Sleep deprivation is a problem that afflicts many people, whether it’s caused by a new baby, stress or work. Though it can feel sometimes impossible to stay awake and alert when you need to be, there are several tricks to keep in mind that can get you through the day on just a few hours’ sleep.
Signs that you are lacking sleep can include shortness of temper, lack of energy and lack of focus on even the simplest of tasks. It is important to be aware of the signs, as undertaking strenuous tasks when overtired and unfocused can be a safety hazard to both you and those around you.
However, there will be occasions in which you will have to successfully function on minimal sleep. Fortunately, coping mechanisms can be simple and straightforward.
Make sure you eat healthily, including lots of fruits, vegetables and water. Your immune system can be worn down by lack of sleep but a good diet can help to prevent illness and extreme fatigue. Take ample amounts of Vitamin C and Vitamin B-12. Vitamin C is good for the immune system and helps to decrease stress. Vitamin B-12, meanwhile, is known for its energy boosting abilities.
Heavy foods can increase feelings of lethargy, so avoid filling up on foods like pizza and pasta. Along these lines, try eating several small meals rather than large ones which will also help regulate your energy stores.
When sleepy it can feel difficult to even rouse yourself out of bed and onto your feet. Exercise, therefore, can feel like an impossible feat. However, even if it is the last thing you feel like doing, exercise gets the blood pumping and gives you energy. Stick with it and power on through; you will feel invigorated and re-energised afterwards!
It’s Not Forever
You might feel that you are trapped in an endless spiral of sleeplessness, but remind yourself that there is an end in sight. Whatever the reason for your sleep deprivation, it cannot go on forever. This will help buoy you up and prevent your lack of sleep from harming your mental well-being. It also stops you from worrying too much about it, which can itself cause lack of sleep.
If you do get the chance, try to nap whenever you can, even if it is just for 20 minutes. This will give you a much needed boost that can help carry you through the rest of the day.
Even little things can help. Ice cold water and fresh air can shock your system and bring you back into alertness.
What to Avoid
Caffeine might seem like a simple solution but do not rely on it in large doses. Overloading your body with caffeine can cause headaches, increased irritability and dehydration rather than the effects that you want.
Your tired state exacerbates feelings and you can sometimes as a result find yourself behaving irrationally and saying and doing things that you might regret. Take deep breaths and count to ten. Try to be calm, even if your first reaction is to snap, shout or confront somebody.
Naturally, forgoing sleep for long periods of time is damaging to anyone’s health, but it is possible to get through it in the short term without any real ill-effects. While there is no replacement for a good solid night’s sleep, there are some survival tips to better help you cope with tiredness!