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Rise and Shine: Seven Ways to Make the Most of a Drowsy Start to Your Day After a Poor Night’s Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for maintaining good health and productivity.

However, sometimes we are unable to sleep well due to various reasons, such as stress, distractions, or overstimulation. A lack of sleep can cause real consequences for high-performing individuals, such as negatively affecting decision-making, productivity, and the immune system. But does a poor night’s sleep need to ruin your entire day? Not really. Here are seven ways to make the most of a drowsy start to the day:

  1. Get light The circadian rhythm responds to light, and waking up with natural sunlight or a lamp will help you feel more alert. Stick to your early morning routine despite the setback, as consistent bedtimes and wake-ups make it easier to fall asleep.
  2. Move Even a little bit of movement can wake up your system and help you stay alert. Exercise quality may be impacted with sleep deprivation, but research suggests a morning workout is beneficial after a bad night’s sleep.
  3. Have a nutritious breakfast Having a breakfast filled with protein and fiber can help you stay energized throughout the day after a poor night’s sleep. Avoid ultra-processed foods, especially right before bed, because they can disrupt digestion and make it harder to fall asleep.
  4. Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol Your regular morning cup of coffee is okay, but beware of drinking too much throughout the day because it can affect your ability to fall asleep the next night. While alcohol may help you fall asleep, it does not help you stay asleep.
  5. Take a breather Taking breaks during a busy workday can help you stay focused on the tasks you need to get done. Consider alternating 20 to 30 minutes of focus time with a five to ten-minute walk around your block or office. Even a 20-minute nap, 5-minute meditation, or breathing exercise can revitalize you.
  6. Ask for help if you need it Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends or colleagues for overly taxing tasks. If possible, push off any tasks requiring major decision-making and stick to the basics.
  7. Stop blaming yourself It’s easy to blame yourself for your poor night’s sleep, but ruminating can keep us awake and alert as our brains search for answers in the middle of the night. Putting pressure on yourself to fall asleep instantly and turn off your brain is often unrealistic, and being anxious about being tired only exacerbates the problem and can make it harder to get a good night’s rest the following day. Give yourself grace. Not every night is going to look the same, but there are ways to control what you can.

A bad night’s sleep is not the end of the world. There are several ways to make the most of a drowsy start to the day. By incorporating some of these tips, you can help yourself feel more alert and energized, even after a poor night’s sleep. Establishing a wind-down routine before you sleep can also be helpful in reducing stress and promoting better sleep. Remember, every night of sleep does not have to be perfect. It’s normal to have a bad night of sleep here and there, so don’t be too hard on yourself.

By: Mrs. S. Malik


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