10 Strategies for Managing the Day After a Bad Night’s Sleep
Published in The Huffington Post
Most everybody has experienced at least a night or two of poor sleep. And many millions of us do so on a regular basis. A bad night’s sleep can leave us feeling anxious about making it through the next day. Will we have the energy, the focus, and the emotional wherewithal to do so? Is it even possible to have a good day after a bad night?
Yes, it is. I’ve frequently been surprised by people reporting okay days after seriously sleepless nights. In large part, this is a testament to the human capacity for resilience. But it’s also a direct result of using sensible strategies to manage the day after.
1. Adjust your attitude. Begin by accepting and even forgiving last night’s sleeplessness and today’s sleepiness. Judging yourself about poor sleep will only further sap your energy. Can you think of a time when you or someone you know did all right despite little sleep? Stay open to that possibility. Let family, friends, or coworkers know you had a rough night and ask for their support.
2. Go with the flow… and slow with the ebb. Like all living things, humans are biologically programmed to ebb and flow through cycles of energy and rest throughout the day. Our energy levels will naturally fluctuate even after a good night’s sleep. And, of course, these fluctuations will be more pronounced after a challenging night. Use energy when it flows and let yourself slow and rest when it ebbs. Resisting or actively battling waves of tiredness will only squander more of the limited energy we have. When we yield to our need for rest, we’ll likely experience a refreshing buoyancy.
3. Plan to procrastinate. When our energy is compromised, it makes sense to minimize any and all non-essential activity. Get clear on your objectives for the day and let yourself put off until tomorrow anything that doesn’t absolutely need to be done today. Yes… this is a day when procrastination can actually be helpful. As Ellen DeGeneres once said, “Procrastinate now — don’t put it off!”