Virtually everyone experiences sleep deprivation at some point in their lives. Whether you spent the night tossing and turning or accidentally stayed up bingeing the latest series on Netflix, a bad night’s sleep is likely to leave you feeling less than perfect the next day.
When you are sleep deprived, blood does not flow as efficiently to certain areas of the brain. This can impact certain cognitive functions such as memory, as well as leaving you feeling irritable and moody.
With this in mind, it is clear that enduring a day on little sleep can be pretty tough. However, there are ways to mitigate and manage the effects of sleep deprivation. We’ve listed a few below.
1. Wake yourself up with some fresh air
Getting up close and personal with nature can make you feel more energized and can lift your mood. Indeed, natural light and plants can help to reduce your heart rate, get your brain working, and alleviate feelings of stress. Absorbing some natural sunlight is also a good way of tapping into your circadian rhythms, something which can help to get you back into a regular sleep schedule.
2. Think carefully about what you’re eating
Eating well whilst sleep deprived is very important if you want to feel as well as possible and ensure that your sleep pattern is quickly restored.
Whilst your body is likely to crave refined sugars and simple carbohydrates for a quick energy fix, indulging in cookies, fast food and soda will only lead to an unpleasant energy crash a few hours later. Rather than opting for ultra-processed products, try to eat nutritious meals that are kind to your body and mind.
For lunch, for example, you should try eating plenty of protein such as oily fish or nuts, along with several servings of fresh fruit and vegetables. If you find yourself flagging in the afternoon, try indulging in a sliced avocado or veg sticks with hummus. As well as combating the hunger you are likely to feel, these foods are delicious and will offer the pick-me-up you need to see you through the rest of the day.
Most importantly, you should avoid skipping meals whilst tired. This can lower your blood sugar and could increase the likelihood of mood swings.
3. Take a short nap
We do not recommend sleeping for long periods of time in the day after a bad night’s sleep as this can seriously disrupt your sleep schedule. However, taking a very short nap of no more than 20 minutes in the middle of the day can help provide the boost of energy you need to complete important tasks.
4. Do some exercise in the morning
Whilst it may seem counterintuitive to use up your precious energy stores with a morning workout, increasing your metabolic rate and blood flow with exercise can help you to feel energised and awake for a number of hours.
A MESSAGE FROM DR. AMY HARTSFIELD:
At TMJ & Sleep Solutions of Alabama, our mission is to provide personalized care to restore quality of life, one patient at a time. If you are experiencing issues with sleep, don’t hesitate to contact us and schedule an appointment!