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How to recover from a bad nights sleep

I hear you. You're not sleeping well. Maybe you've stayed up too late, just can't fall sleep, or are waking up and can't get back to sleep. While you may be inclined to guzzle 8 coffees or scoff a packet of biscuits, there are other things to make sure this one bad night doesn't wreak havoc on your day and your rest going forward.

Obviously there's no replacement for a quality night's sleep.  Without sleep, every system in our body will go into overdrive and eventually lose its ability to function at its best.  Here's some other things you can try to recover from a bad nights sleep; 

Resist the urge to sleep in.

After a night of tossing and turning, it can be tempting to stay in bed a little (or a lot) later than normal. And while getting enough rest is (obviously) very important, so is keeping a sleep routine to ensure your sleep for the next day isn't thrown off. Hitting snooze isn't really doing us any favours, you're better off sticking with your schedule and getting up and out of bed at your normal time, 

Be mindful of caffeinating to compensate.

For many of us, a cup of coffee or tea is how we start every morning, regardless of how we slept. And if you pour yourself a little extra one morning after a rough nights sleep, that's OK—it's when those less than optimal nights get more frequent that you should start looking at how you can improve your sleep instead. If you have just one poor night's sleep, drinking a little caffeine to get a boost for the day won't hurt, but remember, the energy you feel is false (although good)—it's due to the caffeine and not your tank being full.

how to recover from a bad nights sleep

Photo by Matthew Henry

Get moving.

Sitting down all day without taking stretch breaks is never a good idea, but when you're struggling to stay alert, it can make it even harder. Take a moderate paced walk outdoors for 20 minutes, or a slow and mindful walk, or a run if you can. Anything that gets you moving. The combination of the fresh air, natural sunlight, and a bit of exercise should give you a boost to get through an afternoon slump.

Take a nap (but keep it quick).

Studies show one of the "better ways to boost your energy if you don't get a good night's sleep is to find a time during the day to take a 20-minute power nap. This option is better than getting an extra coffee or some sugar because it actually adds to your "sleep bank". Let it go too much longer than 20 minutes, though, and you risk disrupting your sleep another night by resting too much during the day. So stick to 20 minutes. 

Next time you wake up feeling like you barely got to sleep, try these practices to keep the sleepiness at bay—and let me know how you go, I'd love to hear from you. 


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