How to Survive the Day on Little to No Sleep

I have never had problems sleeping, but then, throughout my pregnancy, I was plagued with insomnia. Since then, I have become the lightest sleeper on the planet. Any little bump in the night can wake me, and more often than not, that will mean that I’m up for the day at 3 a.m. With an energetic toddler to care for and a thriving career on the line, acting like a zombie is just not an option. Here’s how I manage win the day while running on fumes.

1. Embrace your awakeness.

Sleep and Wake Up at Same Time

I have wasted lots of time wishing I was able to sleep during the early morning hours. Now, I pop up, tie in a top knot and brew a cup of coffee. From there, I launch into something easy, but productive. My first inbox review of the day, shopping for my daughter’s spring wardrobe, selling clothes via my favorite consignment app – anything on my to-do list that needs to be accomplished but doesn’t require peak brain power.

2. Eat something.

Eat

Proactively reaching for a balanced breakfast within one hour of waking means that I’m less likely to crash early. Turkey sausage and egg white on a whole grain English muffin is my go-to, but I also like to whip up some yummy oatmeal with flax and chia, or even toss some pre-mixed frozen fruit and kale into the blender for a smoothie.

3. Step into the light.

Being holed up inside all day won’t do much for your energy levels, so get outside into the natural light for a boost of alertness. If you’re a walker or a runner, even better. Turn up your most favorite podcast and soak up a very productive dose of Vitamin D. Light cardio also triggers adrenaline which can help to set you up for success as you battle your through your sleep-deprived day.

4. Use caffeine wisely.

Coffee

As I noted earlier, I brew coffee immediately upon waking and committing to the day, but abusing caffeine could be causing the very thing I’m trying to avoid. Drinking it too late in the day can disrupt sleep cycles and cause for a super drowsy following day. In order to break this vicious circle, lighten up on the caffeine when you first wake up (try a single shot of espresso or a half-caff drip) limit yourself to 400 mg total (4 regular cups per day), and cut yourself off by 4:00 p.m.

5. Opt for essential oils.

Aromatherapy

There are lots of articles out there that will recommend lying low and indulging in a nap if you can. Naps do me no favors, so in lieu of a snooze, I reach for an essential oil blend that will help me to power through the afternoon slump. If you need clarity and focus, try peppermint and rosemary, and to stimulate energy, try juniper and black pepper.

I hope these tricks help you to power through your next low-energy day. If there’s something that you do to get by on little to no sleep, please share!

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