Were you up all night last night? Maybe tossing and turning, or the kids had you up all night?
Are you exhausted and not thinking clearly today?
Here are my top 6 tips for what I want you to focus on today, to ensure you get through today feeling as good as possible, and to make sure you’ll sleep well tonight.
- Still get up at your normal time. I know, the gut reaction is to sleep in as long as you can to make up for what you lost. And while this can seem helpful in the moment, depending on how long you actually get to “sleep in” for, it can set you up for an even worse day. As much as it hurts, dragging your exhausted butt out of bed roughly around the same time even with a bad night’s sleep can actually help.
- Go easy on the coffee. You probably feel like you need to hook up a coffee IV at this point, but I would also caution against that. Some coffee is totally ok! But too much coffee will heighten your stress response (and hike your cortisol) and can interfere with your sleep that night.
For your best option, cut off your caffeine after noon, and sip on water, or herbal tea, throughout the afternoon. That will help to keep you alert, and also make sure you’re getting up frequently for bathroom breaks.
- Move in the morning. One of the best recommendations for a bad night’s sleep might seem counterintuitive but moving in the morning can make the difference between a rotten day and a functional one. Don’t forget, morning movement will spike your cortisol in the morning, which will both wake you up AND get your circadian hormones where you want them. This does not need to be vigorous movement. Even stretching, yoga, or a walk will help clear the cobwebs.
Even after you’ve been moving in the morning, I do recommend also moving throughout the day. Any time you feel tired, or like your head is starting to bob, get up and move, even for 5 minutes. It’s an incredible pick me up, even more effective than coffee!
- Be mindful of your hunger. Sleep deprivation increases ghrelin (the hormone that makes you hungry) and decreases leptin (the hormone that makes you feel full). After a night of not sleeping well, your hunger is going to be doing strange things. It’s perfectly fine to eat whatever you feel you need, but just be aware that some of this hunger is going to be triggered by the lack of sleep.
When you’re aware of what is driving your hunger, you’ll be more likely to choose foods that actually energize you, instead of heading for the treats that taste and feel good, but make you feel gross. It’s not that you can’t have them, you just want to be mindful about how and why you’re choosing them.
- Don’t nap! Even though it might be tempting to fall into bed to grab a snooze, it could still interfere with your sleep that night. Instead try some yoga nidra or mindfulness activities. If you must nap, keep it to 30 minutes or less.
- Go to bed around the same time that night. Even though you might be tempted to go to bed earlier if you’re exhausted, don’t give in to the temptation to head to bed too early. It’s OK to go a little bit early, but if you go to bed too early, that is both out of your routine and out of sync with your circadian clock. It’s possible that if you go to bed too early, your body will just think you’re having a nap, and you’ll be awake 2-3 hours later.
Sleep debt is a difficult thing to catch up on. Rather than thinking of sleep as “something I’ll catch up on during the weekend”, you should aim for a good night’s sleep every night.
One bad sleep once in awhile isn’t going to be too much of a problem in the long run.
So if you didn’t sleep well last night – that’s ok! There’s always tonight!
If you experience sleep problems more often than not, book a free sleep assessment call with me (here’s the link!) so we can chat about what might be causing your specific sleep problems, and what kind of solutions I can offer you.