Not slept all night? I know the feeling. Maybe you’ve not slept a wink, or maybe you’ve slept for just the merest of winks—regardless, you can benefit from a few tricks I’ve garnered over my insomniac filled years. These tips always help to pull me out of bed and get me through the day ahead.
1. Even before you dive into bed, write a list of things that you need to do the next day. This will help to stop you from lying awake all night, thinking about your tasks and (if you’re anything like me) worrying that you’ll forget them the next day.
2. Following on from the above point, keep that notepad to hand. Have a think about what you want to achieve, this week, this month, over the next six months and perhaps even during the next year. Get your pen out and write it all down. Now, when morning does arrive, have a think about what you wrote, and use it to incentivize you to get up and get on started on turning those plans into your reality.
3. Have a wake-up light—I have gone all out and bought a radio alarm clock that has a wake-up light. Let’s face it, 9 times out of 10, I’m awake before my alarm goes off (yes, even at 6 am). However, the fact that my bedroom has a soft light brightening up the room at both ungodly and godly hours makes me feel a lot better than being in a dim room.
4. Use the cold water trick. Pull off your bedclothes (making the bed instantly less appealing), and haul yourself to the bathroom sink. Splash cold water on your face a few times, especially on those puffy eyes.
5. On really bad days, I dab on an eye mask for 10 minutes, then add an eye gel afterward. You could even use the ‘back of a teaspoon’ trick—put teaspoons in the fridge for 10 minutes, then place them on your eyes. This is handy when you have a bit more time on your hands (but if you’re lying awake in bed for hours then you may as well get up and do it anyway).
6. If you’re at all like me, you’ll be motivated by breakfast. Ideally, you’ll have everything you need in your kitchen. I’m a fan of homemade, protein-rich and sugar-free granolas, and overnight oats or smoothies (with all my ingredients stored in the freezer then thrown straight into a blender). If you have nothing of the sort, treat yourself to something shop-bought and healthy instead, like poached eggs or avocado on sourdough.
7. Beyond breakfast, think about the good food you’re going to eat today that’s going to help you function. Your body is tired, so give it good fuel, and therefore supply it with the tools it needs to help it (and you) get through the day. Known energy-boosting foods include nuts and seeds, natural yogurt, salmon, spinach, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes, but they also include things like iron, probiotics and B Vitamins which will help bolster your low immune system.
8. I simple convince myself I feel OK. I can hear you thinking “What?!” but I’m being serious. I’ve been convincing myself for years, and mind over matter is a powerful thing. I tell myself it doesn’t actually matter whether I’ve slept or not—it’s all about how I feel that day. Which is fine if I do feel OK on five hours of broken sleep, but what about when I don’t feel fine at all?
9. If you don’t feel OK, then you know what, that’s fine too. Be kind to yourself—your stress levels are going to be raised, and your organs will be working harder as they’ve not had a chance to have a proper break, so go with it. You want to make sure you’re tired enough to hopefully sleep that night, so (if you have time) plan a 30-minute walk or do a bit of yoga or pilates instead of a high-intensity workout. And if you just can’t do any of those things, then don’t (and don’t beat yourself up about it either).
10. Meditate. Did you know that meditating can put your body into a deeper state of rest than sleeping? Who needs sleep when you can meditate instead! In all seriousness, however, if you can set aside 10-20 minutes first thing in the morning for a meditation session (guided or otherwise), it really can go a long way towards helping you feel like you’ve got out of bed on the right side.
Good luck, let me know how you get on! I’d love to hear if you have any other ideas.