We’ve all been there. After a hard day’s work, you just want to sleep but for some reason, you can’t get the sleep you need—either because your mind is focusing on payroll processing or on business loans.

As a result, you wake up the next morning with barely a couple of hours of restless sleep under your belt. You’re dreading the day ahead but staying in isn’t an option.

How can you pick yourself up enough to get through the day and be productive? Here are some tips.

Have a Cold Shower

Cold water is a great way to wake you up and bring some alertness back into your mind and body.

However, it can be a bit of a shock to the system to step right into a stream of cold water. You don’t want your system to shut down completely from the shock.

Instead of having a completely cold shower, start with some warm water and then decrease the temperature till the water becomes cold by the end of the shower.

This method will help your body relax but also wake you up so you can be more alert and productive for the rest of the day.

Watch What You Drink

With a bad night’s sleep behind you, it can be tempting to drink all the coffee—caffeine is a stimulant and should be able to wake you up.

But while some coffee will help make you alert enough to create your map chart, too much could overstimulate you, making you jittery and unable to focus.

Coffee also has appetite-suppressant properties, which is particularly harmful—it can stop your body from accessing the nourishment it desperately needs, especially when it’s suffering from lack of sleep.

Instead of relying on coffee to keep up your spirits, drink plenty of water as that will rehydrate your system and ensure that there is enough space in your body to absorb other nutrients.

Engage in Physical Activity

Another way to boost your energy levels after a poor night’s sleep is to take up some physical activity.

While you can go to the gym for a short while before heading to work, it is best not to engage in anything that would require too much concentration—machines and dumbbells, if not used correctly, could end up hurting the user.

Alternatively, you could go for a brisk walk—not only will a walk get your limbs moving but will actively circulate the blood in your system to help you feel more rejuvenated.

And a bit of exercise also has the added effect of preparing your system for the upcoming night’s sleep—by engaging in activity you improve the chances of sleeping better the next night.

Engage Your Mind

While physical activity has its benefits, keeping your mind engaged is also important after a difficult night’s sleep.

This is a tough ask, especially as you will be feeling tired from lack of rest the night before but it can help to stimulate your mind so you can be productive for the remainder of the day.

Try and undertake some mentally stimulating activities like puzzles, crosswords, doing an interactive quiz, or making your own font.

Avoid passive activities like listening to music, or watching a video about social media analytics—these will not help to activate your mind.

Stick to Your Regular Schedule

You’ve had a bad night and don’t want to continue with your regular day—you feel like you don’t have the energy to work on enterprise search marketing or blockchain marketing yet.

It can be tempting to change things around so you don’t have to tax your already-tired mind and body, but this is not advisable.

Stick with your regular schedule, even if you do feel too tired to do so. Have your regular breakfast and go about your morning chores.

Once you get to work, concentrate on your day’s tasks as you normally would—even if they are intensive duties like combing through the knowledge base or finding the top 10 WordPress backup solutions.

At night, go to bed as you usually would—don’t go to sleep later or too early. A change in schedule will only worsen your sleeping cycle, and you will end up having a succession of difficult nights.

Stay Positive

After a bad night’s sleep, you can tend towards feeling despondent about the day ahead. This will impact the way you think, feel, and work. Your productivity will also drop.

Instead of thinking about how bad you feel about not having slept well, look ahead to what you will do in the evening—like reading your favourite Amazon author or enjoying a luxurious bath.

Keep these thoughts in mind and you will be able to feel more positive and become more productive during the day.

Take a Nap (If You Can)

You haven’t had enough sleep the previous night, and you have the rest of the day, and week to get through. The best way to remain alert and productive is to catch up on the lost sleep.

While not everyone has the option to sleep late before heading off to work, what you can opt to do is take a few power naps during the day.

These naps should be no longer than 30 minutes—beyond that and you will enter full REM sleep and your body will become confused about what time of day it is. This will further affect your sleeping cycle, leading to more poor nights of sleep.

Of course, it may not be possible to take naps at work. You may be in the midst of a major CRM project that requires your undivided attention.

Naps at work might be frowned upon in your organization—there are several company culture myths about flexible work hours that have been debunked.

In that case, try to power through the day and get to sleep on time that night so your sleeping cycle doesn’t change too much.

Sleep Well and Be Productive

Your sleep is precious and should not be encroached upon. If you can avoid working late or partying late, do so. Even a little lack of sleep can impact your body adversely for a long period.

Keep to your schedule as much as possible and you will be able to sleep well and stay productive.


  • Ronita Mohan

    Content Marketer


    Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at Venngage, the online infographic template and design platform. Ronita enjoys writing about productivity, design, social media, the digital world, as well as pop culture and diversity.