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10 ways to function on very little sleep

Try these 10 techniques for you to function well despite not having enough sleep the night before.
By Murray Newlands |


No matter the culprit, we’ve all had those nights when we don't get enough sleep. So, what’s person to do when that alarm clock annoyingly goes off in the morning? Aside from drinking caffeine (in moderation), try these 10 other techniques in order to function on that suboptimal amount of sleep you had the night before.


Related: Sleep deprivation is killing you and your career


1. Drink lots of water.

We get fatigued when we’re dehydrated. So, the more water we drink, the more alert and wake we feel. Besides, drinking all of that water requires more restroom breaks, which in turn is a simple way to be more active and not fall asleep at the desk.



2. Get your blood moving.

Speaking of being active, a workout is a great way to wake up. Exercise boosts energy and adrenaline levels through circulation and a speed-up to your metabolism. And those changes should help you survive the day. Exercise will also help you sleep better at night.




3. Cut back on large meals.

Avoid eating large meals, junk food or a ton of carbohydrates. Those types of foods will make you drowsy. Instead, munch on a series of lighter meals that are lean and contain plenty of proteins: specifically, foods that contain tyrosine.


Related: This is your brain on not enough sleep (Infographic)


reading a book

4. Go outside.

Sunlight helps you battle afternoon sleepiness because it increases the levels of vitamins D and B. On top of that, sunlight in moderation will improve your mood, help you focus and give your immune system a little boost, which is needed because you put your immune system in danger when you don’t get enough sleep.



5. Take a cold shower.

A cold shower stimulates your body, and the sudden shock will often help wake you up. Of course, you may not be able to take a cold shower multiple times throughout the day.




6. Change things up.

Monotony won't help you stay awake. Throughout the day, change things up so you have some variety to keep you going.


7. Have a piece of gum.

Researchers have discovered that chewing gum can reduce sleepiness, probably because it enhances cerebral activity. If you want to get the most out of your gum-chewing experience, stick with mint-flavored gum because mint has more of a rousing effect.



8. Prioritize and simplify your day.

When you’re tired, you probably aren’t at your most productive. So, why would you stress yourself out and try to complete ten different tasks? Chances are, you can get away with shaving down that list by crossing off your most important ones and leaving items that can wait until another day. In other words, simplify your day as much as possible.



9. Avoid driving.

Driving when you’re tired is extremely dangerous. Instead of taking this risk, rely on public transportation or carpooling.



10. Take a catnap.

If you’re able to, take a catnap in the early afternoon—around 2 p.m. Taking a 20-to-25-minute nap is a great way to recharge your mind and body. If you aren’t fortunate to work in a place with quiet areas or don’t have your own office, be creative.


Related: To really shine at work, how much sleep is required?



Copyright 2015 Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.
This article originally appeared on Minor edits have been done by the editor.


Photos from Flickr (fesign, Ryhan Mohamed, and Berit K. Prohaszka)

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