We’ve heard the stats before: it’s recommended that adults should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night. But we all have those nights where our minds are racing and we just can’t fall asleep. And chances are, your boss won’t accept “I couldn’t sleep” as an excuse to stay home the next day.
In that case, you’ll have to power through your workday until you can go home and finally get some z’s. Here are some suggestions on how to make it through your 9-5 on limited sleep:
Eat A Healthy Breakfast
As the most important meal of the day, we know that breakfast plays a role in kick-starting our morning. It’s suggested that eating within an hour of waking up will help boost our mood and cognitive performance for the early parts of the day. However, it’s what we choose to eat – especially on a night of no sleep – that’s important.
We may be tempted to have a small, carb-loaded breakfast, but doing so may give us a boost in our blood sugar and ultimately lead to an energy crash. Instead we should fill up on foods full of protein, such as Greek yogurt, that will give us a longer-lasting energy boost.
Drink Coffee, But Not Too Much
We encourage having coffee with your protein-loaded breakfast, but only a minimal amount. The boost of energy from coffee is beneficial to waking up, but having too much coffee at a time may make you jittery and shaky, cause a spike in blood pressure or make you dehydrated.
The FDA recommends drinking 100-200 mg of coffee (one to two 5-oz cups) per day. Each person is different, however, so note your caffeine intake and what it does to your body (and fatigue).
Once you do make it to work, you may find that a lack of sleep makes your attention span more limited than usual. An efficient way to stay focused and complete your tasks for the day would be to take breaks and take in your work one assignment at a time.
Possible ways to take a break while at work could be taking a quick walk outside or around the office, getting lunch somewhere, or taking a brief nap.
Adjust Your Task Schedule
If it’s possible, adjust your task schedule to make your work day as painless as possible. Since you are running on limited sleep, you will probably not be as focused or as energized as you might be on a day when you had a full 8 hours of sleep the night before.
Ways to make your task schedule easier would be to take breaks during the day, (like we mentioned above) rescheduling a meeting to another day, or delegating assignments to coworkers.
Turn Up The Lights
Having a source of bright light on in the office can help keep your melatonin levels down, which can help keep you awake longer if you’re tired. Try opening the blinds on your window or using an overhead lamp at your desk to make your workspace brighter, and as a result, you may be more alert and focused.