Going Head to Head with a Bad Night's Sleep

Alarm clocks are humanity's nemesis, and there's nothing worse than facing your foe after a bad night's sleep. Whilst it can feel like there's no point even trying to make the next day remotely successful, we've gathered some tips on how to salvage a day full of yawns.


No matter how cool we're told staying up late is, or how many successful men and women we've heard don't sleep, these urban legends fall to pot as soon as you try to mimic them. The benefits of sleep are now widely known, from reducing anxiety, to improving health, and even adding years to your life (amongst about a billion other things). But you're not here to be told about that.


You're here because you didn't have a coffee yesterday, and you put your phone away faithfully an hour before bed, yet for some reason your brain just didn't shut off 'til the wee hours of the morning - moments before your alarm went off. The audacity. Of all the first world things to complain about, this one is perhaps the most justified. So how do we tackle the day (and ourselves) when we're feeling like a shell of our former, well-rested self?


Accept The Situation

As with all travesties, there is nothing that can be done about what has already happened. Instead of spiralling from your (likely) already bad, sleep-deprived mood into a full-blown tantrum, breakdown, or rage, tell yourself that it's okay to be tired today.


Stick To Your Routine

Although it can be tempting (especially on the weekend) to lie in and catch the extra zzz's, this is likely to send our body clocks out of whack, which means your routine goes out the window for that evening, and more bad sleeps will follow (especially if your bedtime shifts by a few hours and you still have to be up at 6am on Monday).


Walk Into the (Natural) Light

Exposing our bodies to sunlight tells our circadian rhythms that it's time to wake up. Although you might feel crappy, the natural energy boost from sunlight exposure means that you'll have a little more fuel than expected through the important moments of your day, especially whilst at work. Our circadian rhythms ebb and flow, and you are likely going to find an energy high around 11am (although the post-lunch dip may be a little dippier than usual today... so it's worth preparing yourself for this too.)


Don't Be Tempted to Over-Stimulate

Sticking to your routine also means making sure you don't overcompensate for the marginal boost you may feel in the short term by consuming extra sugar or caffeine. Although it's tempting to top yourself up with energy drinks/coffee/tea/biscuits more than usual today, caffeine has a half life of around 6 hours, so if you have a coffee at 3pm, that means only half of that caffeine will have left your system by 9pm (and it's a slippery slope from there). Stick to your usual caffeine routine, and you'll thank yourself later.


Give Yourself a Break

We should never be too hard on ourselves, especially when we're cranky from a bad night's sleep. There's happiness to be found in accepting that the tasks we were hoping to complete just ain't gonna happen today. The inability to be productive can feel like a nightmare for some of us, so take the time to get all the mundane tasks you were putting off done instead. Your brain will thank you for not pushing it too hard in its fragile state, and tomorrow you'll be so much happier in the knowledge that your work/life admin has been ticked off the list.


Treat Yo'Self

When you've accepted that today was probably a productive write-off, it's time to make the most of it. Get into your cosiest PJs, make yourself a herbal tea, curl up somewhere comfy with a book or your favourite TV show, and indulge in a bit of self-care before bedtime. Most importantly, remember that tomorrow is a brand new day.


Further Reading

Benefits of Sleep

Circadian Rhythms

Half Life of Caffeine