Feel Rested on too Little Sleep
by Mommy MD Guide Jennifer Hanes, DO
Getting enough sleep is one of the best ways to ensure good health. For most of us, that means eight full hours. But sometimes, that just isn’t possible. For the RARE occasion that sleep time is cut short, try these tips.
1 – If you know you are going to be short on sleep, stay as well hydrated as possible. This means drinking 8-10 glasses of water each day. Dehydration is a common cause of fatigue, you don’t need that adding to your sleep deprivation.
2 - Avoid junk food. When tired, we naturally gravitate towards those foods that may provide a quick burst of energy, but in the end, that sugar spike will plummet back down leaving you feeling even more groggy than before.
3 – Minimize your decisions. This sounds unrelated, but the more decisions we make in a day, the more mental fatigue sets in. Some research has estimated we only have about 200 before we become tired. If there is any aspect of your daily decisions you can delegate, do so. From eating the same meals to avoid the endless menu choices, to deferring any emails back a day to allow you to get rest, preserving this mental prowess will help keep you alert.
4 – Meditate for ten minutes. This can mean sitting in a quiet place, but it could also be a 10-minute walk outside. Turn off the “to-do” list in your head and simply focus on the sound of your breath or the cadence of your footsteps. It will help to reset and recharge your body and mind.
5 – This last tip is my secret weapon against fatigue and sleep deprivation. However, it should be reserved for the seldom occasion, like when traveling or staying up with a sick child. If I know that I need to be awake in less then four hours, I first drink a huge glass of water just before bed. Not only does this help me to be hydrated when I wake, but the distention of the bladder helps one to wake up more easily. Next, just before I fall asleep I take a multi-vitamin that contains caffeine (these are often labelled as “energy formula” but it is always smart to check with your doctor or pharmacist first). The vitamin helps ensure proper nutrients for the following day and the caffeine is in full swing when I wake up in the morning.
Of course, the best way to avoid fatigue is ensuring proper sleep each and every night. Tips on that, coming soon.
What are your tips for sleep?