1. Use caffeine . . . with caution. Although it’s not a great solution to chronic insomnia, caffeine can help offset many effects of sleep deprivation in the short term. Its jolt is great for getting you moving in the morning, and another boost at lunchtime will make the afternoon bearable. Just avoid any heavily caffeinated beverages past midafternoon, or it could affect another night’s sleep.
2. Trust your team. Air crews, hospital workers, and other 24-hour professions understand the realities of fatigue and the importance of the team. Some members rest while others are working, and then rotate so that there are always fresh people working. So don’t be afraid to let your sleepy self seek support from coworkers, whether that means picking up some of your tasks or reviewing your work to catch any errors. It’s what teamwork is all about.
3. Take it easy. And take a nap! Lack of sleep means you are far more likely to make errors as you try to push through a busy workday. Look at the day’s tasks and determine what can and can’t wait. Routine tasks will be the easiest; let the phrase I could do that in my sleep be your guide. Try not to tackle anything new or difficult. If you are in a situation where this is not feasible, use your break or lunch period to get some rest. Even a 20-minute nap can enhance your effectiveness for the rest of the day.
4. Feed your fatigue. Your weary brain may be encouraging you to reach for sugar-laden, high-carb snacks. These empty calories will only cause you to feel even more tired in the long run. Instead, opt for lean proteins and whole grains to help steady both your blood sugar and your energy levels.
5. Stay active. It may be the last thing you want to do when you feel groggy, but exercise is one of the best ways to boost low energy. A brisk walk or moderate workout can keep you alert for several hours after you stop exercising. You’ll feel even better if you do it outdoors, where the natural light will support your circadian rhythms, which will help you get back to your normal sleep schedule.
Sources: hbr.com, NBC Today