Did you get less than ideal sleep last night?
Was it a one-off or is this something that occurs regularly?
We're all human.
I've never any person yet who doesn't suffer from the occasional night of poor sleep.
I'm also yet to meet someone who doesn't experience increased stress or pressure from time to time as a result of their career, their family, or other things they care about.
The mechanisms that we use to cope or respond to sleep challenges are REALLY important.
Often, a night of poor sleep can be ameliorated quickly by making choices the next day that support our relaxation and consequently our sleep the following evening.
Sadly, many of our sleep-deprived choices often feed directly into worse sleep the following evening.
How do I personally break the cycle?
Here are 5 tips I'd recommend (whether you're sleeping badly or not).
1. Do not over-caffeinate (especially on coffee) - ie. do not add more stress!
Your nervous system is already stressed from a night of poor sleep - this means that levels of circulating stress hormones are likely high - adding more adrenaline to this situation with an extra coffee is guaranteed to steal your energy from the following day.
Better is to opt for decaf or light caffeine option (tea, matcha, cacao). Better yet is to avoid caffeine altogether and go for a walk outside in natural light to boost your energy levels.
You may need to accept that today will not be your "best day of work" and that's okay!
2. Breathe, meditate or take a binaural beats power nap - ie. reduce stress!
I personally seem to be unable to fall asleep during the day, but that doesn't mean that I don't use the tools available to me to take 'controlled recovery periods' I use either a simple nasal/abdominal breathing exercise, a meditation apps or my personal favourite - binaural beats.
These can all help my body recover during the daytime. You would be surprised what unplugging yourself for 15 minutes can do for your energy and mood when you've slept poorly the night before.
I recommend the following binaural beats recording to all of my clients: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYLLKGkKcm8
Find somewhere quiet to give this a listen and let me know how you feel afterwards in the comments below!
3. Get ample exposure to natural light
Poor sleep suggests to me that your body clock or circadian rhythm is slightly out of sync. Getting outdoors for a walk and to expose your naked eyeballs to natural light will not only help to tune your clock so that it knows when to wind down the following evening, but this will also help to keep your stress levels lower.
Natural light exposure will support the body to produce dopamine and endorphins - these can help to combat the low mood/tiredness/fatigue associated with a night of poor sleep.
4. Avoid artificial light and technology (especially that night)
If you're tired but wired the worst thing you can do the following evening is to stare into bright (especially blue) artificial light. After sunset on a night like this, you'd really benefit from turning the lights off early and reading a book.
If you can't avoid technology, you really must filter the artificial light coming from your TV/devices/home lighting using tools such as blue light blocking glasses or Iris, otherwise, you're working directly against your sleep due to the fact that artificial light blocks your brain's ability to produce the melatonin you need to get your sleep back on track.
5. Avoid vigorous or intense exercise, especially in the evening
Exercise and movement are essential for health and they make us feel good, but they're also a stressor on the body.
If you're experiencing increased stress due to poor sleep then it's better to perform 'working in' activities such as breathwork, meditation, yoga or simple stretching as opposed to 'working out'.
Adding petrol from intense exercise (in the form of adrenaline/cortisol) to an already raging fire caused by poor sleep will only keep the circle spinning.
These are just a few of my suggestions and some of the main issues I see for my clients.
Can you comment below on your favourite way to support your health after a night of poor sleep?