The Cold Penguin

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How to function with little sleep

on February 19, 2014

The past few nights have been less than restful for me.  I’ve been going on very little sleep for three nights and definitely starting to get a little irritable.  But I still find ways to function during the day, to my surprise, and actually get things done!

Sunday night: the husband was snoring.  My normal tricks to get him to stop (sighing loudly, bouncing around in the bed) did not work.
Monday night: a very loud alarm going non-stop for 5 hours straight!!  We live near a shopping center which contains a grocery store.  Apparently some of the refrigerators were losing power in the store, which prompted the alarm.  I called the store non-stop, we called 911 to report the alarm, and even went so far as to go over and knock on the doors and ask the cleaning crew what was going on, but nothing worked.  The alarm blared and kept us awake from midnight to 5am.
Tuesday night: one heck of a thunderstorm from 2 to 3am.  It was so loud the nearly deaf dog was a wreck!


So here I am, Wednesday, powering on, because life doesn’t stop because you didn’t get a good nights sleep.  But there are a few helpful things I do on a tired, sleepy, bed-calling day:

  • Eat healthy!  Usually when I’m tired I want sugar, sugar and more sugar.  Sugar gives you a quick energy burst so it’s natural for your body to crave it when you are tired.  But after the brief energy surge, you crash and begin to crave more sugar.  It’s a vicious process that gets a lot of us in trouble with our diets and waistlines.  So instead of reaching for the candy jar, pastas, breads and cookies, I add extra nutrition to my meals.  A fruit and veggie filled smoothie for breakfast, a side of veggies and piece of fruit with my sandwich at lunch, and you guessed it, more veggies with dinner.  These extra nutrients really give me a boost of energy without the crash or harm to my waist!


  • Watch the caffeine intake.  I am a caffeine girl and regularly consume it.  On days like today I want to just put an IV of caffeine straight into my veins.  But I make sure I do not go overboard with caffeine and drink too much.  I may allow myself a little extra than normal (maybe one serving more), but that’s it.  Caffeine can definitely put a hamper on your sleep patterns and is very addictive, so you want to make sure you don’t drink too much, especially if sleepiness is a daily thing for you!


  • Water!  Drink water.  We all know it’s good for you, keeps your body running well, and boosts your energy.  Make sure you are not swapping your water for caffeine.water


  • Exercise.  This may sound counterproductive, but I definitely still make sure I exercise on days when I’m exhausted.  Depending on how tired I am, I may take it lighter than normal or do something that requires less coordination than usual (do not want to hurt myself because I fell asleep during my box jumps!) but I always move.  Exercise increases your endorphins and gives you energy.  I really do feel much better after a good exercise bout!


  • Stay positive.  It’s easy to be in a bad mood when you are tired, but you’ll get through the day much easier if you stay positive.  Surround yourself with upbeat music, happy sights and good people.  Think about something you are looking forward to and don’t focus on the things you dread.  It’s amazing how much more energetic you are with a positive attitude!positive


  • Get outside.  Fresh air energizes all of us.


  • Keep busy, but go slowly.  When I’m really tired, if I sit around on the couch watching tv then I will quickly become even more tired and come close to passing out (or I actually do fall asleep!).  And for me napping just makes the day that much harder because I want to stay asleep and not get up and do the rest of my day.  So I keep busy.  If I have some free time, I do simple tasks that are on my to-do list at my own pace.  So it may take me twice as long to dust the living room, pay bills or make a grocery list, but that’s ok.  It keeps my brain active and keeps it from going into hibernation mode.

What are your tips for functioning with little sleep?

Have a good night everyone!



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