6 Tips for the Day After a Bad Night's Sleep

From the WebMD Archives


2. Don't Rely on Sugar

When you're sleep deprived, you may be tempted to reach for a candy bar. Don't.

Sugar will give you quick energy. It doesn't last, though, and you'll just end up crashing later, Breus says.

Instead, stick to a balanced diet and put extra emphasis on protein-rich foods like nuts and lean meats, he says. Also, avoid large meals and simple carbohydrates, like having pasta for lunch, to avoid energy dips.

Breus suggests eating a salad with grilled chicken, or another lean protein, like fish with veggies for lunch and dinner.

For breakfast, Durmer suggests eating protein-rich foods like eggs and plain Greek yogurt. If you have a sweet tooth, choose fruit, not a doughnut. The natural sugar in fruit takes longer to digest than table sugar and won't make your blood sugar swing as much, Durmer says.

3. Take Breaks

After a bad night's sleep, your attention span may drag a little more than usual. To keep focused, take breaks throughout the day, Durmer says.

  • Go for a walk outdoors. You'll get sunlight along with activity. "Movement stimulates alertness in the brain, and sunlight provides your body with natural cues to promote wakefulness," Durmer says.
  • When you exercise, take it easy. Keep it light or moderate, not vigorous, when you're exhausted. You're much more likely to get injured if you do hard exercise when you're fatigued, Walsleben says.
  • Take a brief nap, if you have time. Napping up to 25 minutes will help recharge your body and mind, Breus says. Napping longer than that will make you drowsier than you already are. For a supercharged nap, Breus suggests a "nap-a-latte." Drink a cup of iced drip coffee as fast as you can then take a 25-minute nap and you'll be good to go "for at least four hours," he says. That way you'll reap all the benefits of a short nap, but wake up just in time for the caffeine to kick in.