How to Survive A Job You Hate (and get through the day!)
How to Get Through the Day on Less Than Four Hours of Sleep
Some people are born with a gene, called the hDEC2 gene that allows them to function on about 6.25 hours of sleep.These “short sleepers” can maintain a much shorter sleep cycle than others and get by just fine without yawning or falling asleep during the day. But for most of us, getting by on 4 hours of sleep can be a challenge. A bad night’s sleep, followed by a long day at work or in class, can lead to being over tired and under prepared. With the right coping mechanisms, you can get through your day without falling asleep at the table.
Coping with Lack of Sleep
Do wake up exercises.Get your body moving by doing at least two to three wake up exercises. Go for a short run, walk, jog, or do basic stretching moves. Exercising will raise your core body temperature and release hormones and endorphins in your body, which will boost your energy.
- Do an upper-body fan stretch. Lie on your back with your arms outstretched at your sides and your palms facing up. Bring your knees up to your chest and roll to the your right side. Your knees should be stacked on top of each other and your hips should be stacked.
- Turn your head to the left. Try to keep both shoulders touching the floor. Sweep your left palm in a 180-degree arc over your chest to touch your right palm. Let your head follow your arm. Then slowly reverse the movement.
- Repeat this stretch 10 times, then switch sides and repeat it on the other side.
- Do gentle crunches. Lie face up and bend your knees. Keep your feet planted on the floor. Press your palms on the floor, near your hips. Squeeze your abs and lift both of your shoulder blades off the floor.
- Hold the crunch for a full breath and then lower. Repeat this movement 10 to 15 times. Be sure to take a full breath as you hold each crunch.
- Do basic squats. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your toes facing forward. Extend your arms in front of you, with your palms facing each other. Keep your weight in your heels as you sit back and down, as if sitting in a chair.
- Make sure your knees do not extend beyond your toes. Hold the squat for a full breath and then return to standing. Repeat this movement for 5 to 10 breaths.
Take a wake up shower.At the end of your normal shower, do a quick wake up trick. Switch the tap to very cold water for 30 seconds, then very hot water for 30 seconds, and then very cold water for 30 seconds. This 90 second change to your shower can help you feel refreshed and energized for the day.
Have energy boosting foods.Stay away from heavy carbohydrates like pasta or bread, as these take time for your body to digest and can trigger sleepiness. You should also avoid foods high in artificial sugar, like candy, cakes, or soft drinks, as these can lead to a spike in your blood sugar, followed by a sugar crash and a dip in your energy. Instead, go for foods that will raise your blood sugar and give you energy to get through your day.
- A handful of raw almonds are a good pick-me-up snack, full of Vitamin E and Magnesium. They also contain lots of protein to give you energy throughout the day.
- A bowl of Greek yogurt is packed with protein, but has less lactose and carbohydrates than regular yogurt. It will keep you full, without slowing you down or making you more tired.
- Popcorn is a good snack in the office that is a good source of carbohydrates and is low in calories, especially when it is not smothered in butter.
- Go for a salad full of leafy greens, like spinach or kale, to boost your iron levels. This will make you more alert and improve your concentration levels.
Consume coffee throughout the day.Drinking a cup of coffee can help to combat fatigue and make you feel more alert.Try drinking a cup of coffee once every four hours to help you stay awake.
- You can also have other sources of caffeine, like dark chocolate. The darker the chocolate, the less sugar it contains and the most energy boosting potential it has.Have small pieces of dark chocolate, with no added sugar, throughout the day to stay awake and alert.
Take a 10 to 30 minute nap.Find a quiet space and take a power nap, no longer than 30 minutes. This will prevent you from developing sleep inertia, which is when you feel groggy and disoriented after a nap that goes on for longer than 30 minutes.Naps under 30 minutes will also not interfere with your sleep schedule, allowing you to get a good sleep at night.
- Set an alarm for 30 minutes so your nap doesn’t turn into a 1 hour snooze.
Staying Awake During the Day
Listen to upbeat music.Skip relaxing or soothing music like Classical or smooth jazz. Go for the latest pop tune or an electro-dance mix to keep your toes tapping and your mind alert. Look for upbeat mixes online, some of which last for hours, and turn them up in your headphones.
Have a protein snack.Protein stimulates a neurotransmitter in your brain called orexin. Orexin regulates arousal, wakefulness, and appetite in your body. Having protein snacks throughout the day will stimulate your brain and keep your body up and alert.
- Go for healthy protein snacks like a handful of almonds, peanuts, or cashews. Rice crackers, cheese, and sliced turkey and ham is also a more filling protein snack.
- Fruit high in fiber, like apples, and natural sugars, like oranges, are also good snacks to keep you awake and alert.
Turn the lights up.Light will keep your melatonin levels down, which causes sleepiness, and keep your eyes open despite your lack of sleep. Try to balance a bright overhead light with a low light at your desk.
Go for a quick walk or stretch every 30 minutes.Doing light exercise every 30 minutes will keep your body and mind active, especially if you have been sitting at a desk in front of a computer. Walk to a park nearby or do a few laps around the block. More vigorous exercise like a quick run or sprint can also keep your hormone levels up and ensures you don't fall asleep during the day.
Getting Through Your Work Day
Reorganize your schedule, if possible.Rather than try to tackle all of your tasks for the day at once, adjust your schedule so your more important appointments are at the start of your day. If you are sleep deprived, you will likely try to maintain a higher level of energy in the morning and feel burned out by the end of the day. Create a schedule where you prioritize the important tasks first, while you still have energy.
- If you cannot reorganize your schedule, plan on a nap break or a caffeine break between meetings or tasks so you can stay awake and alert.
Delegate your tasks for the day.If you have other co-workers or peers who can sympathize with your lack of sleep, try to delegate some of your responsibilities for the day. Explain your situation and promise an IOU in exchange for help on a project or task. This will allow you to manage any stress or anxiety due to lack of sleep, and focus on only one or two tasks for the day.
Take a break from your normal routine.In an energy slump, it may help to switch to an activity that you enjoy doing or feel relaxed doing. Going through the motions of your day will likely make you more tired and drowsy. Instead, go for a quick walk outside or have a coffee break with a coworker. Jolting your brain out of your normal routine will keep you alert and ready to tackle the rest of your day.
Engage your peers during meetings or in classes.If you feel you are in danger of falling asleep during a meeting or during a class, push yourself to work the room. Ask questions of your peers or your clients, raise your hand during class, and try to stay engaged in the conversation. Getting involved in the discussion will help you stay alert, and force your brain to stay focused.
- As well, if you were planning to present a 50 slide Powerpoint presentation at a meeting, try to engage your co-workers in conversation during the presentation. Otherwise, you might end up putting yourself and others in the room right to sleep with a dry, slides only meeting.
QuestionHow can I wake up early at 5 AM?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerSet a loud alarm somewhere where you need to get up and walk to it to turn it off.Thanks!
QuestionI go to sleep at 1 am and wake up at about 4:30 am. I have a couple of tough years in college and I can't stay alert and awake in my morning classes. What should I do during the short breaks to be active?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou really have to sleep more. Of course you won't be able to stay alert if you consistently sleep so little, and more importantly, you'll be at very high risk of developing serious mental and/or physical illness. It's not worth it. Find a way to reorganize your life so that you can get the sleep you need - whether that means taking fewer classes at a time, dropping some activity, or whatever else. In the meantime, during your breaks, you can get up and stretch and/or walk around, or talk to someone.Thanks!
QuestionI fell asleep at 5 a.m., and woke up at 7 a.m. Can I go the whole day without being tired?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou will be tired, but keep yourself occupied so you don't get bored and want to go to sleep. Listen to music, watch television or get on a electronic device to keep your mind busy from thinking it's time to go to bed.Thanks!
QuestionHow much should I sleep before an exam?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo different than you should sleep any other night. You should sleep 9-11 hours a night if you're a child, 8-10 if you're a teenager, 7-9 if you're an adult. Ideally, you do this consistently, not only the night before an exam; the negative effects of sleep deprivation add up over time. And sleeping too much isn't good for you either.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if I have only 4 hours to sleep?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can try to take short power naps throughout the day. You can also try to listen to music, or consume things with caffeine in them to feel more energetic.Thanks!
QuestionIs 5 hours of sleep good enough for the body?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo. 7 hours is the minimum required for most adults to function fully and avoid physical and mental deterioration over time (8 hours for teenagers, 9 hours for children). If it's a one-time thing, it's not a big deal, but you should not sleep so little consistently.Thanks!
QuestionI watched a scary movie and now I haven't slept in over 30 hours! What should I do to stay awake while doing homework?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTalk to your parents. They may be able to contact a teacher and explain your situation, so you can turn in your homework a day late. Or, your parents might let you stay home from school for one day so you can catch up on sleep and then do your homework, turning it in the next day.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I get over my insomnia?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerSee a doctor or therapist to see if there could be an underlying cause of your insomnia. In the meantime, try drinking hot tea and reading, watching a boring television show, or other soothing activities to relax before bed.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I get through the day when my heart is racing?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTake deep breaths. Inhale for three seconds, hold for two, and exhale for five seconds. Do this until your heart rate slows down.Thanks!
QuestionWhat do I do if I feel tired even after sleeping a number of hours?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerGet the blood pumping a little! Try a fitness video, like Zumba, or just run around the block.Thanks!
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