Did you ever have one of the mornings where you woke up miserable after having a good night’s sleep hijacked by your thoughts that swirled around in your head like a gaggle of geese on a meth bender?
Your feet hitting the floor as you begrudgingly roll your ass out of bed is similar to Godzilla making landfall in Tokyo, where you’re ready to burn the city to the ground over one minor inconvenience – your lesser half left the toilet seat up (again, mother f*cker!), your dog won’t give an inch of space, there’s no coffee creamer, or you realized that the outfit you wanted to wear for your meeting has been sitting in the washing machine for 3 days because you forgot to switch the laundry. Ugh.
We may not be able to see each other, but I know you feel me on this one.
Here are a few things that you can do to overcome a bad night’s sleep without ripping someone’s face off.
Adjust your attitude and don’t freak out.
I won’t sugarcoat it. Your day will probably suck, but the reality is that the occasional night of poor or non-existent sleep won’t kill you.
Start by accepting and even forgiving last night’s sleeplessness and today’s sleepiness. Judging yourself for poor sleep and leaning into your irritability will only further sap your energy. Treat it as ‘just a bad night’ and don’t dwell on it. Humans have good resilience to occasional sleep loss and your body will naturally compensate for it.
Get your caffeine fix.
Let’s get this one out of the way now because it might be the burning question that you care most about – can I have my coffee?!
Yes, you can. But don’t overdo it. Truth is two cups of coffee will give you about as much alertness as you’re going to get from it. Any more than that? It could make you feel anxious or jittery – and that’s not the result that we want.
Simplify your day.
You are a living, breathing, thing and you’re programmed to go through cycles of energy and rest throughout the day. This happens even after a good night’s sleep, but the bad night is definitely going to have you lean more into wanting to rest – that’s okay. Go with it.
This might be the one instance where I’ll say procrastination is okay. It makes sense to minimize any and all non-essential activities. Get clear on your objectives for the day and let yourself put off until tomorrow anything that doesn’t absolutely need to be done today.
Make sunlight a priority.
Get out into the daylight for at least 10-15 minutes as early in the day as possible. Morning light energizes us and improves our mood by boosting serotonin levels. It also resets our circadian clock, contributing to better sleep in the future.
Can’t get outside? Brighten your indoor space as much as possible by allowing light through windows and turning on electric lights.
Want even more benefits of light exposure? Go for a walk to get some physical activity. It will also help to stimulate alertness.
Catch a few zzz’s with a power nap.
Don’t dismiss the benefits of a good nap! If you can, squeeze in a 15–20-minute siesta. Take your nap in the middle of the day, between 12-2 PM, to avoid a negative impact on your sleep cycle. This short snooze will give you the recharge that you need to make the rest of the day suck less.
Wind down at the end of the day.
Congratulations! You made it through your shitty, sleepy day! Way to go champ!
Now for the easy part. Take time to relax in the evening. Eat a light dinner and stick to your regular bedtime.
Looking for the silver lining? Your chances of sleeping better the night after a bad night’s sleep are improved because absence does, indeed, make the heart grow fonder.