Last night was hell. One of those painfully slow, 8-hour frustration marathons that come along now and again. Every single indentation and discoloration on that ceiling has been analyzed a hundred times over. Every restless twist and turn cursed enthusiastically. But now it’s over. Light is streaming through the curtains and it’s time to face the music. This is how you survive the day after a sleepless night. 

When sleep doesn’t come, how will you deal with the day after? When all those tricks, tips and smart sleep hacks have made no difference, what will you do to manage the consequences? We’re not going to pull the wool over your eyes – the next 16 or so hours are going to be a slog. At the same time, there is hope. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

You are what you eat

For many, the answer to a sleepless night involves going to the other extreme. The chain of thought goes something like this – I’m totally beat so I need quick energy. What’s the best way to get quick energy? Big breakfast. Now, this idea is about 180 degrees off of being smart. Starting this particular morning with a pile of pancakes, bacon and eggs drowned in maple syrup is going to put you flat on your back. Today is all about small, regular meals and slow release carbs. Porridge for breakfast and plenty of fresh fruit and water to get you through till lunch is a good idea. And don’t be tempted to indulge at lunchtime either, unless your boss is OK with the concept of the siesta.

Travel smart

Breakfast is done. So far, so good. Now it’s time to face the world. Another great tip for getting through this day is thinking about how you take yourself to your place of work or study. If you usually drive, ask yourself if this is really necessary. Is today really the best day to experience the stress of early morning traffic? Doesn’t a nice, calm bus or train ride sound better? If this is an option, go for it! You’ll arrive at work in better shape.

Let there be light

OK – you’re at work, but as the morning progresses, you feel last night’s drama starting to catch up with you. Before you run to the coffee machine, can we suggest a healthier option to the fleeting stimulation offered by caffeine? Getting out into the sun or outdoors, even for a few minutes, can give your system a real kick. After 10 minutes basking in those rays and soaking up that vitamin D, you’ll feel rejuvenated. If this isn’t an option, scour your surroundings for a UV light.

Don’t ‘release the beast’

Afternoon is here and your nerves are starting to feel shredded again. Constant clock-watching is only making time seem like it’s stood still. Something’s gotta give. Or does it? Releasing all that fatigue-based rage might seem an attractive option, but frankly it’s not. A public meltdown depletes your energy levels (and let’s face it, these are already pretty low) as well as creating guilty vibes. Do you really need these today? I thought not. Take a deep breath, count backwards from 50 to 0, adopt the Lotus position – whatever it takes. Your friends, colleagues, family, random guy in the street will thank you for it.

Save martyrdom for another day

Today of all days, you should be kind to yourself and prioritize your own needs. You may be a selfless, living, breathing saint the other 364 days of the year, but today is about you and ensuring you can make it through this ordeal without becoming a weeping blob of humanity, rolling pitifully on the floor. So, for the next few hours, you’re #1 and everything else is a very distant second. If the kids are hungry, let your partner feed them. If the dog needs walking, the kids can do it to build up their appetite for the meal you’re not going to prepare. If there’s no milk in the refrigerator, don’t go to the store, drink water instead. You get the idea? Don’t be a martyr – martyrdom and extreme tiredness are not compatible.

Don’t be tempted to let your bad habit repeat itself

Home at last. You survived! Now, you might be tempted to get carried away and celebrate with a 5-course Indian banquet, bottle of wine and late-night movie session featuring the 4-hour Lord Of The Rings Directors Cut. Our advice? Don’t. Do you really want to spend the night with indigestion and the slow realization that you have to go through this day’s hell again tomorrow? Thought not. A light meal, warm bath and early night will help you reset your body clock and wake up reborn!