee, watching television late at night or a sleep disorder.
Tips on How to Function on Little Sleep
Take caffeine in moderation
Caffeine can help when you require a boost in energy as long as you take it in moderation. For instance, 2 cups of coffee will give you the maximum alertness that you can get. Drinking more than that will not make you more alert. Moreover, it is recommended that you avoid coffee after 4 p.m. so as to avoid problems while sleeping at night.
You get fatigued when you are dehydrated. Hence, the more water you drink, the more wake and alert you feel. Moreover, drinking lots of water needs more breaks to go the restroom, which in turn is a simple technique to stay more active and not fall asleep at work.
After a poor night’s sleep, you attention span may become short and to bring your focus back to work, you need to take frequent breaks throughout the day. This is one of the important tips on how to function on little sleep.
Take a walk outdoors: Along with activity you will also get sunlight. Alertness in the brain is stimulated by movement and your body is provided with natural cues by sunlight to promote wakefulness. Sunlight helps in battling sleepiness in the afternoon because it increases vitamin B and D levels. Moreover, moderate amount of sunlight will help you focus, improve your mood and boost your immune system, which is required because your immune system is compromised when you don’t get enough sleep at night.
Take it easy when you exercise: Do moderate or light exercise and nothing too vigorous, while you are exhausted. You are at risk of getting injured when you are fatigued if you do hard exercise.
If you have time, take a brief nap: Napping for up to 25 minutes will help you in recharging your mind and body. Napping for a longer duration than that will increase your drowsiness.
Avoid large meals
Avoid eating junk foods, large meals or lots of carbohydrates. Such foods will increase your drowsiness. Instead eat light meals that are lean and contain lots of protein, especially foods that contain tyrosine. Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, chicken, yogurt, and fish are examples of foods that will keep you alert and will not slow you down.
A cool shower or splash can do the trick
Another trick to answer how to function on little sleep is to take a cold shower. Your body is stimulated by a cold shower; you will often wake up by the sudden shock it provides. Of course, you will not be able to take a cold shower many times throughout the day. Instead, you can splash some cold water on your face while in the restroom or place an ice cube on your temple or wrists.
Go for a change
You won’t stay awake by having a monotonous routine. Change things up throughout the day so that you have various things to keep you going. This could mean joking around with colleagues, watching trailers of upcoming movies on YouTube, making phone calls, doing some yoga in the office. Just make sure to stay to a limit and it’s not against the office rule. When you spice up your day, it will help keep yourself stimulated when you are feeling extremely fatigued.
Chew a piece of gum
According to researchers, sleepiness can be reduced by chewing gum probably because it increases cerebral activity. You can choose a mint-flavored gum for additional benefit because mint has a rousing effect.
Keep your day simple
It is a fact that you are not at your best with too little sleep at night. Hence, lighten your work load as much as you can. It is another option for how to function on little sleep. You can still do quality work by doing fewer things without stressing out too much. For instance, you have 5 tasks for the day. Cut them to 2 or 3 and focus on doing them really well. You may also like to hold off on taking any big and important decisions until after you have slept nicely.
Don’t try to make up the sleep too much
When you go to sleep tonight, you may be tempted to sleep more than normal. Again moderation is the key here. It is ok to sleep after a bad night’s sleep but you are also trying to bring back your sleep schedule on track. Sleeping for too long can make it harder as it causes a shift in your normal pattern of sleep. If you sleep extra, limit it to no more than 2 extra hours. If normally you sleep for 7 hours at night, aim for 9.
Going too early to bed can also disturb pattern of sleep. If you are tired and want to sleep, wait until it’s about an hour before your normal bedtime. No matter how exhausted you are, you should not sleep all day, as the utmost recovery sleep time you can have is 10 hours. If you are tired but still having problem falling asleep, count backwards from 200 in multiples of two. Solving math problems makes it difficult to keep your eyes open and think anything else.
Warning: Avoid driving
Driving while drowsy is dangerous as it can lead to accidents. Instead of taking the risk of driving rely on carpooling or public transportation. It will not only prevent an accident but also give you few minutes to close your eyes.