Ugh. We’ve all been there. What to do when you didn’t sleep all night is a predicament we all find ourselves in once in a blue moon. You have all kinds of great intentions for the next day. You’re ready, willing and able to get up early! (You’ve even experimented and figured out the perfect time to wake up.) You’re ready to conquer the world! If only you could get a good night’s sleep…
Except you didn’t get a good night’s sleep. In fact, you couldn’t sleep at all the entire night. Not even a couple hours. Instead, you lay awake in anticipation of the day ahead.
When you didn’t sleep all night, you often have no choice but to continue on with your day as planned, but a few of the hacks I’m going to explain below will help make the day more bearable.
Should you go to work or school with no sleep?
Probably. Especially if you fail to get adequate sleep multiple times per week. You can’t call in sick every few days. If it’s a very important day and you have things to do such as meetings, vital tasks, and the like… then your boss or teacher is going to expect you to be there and attend to those responsibilities. And besides, you’re awake anyway, so you might as well tackle the to-do list and go home with a sense of accomplishment that will help you drift off into a peaceful slumber that evening.
On days where I feel exhausted and got less than optimal sleep, I try to keep in mind that successful people do what needs to get done, regardless of how they feel. Since I consider myself successful, I push through the no sleep situation and then make sure to stick to my bedtime schedule without exceptions.
Surviving the Day with No Sleep
Just because you most likely have to continue on with your day like normal doesn’t mean you can’t make a few tweaks to make yourself feel more energetic and alert. There are a few things I like to do when I didn’t sleep all night to help give me some extra energy:
- Fit in a 15 to
30 minutecardio workout. Since you’re already up in the morning before you have to leave, you should be able to squeeze this in so long as you’re not laying in bed moping about not getting any sleep. 🙂
- Drink water first thing upon rising and consistently throughout the day. Being dehydrated on top of being sleepy is no
bueno. Adding lemon to your water can give you an extra boost as well.
- Eat breakfast. Try eggs, almonds, a smoothie, or oatmeal.
- Eat fruits such as apples, oranges, blueberries, strawberries, kiwis, bananas. A nice crisp apple fresh out of the refrigerator always does the trick for me. Sometimes while at work I’ll cut up an apple into slices and munch on them slowly as I work on my laptop. By the time I finish the apple, I feel a bit more awake.
- Take frequent walks – preferably outside, but around the office or school works, too. Regardless of the location, don’t stay sitting all day. It’s important that you are not staring at a computer or phone screen all day. Which brings me to my next
- Use your phone as little as possible. Don’t sit there on breaks hunched over it. Your eyes are tired and staring into a device when you’re feeling horrendous is doing yourself a huge disservice. Besides, didn’t you hear about the lady who went partially blind because she stared at her phone too long while playing a mobile game?
- Try some preservative-free glycerin eye drops for dry eyes. Your eyes need some extra TLC on sleepless days. This one I use from Amazon is the only preservative-free eye drops I could find that were NOT in
single usepackaging. You have to squeeze a little harder than usual to get the eye drops out, but that’s only because of the purifying filter. Totally worth it!
- Have an extra 20 minutes during a lunch break where you can sneak into your car or under a shady tree with a picnic blanket? Take a nap! 20 minutes is the optimal length of time to take a nap and wake up refreshed.
- Please visit your doctor and get yourself checked for magnesium deficiency. It’s more common than you might think, and it might be affecting you in more ways than you might think (migraines, digestive issues, anxiety, the list goes on…) Your inability to sleep might be just one of the many side effects of magnesium deficiency. For more info and remedies, check out this video from Dr. Mandell:
Maybe you noticed that I did not add coffee to my surviving the day with no sleep list? If you did, that’s very observant of you! I do not recommend caffeine for anyone, which I will cover in a future post and link to from here once it’s up.
Calling Out of Work or School as a Last Resort
Now, if you have had 2 or more days in a row where you can’t seem to get any shut-eye, then taking a day off to try to rectify the situation is indeed a good idea. You might even want to use the day off to see a doctor about insomnia.
What else should you do if you didn’t sleep all night? Have your doctor back you up if you decided to visit him or her!
Getting a doctor’s note vouching for your insomnia can be a valuable piece of evidence to show your employer or school if they decide to badger you about taking a day off or if they’re relentlessly complaining about poor performance or mishandling of your responsibilities.
Some workplaces (or schools) are understanding of insomnia while others aren’t, so a note written and signed by your doctor is a powerful way to protect yourself against irrational bosses and teachers.
How to Call in Sick and What to Say When You Didn’t Sleep All Night
If you decide that you can’t perform the day’s tasks safely or up to standards, here’s what to say when you call in sick:
Being transparent and honest is what to do when you didn’t sleep all night. Be straightforward with them and briefly (not in detail) mention your insomnia. Tell them you’re taking the day off to recuperate and catch up on sleep, but that you will be there ready to tackle your to-do list the next day.
I would also promise them that you will see a doctor (if you haven’t already) if the sleepless nights continue. Having trouble sleeping and not being able to sleep for the entire night is a frustrating problem indeed, so gain access to all the resources available to you in order to rectify the situation and get back to a healthy sleep schedule.