It’s no secret that insufficient sleep will wreak havoc on your productivity, attention, and mental capacity in general. That’s why it’s so important to know how to fake your way through work and dupe your boss into thinking you’re perfectly fine the next day.
You already know how to make it look like you’re working. Here’s what you can do to make the act even more convincing:
1. Wake Up
Seriously. Even if you set your alarm less than an hour ago, snoozing is only going to make things worse. Sleeping later than usual will mess with your body’s schedule, making it harder to get enough rest from naps later in the day as well as the following night. "The worst mistake I see my sleep-deprived insomnia patients make is staying in bed in the morning to try to reach the magic eight hours," Dr. Chad Ruoff, a clinical professor of psychiatric at the Stanford University Sleep Center, told The Huffington Post.
2. Drink Water
If you’re running on fumes, remember to refuel. When you don’t get enough sleep, it is extremely important to hydrate — early and frequently. This doesn’t necessarily mean chugging water from the time your alarm goes off until your day ends; there’s a range of different foods you can incorporate into your diet to get all the water you need. Here are five:
- Iceberg lettuce (Water content: 95.6 percent)
- Cucumber (Water content: 96.7 percent)
- Green peppers (Water content: 93.9 percent)
- Water melon (Water content: 91.5 percent)
- Baby carrots (Water content: 90.4 percent)
“One easy, anytime check of hydration levels is urine color,” Dr. Arthur Agatston, director of Wellness & Prevention at Baptist Health South Florida, writes. “The darker it is, the more likely you're dehydrated. It's a more accurate measure of hydration than thirst.”
You know how experts advise against electronics with brightly lit screens before bed? This can work to your advantage on a day like this. But rather than dragging your laptop or tablet around, go big — look out the window, keep your eyes on the sky, and get plenty of sunlight if the weather is decent.
“Blue more than any other color in the spectrum triggers a photoreceptor in the eye which causes a biochemical reaction, reducing production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin,” Dr. Bert Jacobson, a sleep researcher at Oklahoma State University, told Men’s Health.
4. Use Coffee Wisely
Coffee may be a given after a sleepless night, but don’t overdo it. Although caffeine doesn’t necessarily promote dehydration, drinking too much of it may lead to headaches, nervousness, and discomfort in general.
“High consumption of unfiltered coffee (boiled or espresso) has been associated with mild elevations in cholesterol levels,” Dr. Donald Hensrud of the Mayo Clinic writes. “And some studies found that two or more cups of coffee a day can increase the risk of heart disease in people with a specific — and fairly common — genetic mutation that slows the breakdown of caffeine in the body.”
That said, a well-timed cup does carry several benefits for the sleep deprived. For example, overall cognitive function appears to improve with moderate caffeine consumption. And although it might not be a priority when you’re just trying to get by, the risk of serious health complications like Parkinson’s disease and liver cancer appears to drop with regular coffee consumption.
Sorry. But exercise promotes optimal blood circulation, and optimal blood circulation promotes attention. According to Dr. William Kohler, a researcher at the Florida Sleep Institute, a few pushups or laps around the building will also boost alertness by releasing adrenaline.
This doesn’t have to be a big deal. In fact, a study from California State University, Long Beach, found that a brief walk may be enough to get you energized. “The more a person walks has a very real and immediate psychological effect that an individual can experience every day,” lead author Robert Thayer said.
Physical activity will not only alleviate symptoms of sleep deprivation — it will make sure you get a good night sleep when you’re day is done.