February 14, 2017

Getting Through the Day on 4.5 Hours of Sleep

My flight to Florida last night landed at 11:45pm, at which point I had to go get my rental car and then drive 90 minutes up I-95, check into my hotel, and finally crash into bed. To stay awake on the drive, I blasted a lot of Lady Gaga and sang along at the top of my lungs… which worked surprisingly well. But when I got checked in, washed up, and got into bed?

I don’t even know why I’m surprised by this anymore.

I finally got to sleep around 2am, and was exhausted when I woke up after only getting 4.5 hours of sleep last night. But I remembered reading an article last week on six things to help you get through the day when you got zero sleep, and pulled it up to try to follow it to a tee. The verdict? I’m actually not feeling all that terrible! Here’s how my checklist went.

1. Don’t hit snooze – check.
I am not much of a snoozer; once an alarm wakes me up, I’m pretty much up for good (though sometimes I’ll lie in bed for five minutes and check my email before I actualy get up). Today, though, my alarm went off and I was so disoriented. My hotel room blackout curtain wouldn’t stay completely shut to block out all the light, and when my Fitbit alarm buzzed, I groggily got out of bed and stormed over the window to figure out a solution to shut the curtain once and for all. It was only after I climbed back into bed that I realized my alarm had, in fact, gone off, and I needed to get up. I felt terrible, kind of nauseous and exhausted, but I did it.

2. Eat breakfast – check
Had a protein bar when I got to the office, and forced myself to say no when a coworker offered to pick me up a delicious chia/oatmeal concoction that we like. (More on that in #4.) This article didn’t talk much about it, but I know that you tend to eat a lot more when you’re tired, so I wanted to make sure I started my day with a light breakfast rather than getting in an indulgent mindset from the get-go. I also grabbed a deliciously healthy lunch – chicken curry salad from 3 Natives.

This is quickly becoming my go-to healthy food spot in Florida!

3. Tackle important work early – check
I got out an important report within an hour of getting into the office, and also made a lot of progress on a shell for our final deliverable. Admittedly, that last piece didn’t get accomplished until the end of the day, but overall, I was a lot more productive than I expected to be on so little sleep.

4. Watch out for sugar cravings – check
When my coworker offered to pick me up an oatmeal/chia/coconut milk bowl from this awesome nutrition bar down the street, I really wanted to take her up on it… but resisted. I knew from this list that sugar was a bad idea, and I know from previous experience that if I started my day with sugar, I’d keep craving it the rest of the day. Later, we went for a coffee break at Dunkin Donuts and another coworker got a delicious-looking Valentine’s donut… and I managed to resist. Hooray!

How adorable is this donut though??? Dunkin Donuts had all kinds of special holiday designs.

5. Get moving – check
YES! Remember how I forced myself to get down to the gym? I told myself that even running one mile would be good… but I ended up running longer than expected. I started at an 8:00 pace, then increased the pace every half mile up until I got to 2.5 miles, at which point I kicked it up to a 6:40 pace for the last half mile. I felt pretty good the whole time, which surprised me, and I was proud that I managed to keep getting progressively faster rather than backing down. I’d like to do this workout on another day when I’m rested, and see if I can start it at a 7:30 pace and keep getting faster.

Average running pace: 7:36/mile. Not exactly pushing it, but I will definitely take it on such little sleep!

6. Don’t overdo it on coffee – ehhhhh, not so much a check
I normally only drink decaf, but today I got a large iced coffee that was caffeinated, and it turns out that Dunkin Donuts’ large is really large. Whoops! Unfortunately, didn’t stop me from drinking the whole thing. But hopefully one iced coffee isn’t breaking the caffeine bank 🙂

So… five out of six isn’t bad, and I think these tips really helped. I am still feeling pretty good, and going to try to sneak in a Daily Burn workout before dinner and bedtime. Since I’ve had so much insomnia lately, my thinking is that another good sweat will help me sleep well tonight. Here’s hoping!


6 thoughts on “Getting Through the Day on 4.5 Hours of Sleep”

  1. So you pulled the rabbit out of the hat on a day that didn’t bode well for you….sleep deprivation is not your friend! 🙂

  2. Great article!
    Just wanted to give my top 3 insomnia-busting tips!
    1 – Meditate – as much or as little as you have time for. It helps me too calm my mind before sleeping.
    2 – Yoga & Cardio Exercise – I can’t sleep without raising my heart rate for at least 30 mins per day.
    3 – Avoid Social Media – You know it’s true…haha! Living your life waiting for “likes” is the best way to increase stress and affect your sleep!!!
    Hope this helps some of your readers.
    Keep up the great work!

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