Work-Life Balance

How you can get through you working day with limited sleep

Just how many of you actually regularly get the eight hours of sleep that they recommend?

And who are they? When did they recommend this? All I can say is that they probably weren’t in full time employment and they definitely did not have young kids.

Take my last day for example …

I worked from 9am to 7pm. The only problem was that I have been working in the country area about 3 and half hours drive from my home. So after a bite to eat and a few phone calls, it was about 8.30pm when I began driving home. (I quite like driving at night. It seems more peaceful and relaxing.) I listened to a recording of a seminar while driving back to keep my mind alert and the time passed really quickly.

I arrived home at about midnight and spent about an hour completing paperwork, following emails etc. I eventually went to bed at about one o’clock hoping for a quality six hour sleep before the kids woke up…. It was a nice thought though. At about 5am in trotted not one but our two youngest children. Try as we might to train them to stay in their own bed, sometimes you are feeling so weary that your mind says “Let them stay in for this one time.”

For the next one and a half hours I desperately grabbed whatever fragment of sleep I could muster amidst the continual wriggling and occasion stray elbow or knee that hits exactly where you don’t want it to.

So at about 6.30 to 7am in the morning I get up to face the day with nowhere near the recommended amount of sleep under my belt. How many of you have to also start the day sleep deprived? You can’t go back to bed. You have jobs to do. You have mouths to feed. You have commitments to honor.

So how do you get through a day when you are lacking sleep? Not only how do you survive, but how can you thrive through the next day? I am pleased to report that it is after 10pm and I am still firing on all cylinders. (I can tell when I stop, I will rest very soundly) I’m not saying this to impress you, but am sharing this to impress upon you that it can be done regardless of how much spare time you have. Here are a few suggestions that you may like to try …

Firstly open your curtains and get out into the sunlight as soon as you can. If it is a dreary day turn all the lights on. What this does is to suppress the production of a sleepy chemical called melatonin so it helps you feel more awake. If you are working inside, take regular brief breaks where you are exposed to the sunlight through the window.

Secondly, try to wake up at the same time you normally do. Sleepin in tends to disrupt your circadian rhythm (your natural body clock). Try going to bed a bit earlier to catch up on lost sleep.

Also avoid eating a lot of sugary foods like biscuits, breads, crackers, sweets, white rice, and pasta. If you eat these foods it often triggers the release of serotonin from the brain that makes you feel a bit sleepy and lethargic during the day.

A temporary lack of rest is an extra stress that your body has to deal with. If not managed properly it can throw your energy levels, moods and productivity way out of kilter for many days. But a little bit of extra lifestyle support for your body when you are sleep deprived can help you handle a disrupted or shortened sleep with ease


I love to write on real-life facts. Working as a journalist on a local newspaper as senior editor. I love to listen music, gossiping with others, traveling and swimming.

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