What Is Sleep Deprivation and How to Beat It
Evidence-based techniques to manage symptoms of sleep deprivation
Sleep deprivation takes a sharp toll on the human brain and body, impairing cognition, motor ability, and mood. Willpower, memory, judgement, and attention all suffer. You drop and bump into things, crave sugar, overeat, and gain weight. You’re more irritable, more anxious, overly negative, and more emotionally reactive. You forget almost everything you learn. Your ability to connect meaningfully to other people shuts down.
Most importantly, you don’t understand how impaired you are and you think you’re holding it together. Cognitive tests would prove that you aren’t. The people around you notice it, too.
Yet, sometimes you need to power through for a while without sleep. Here’s how I’ve learned to do that.
All of the techniques covered here are carefully cultivated best practices from personal experience and from coaching hundreds of patients through insomnia and other periods of sleep deprivation. They’re all backed up by solid science, physiology, sleep research, and personal tests (other, more controversial techniques that work for some have been excluded). If you’re suffering from sleep deprivation, you’ll be able to use all of these techniques effectively to improve your life (other techniques are only for people possessing the willpower, rational thought, and the stable emotional mindsets of rested people).
Sleep deprivation is a miserable experience, but many of its most painful and debilitating symptoms are caused by the behavior it encourages, not just by the sleep deprivation itself. Teasing these apart yields effective techniques to counter the negative symptoms during a prolonged period of sleep deprivation, relieving a lot of the pain and misery and restoring some of your productivity and well being.
Use the following techniques to alleviate symptoms of minor sleep deprivation and you’ll be able to perform adequately, instead of like a stoned monkey randomly typing on the keyboard.
Stabilize Your Blood Sugar
To push through sleep deprivation, you first need to learn how to stabilize your blood sugar. Exhaustion combined with low blood sugar makes for a very painful experience; you’ll feel much more tired, more anxious, more irritable, and you won’t be able to concentrate or think clearly.
After missing sleep, you have several big disadvantages right out of the gate — sleep deprivation turns on intense hunger and sugar cravings; your hunger increases and your body’s ability to metabolize glucose is impaired (similar to being a type 2 diabetic). If you’re carrying around some extra weight on your body, you’re less sensitive to insulin already, which compounds the problem. This usually results in eating too much and putting too much sugar in your blood (which causes a long list of health problems), and some serious instabilities in blood sugar levels as your body tries to cope.
Eating a handful of M&Ms seems to give you energy, but your body has to cope with that sugar high. The sleep-deprived body is slower to respond to blood sugar changes, and its methods of clearing sugar result in some overcorrection that leads to a blood sugar dip. This causes you to feel more tired and crave more sugar… so you eat another handful of M&Ms, spiking your blood sugar again. Even if you finish the entire bag, it won’t satisfy the urge to eat more of them and eventually you’ll spiral down towards a big, exhausted crash.
Help keep your blood sugar stable by eating hearty food—protein and fat—more often. Include protein and fat with every meal and never eat refined sugar by itself (for example, bacon. Sleep deprivation warriors know and worship the power of bacon — the perfect combination of delicious, crunchy, satisfying protein and fat).
Also, get some light exercise for about 10 minutes or so right after you eat. This really helps bring blood sugar levels back down.
The protein-and-fat combination is important. Sugars and simple carbs get digested and absorbed into your bloodstream very quickly, within 10–20 minutes after eating. It’s better for that energy and nutrition to hit you more gradually. Instead of eating a bunch of simple carbs, like a giant bowl of spaghetti, try eating big, hearty dishes that are chock full of protein and fat to give your body plenty of long-lasting energy.
If you start feeling extremely hungry, take a second to notice if you’re also anxious or light-headed. Feeling hungry, tired, anxious, and headachy? These are not just symptoms of being sleep deprived, they’re indicative of very low blood sugar and you need to eat hearty food immediately.
Perhaps you crave simple carbs — just make sure you’re always eating something chock full of protein and fat, too. If you are desperate to work through a period of sleep deprivation, your other diet goals may take a lower priority. Go for damage control. Fix the entire family-sized box of mac-and-cheese if you must, but dump some ground beef and real cheese on top. Have coffee and a muffin for breakfast, but eat it with eggs and bacon. Snacks with higher protein and fat include cheese, nuts, salami, eggs, peanut butter, and pretzels. If you must, go for pizza and fries instead of chocolate cake or the pint of ice cream.
Protein and fat don’t have as much effect on blood sugar when eaten alone, but they dampen the highs and lows in your blood sugar response. Protein has about 3 times the power of fat to moderate blood sugar ups and downs.
Ideally, you wouldn’t eat any refined sugar or simple ‘white’ carbs at all while sleep deprived, and if you could do that, you would feel miraculously less tired. In practice, this is beyond the sleep deprived person’s capacity, so just make sure you eat heartily along with any sugar and include lots of protein.
Some tips on food choices
Reducing refined carbs and increasing fats and proteins is the general rule to help you function better when sleep deprived. But there are some additional tweaks you can make to your food choices that can give you some incremental improvements.
Crunchy snacks will help satisfy your ravenous cravings better than soft ones will. The mechanism for this isn’t totally understood, but snack companies have known it for decades, providing lots of fat-laden crunchy snacks to choose from. Something about the crunchy sound and chewing action seems to be satisfying even though your sleep deprived body’s ability to feel full is turned off. But watch out for hidden sugar in ingredient lists — an entire bag of chips can contain more sugar than a candy bar! Some people can chew gum as a way to cut down on the calories they’re consuming while tired because it keeps their jaws moving.
Stay away from frozen treats, since they are also a hidden source of sugar. Cold temperatures reduce your ability to detect flavor, so the sugar levels in frozen foods are boosted to compensate (drink some melted ice cream to taste its true level of sweetness… yuk!). Yes, ice cream also has calcium and fat, but there’s far too much sugar to justify eating it.
How to cope with a sugar binge
If you do suddenly realize you ate an entire chocolate cake or otherwise ingested enough sugar to fuel a small town, there are ways to mitigate the damage and feel better.
First, if this happens to me, I take several high potency vitamin C pills immediately and several more a few hours later (2000–3000 mg total). Research on vitamin C’s impact on insulin regulation is not entirely conclusive but it’s a trick of the trade that will help clear out some of the pain of too much sugar in your body.
Second, know that this happens to almost everyone sometimes. The deck is stacked hard against you when you’re sleep deprived and it’s really, really hard not to succumb to sugar cravings. Don’t dwell on the guilt and shame, or you might be tempted to throw in the towel and binge more. This creates a vicious cycle and sends your inner critic into a rampage— a problem you don’t need on top of everything else.
The best thing you can do is to switch to eating protein and fat and then work towards gently helping yourself put down the sugar.
Once you’ve started managing your blood sugar better, it’s time to look at other tactics to help you get by until you can get better sleep.
B-complex vitamin supplements can give you an immediate boost in alertness and mental clarity.
B-complex vitamins are used to metabolize the fuel in your food. Many a sleep deprived person sings its praises as a quick, easy way to get a little energy boost. Since it’s water soluble, it doesn’t last long in your body and you can take several doses during the day— but don’t take it right before you want to sleep.
One dose in the morning and another one in the early afternoon (directly after your power nap, if you can take one) works well. Take up to 3 a day if it’s helping, but be aware that it is possible to overdose. If sleep deprivation is a common situation in your life, put the bottle out where you can see it, otherwise you’re likely to forget to take it.
There are other supplements and herbal nutrition that can help support your overworked and overtired organs for the long haul, but B-complex is by far the biggest bang for the buck and nobody will debate its benefits for the tired brain.
Epsom Salt Baths
The day after soaking in an epsom salt bath, you’ll wonder how you’ve been missing out on this sleep deprivation trick for so long.
Epsom salt is made up of magnesium and sulfate. Some have speculated that these can be absorbed through the skin and help cellular mechanisms function more smoothly. The science, however, has been inconclusive thus far. Nonetheless, I find an epsom salt bath to be a powerful tool for feeling better when sleep deprived.
A few hours after an epsom salt bath, I feel the heavy, drained feeling of sleep deprivation lift, feel more energetic, and have a feeling of relaxed calm. It also helps me sleep better and eases muscle aches and pains.
Add two cups of epsom salt to a bathtub full of hot water, then soak for a half hour. The best time is right before you go to bed; the hot bath will make you feel drowsy.
If you can’t pry yourself away from your work for even a half hour, you can soak your feet in a warm bowl of epsom salt water while you work instead of getting in the bathtub.
The epsom salt bath might even help you get enough energy to exercise the next day, which then clears even more of the sleep-dep gunk away.
Epsom salts are readily available in drugstores or grocery stores; look for it in the laxative section (as a laxative, it’s taken internally— but you’ll just be using it for a soak!).
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
When you’re missing sleep, there’s a good chance you’re dehydrated also. Drink more water than you usually do to help compensate. You’ll feel much more tired if you’re dehydrated on top of being sleep deprived, as dehydration actually causes feelings of fatigue.
Water is used by your body more rapidly during your waking hours— and more waking hours requires more water for your body to function. Because your sleep-deprived insulin response is impaired, your kidneys will be flushing all that excess sugar from your bloodstream out through your urine, and taking a lot of water with it that otherwise would have been reabsorbed. If your low-willpower sleep-deprived self is eating a lot of sugar, you’ll feel tired and dehydrated if you don’t drink more liquids than usual.
It will take much more drinking than you might expect to keep yourself well-hydrated during sleep deprivation.
Fill a big pitcher with water each morning or get out the number of water bottles you’d like to drink for the day so you can easily monitor your intake. If your pitcher isn’t half empty halfway through your day (or by midnight or whatever time you pick), then start drinking more. You can also try carrying a water bottle with you wherever you go and drinking liberally whenever you think of it, but this generally won’t work as well — your tired brain won’t be able to accurately evaluate how much you’ve had, so you’ll have to track your intake some other way if you want to ensure drinking enough.
If you’re drinking coffee or other caffeinated drinks to help you stay awake, don’t forget that caffeine is a diuretic, which means you’ll be peeing more and you need to drink extra water to make up for that.
If you wake up dizzy or with a headache, you’re probably really dehydrated. Drink a full glass of water, then another one a half hour later and see if you don’t feel substantially better. When you feel hungry, it can also mean you’re thirsty (most people confuse the two all the time), so make sure to drink in addition to eating.
Hard core cyclists live by the the rule of drinking enough water to “always pee clear,” because a dip in hydration causes muscle weakness and fatigue. This is also good advice while pulling an all-nighter. However, if you’re taking B-complex to counteract the effects of sleep deprivation, you should expect your pee to be bright yellow even when you’re hydrated.
Keep an Even Schedule
You can virtually eliminate the jet lag symptoms that usually accompany sleep deprivation by keeping to an even sleeping and eating schedule despite lacking sleep overall. A consistent routine that just lacks the perfect amount of sleep is a much more physiologically pleasant experience than a schedule that swings wildly from late nights, to going to bed early, to sleeping half the day to recover. Social jet lag— when your body has to keep adjusting to new sleeping times even though you didn’t cross any time zones— causes measurable impairments for days afterwards.
When you drag your circadian rhythm back and forth by sleeping irregularly, it effectively decouples your internal rhythms and is painful all the way down to the cellular level. You’ll end up with stomach aches, constipation and/or diarrhea, feeling too hot and then feeling too cold, deep muscle fatigue, feeling faint, pounding headaches, and lots of aches and pains until your body can synchronize itself again. Anyone who’s flown halfway around the world knows how much it can hurt.
Get up at the same time each day, even if you go to bed at a different time each night. The time you get up is largely responsible for setting the start of your circadian clock for the day. It’s a bonus if you can also go to bed at a regular time, even if it’s much later than you’d like, but it’s easier and more realistic to focus only on making sure your alarm gets you up at the same time every day.
You may think it’s better to catch up by sleeping in when you get the chance, and indeed, a lot of people get up earlier on weekdays and sleep in on weekends. But a well-timed afternoon nap is a better way to catch up on missed sleep, and you’ll appreciate the mental clarity you feel in the morning with a regular routine. Your body anticipates what you’re going to do on a regular schedule and coordinates all your systems to be ready, similar to a browser that pre-fetches and caches results in advance based on typical behavior patterns. If you’re unpredictable, you lose this amazing benefit and feel lousy for it.
Eat at roughly consistent times, or at least in consistent windows of time. For example, eat dinner between 6pm and 8pm every night, instead of eating half a cheesecake at 4pm and then eating a big dinner hours later than usual. If you know you’re going to be up late a number of nights in a row and need the midnight fuel or can’t stop the munchies, eat at consistent times from night to night and quit eating as early as you can. For example, make it your routine to eat another meal at 11pm, snack until 1am, and then stop eating for the night.
If you’re only up late some of the time (but not regularly), try to resist late night snacking or having a second dinner when you need an energy boost, and see if you can power through without food. Why? Because eating influences the rhythm of your liver and digestive organs in the same way light influences your circadian rhythm — it signals where in the 24-hour rhythm you currently are. Eating at a time when your digestive systems’ rhythm is expecting you to be sleeping resets your rhythm, and you’ll suffer digestive jet lag symptoms the next day.
If your midnight hunger pangs are too much for you, you can ease these next-day symptoms by drinking juice or eating extremely lightly instead of choosing steak and potatoes (unlike eating for energy to stay up, when you’re close to bedtime think no protein or fat). However, be warned, it can take only a few bites of something sweet or light, like tea and toast, to cause a reset and subsequent dysregulation.
Exercise & Stimulate your Lymph Flow
I know, I know, when you’re tired, you just don’t feel like exercising. But you really, really need to. Exercise is the single best way to “take out the trash” in your body, and after staying up more hours than you should, the trash is piling up and spilling over. Being sedentary while being sleep deprived actually feels painful, interferes with normal function, and is responsible for a lot of the brain fog that you experience.
Increased blood flow and oxygen from even mild exercise immediately improves your brain’s ability to think clearly. Exercise produces a big boost in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein in your brain that’s a known source of cognitive improvement, probably through neural repair and growth. Exercise also stimulates endorphins, which improve your mood (yes, crankypants, this one is for your family and coworkers).
Many sleep researchers design their experiments to control for exercise, since it makes such a distinct difference in performance that sleep deprived subjects who are getting exercise can’t be equally compared to subjects who aren’t.
You should take it easy and pick a moderate exercise, like walking, yoga, or cycling (bonus points for exercising in nature, which is known to revive the body, reduce mental fatigue, and help you cope with the suffering you’re currently undergoing). Try to get your blood circulating without pushing yourself hard (don’t try to feel the burn). Your tired muscles will feel wimpy and weak because sleep deprivation depletes your stores of glycogen and increases insulin resistance, impairing both of the two main mechanisms that fuel your muscles. You’ll also be missing the benefits of tissue repair and growth hormones that are released while you sleep, since you aren’t sleeping much. So, this is not a good time to force yourself to do your strength training workout or your marathon training run, as strenuous exercise on top of impaired glucose metabolism will leave you in low blood sugar territory and feeling substantially worse.
It’s important to move. One of your lymph system’s top jobs is to clear away the metabolic byproducts of being awake from every cell in your body. Like your circulatory system, your lymph vessels spread through your entire body, reaching every cell, to carefully collect and shuttle waste away. But unlike your circulatory system, your lymph vessels have no heart vigorously pumping the fluid through them. Instead, flow is caused by the movement of big muscle groups in your body. The movement and impact from walking causes lymph to flow, as does breathing deeply (moving your lungs). This is a brilliant added benefit from something humans already do. However, if you’re staying up all night sitting at a desk, then you’re not doing much of either, and your lymph gets backed up just when you most need it to work overtime.
Walking is particularly good at stimulating lymph flow. Anything that involves slow, deep breathing also helps immensely, so don’t skip your yoga class. Squeeze some quick relaxation breaks into your day to take some big, deep breaths.
Alternating hot and cold temperatures can also help move lymph and it feels absolutely refreshing. There’s no need for any special hydrotherapy equipment, just turn your shower onto the coldest temperature you can tolerate and wait for at least one minute for your blood vessels to shrink and adjust. Then turn it back to the hottest temperature you can tolerate and wait again while they dilate. Do this a couple of times. End on cold to boost your mental clarity.
Massage also really helps move lymph. Buy some self-massage tools and learn to use them and you will not be sorry (get some ‘massage bongers’— they’re like mallets for the body— for a special treat). Get a gua sha scraping massage tool or dry brush and use it to physically rub your skin in the direction lymph flows — up your arms, up your legs, and towards your heart. Lymph vessels are very close to the skin so this works really well.
There’s some light evidence that bouncing on a trampoline will help move lymph and lots of people swear by it, but mostly trampoline companies are citing it so it’s anyone’s guess (let me know if you can find a reputable scientific study on this one).
If you can’t do any of these things, just lay on the floor with your legs up against the wall for 10–15 minutes and let gravity drain your lymph down towards your heart all by itself.
Power naps come in two sizes — short and long. The optimal length of a power nap is either 10–20 minutes or about 90 minutes. Both types of napping will clear away the feeling of brain fog and improve your focus, but each type also has unique benefits.
Short naps improve the speed and accuracy of your thinking and help you stay alert. Long naps reduce forgetfulness and do restorative work in your brain to cleanse it of the byproducts of being awake.
This has the amazing power of reversing sleep deprivation’s haze and restoring your optimism. Short or long, which you choose might depend mostly on how much time you have, but the strategic sleep deprived warrior will always take one or the other every day. If timed properly, a nap won’t interfere with nighttime sleeping but will enhance your productivity, your mood, and your memory and generally make your sleep deprived life a much nicer place.
Sleep researchers consistently show immense benefits in performance from naps, especially when they take place in the early afternoon (you can adjust ‘early afternoon’ for whatever circadian rhythm your sleep deprived body is mostly on). Some researchers believe humans have a biological need for an afternoon nap that’s clearly shown in our physiological rhythms and that we’re shorting ourselves and our brain power by not having one every day in this modern era. Interestingly, research also shows that naps are much more powerful than caffeine at improving our alertness and performance, and with no side effects.
The short power nap should be at least 10 minutes and not longer than 20 minutes. Why? The simplified version is that we have both alerting neurons in our brain — which promote wakefulness — and sleep neurons, which keep us asleep. Each type inhibits the other so that we’re either asleep or awake at any given time, but not both. Our sleep drive builds up during wakefulness, causing us to eventually shift our state to sleep and turn off our alerting neurons. About 10 minutes of sleep restores the strength of our alerting neurons, allowing them to happily begin firing at full strength again. If you wake up now, your alertness levels will be dramatically restored. Anyone with a young baby knows this well — if a tired baby gets even a few minutes of sleep and then is woken up, nap time is over.
The first 5–10 minutes of a power nap are spent in stage 1 sleep — a hazy, relaxed stage in which your activity, brain waves, heart rate, and everything else starts to slow down. You may not think you’re asleep yet. The second 10–15 minutes of a power nap is spent in stage 2 sleep, in which your brain begins reviewing your day to identify the most important parts, which it then organizes and strengthens neural connections to, helping prevent those bits from being forgotten. Now you know you’re dozing off.
If you allow your short power nap to exceed about 20 minutes, you drop down into a deeper stage of slow wave sleep and move on to REM sleep, into a roughly 90 minute cycle that involves reviewing events, choosing what to save, integrating each new bit with your related existing memories, and writing the combinations back into permanent memory. Now sleep gains inertia — it’s harder to wake someone up once they enter slow wave sleep and you’ll feel dazed and confused if you’re not able to sleep long enough to complete the whole cycle.
The long power nap is about 1 and a half hours long, just long enough to fall asleep and go through one cycle of slow wave and REM sleep. Napping for a complete sleep cycle is very restorative and will improve your mood, make you feel refreshed, and help you not be so forgetful.
Once you get in the habit of taking a daily nap that fits into a good spot in your circadian rhythm, you’ll naturally wake up at the end of this cycle. If you have the misfortune of being woken up before this cycle is done, you’ll probably feel groggy and worse than if you hadn’t napped at all.
It’s important to be able to fully shut down the alert part of your brain while you power nap, otherwise you won’t get the restorative benefits of sleep, just a nice restful break. Find a place where you can shut out sounds that might attract your attention. Your phone or other notifications should be turned off to eliminate disruption. Earplugs and a mask can help block out distractions.
You don’t have to lie down to get good sleep during a nap, but you do have to fully release your muscle tension. Laying your head down on a pillow on your desk can work nicely. Scope out a good regular time and place to nap each day to help condition your body and send yourself quickly into restorative sleep.
Take lots of tiny breaks while working. Short breaks allow your brain to stop receiving and managing information in a directed manner, switching your focused mind to an unfocused state that allows it to do other processing necessary to maintain that focus. This is why you can’t focus for hours straight without a break. Proper function of the brain requires a combination of both states, especially when sleep deprived.
When you let your focused mind relax and wander, it doesn’t shut off to save energy, but continues sifting through events of the day, processing and storing short-term memories and making meaning out of the bits and pieces of information it has been picking up. With some unfocused processing time, your ability to concentrate will improve, which the sleep deprived brain really needs. You’ll understand more of what’s going on in your sleep deprived day, though most of the subtleties will still escape you.
There are so many great ways to take tiny breaks and help alleviate tired eyes, brain fog, headaches, and other symptoms. Think quick and easy, without the phone or computer. Here are some ideas for good breaks:
- Put your hands over your eyes for 10 seconds and take a deep breath in and out, then go back to work.
- Every hour, set your timer for one minute and put your head down on your desk with your eyes closed (do this in the bathroom stall if you can’t do it in the open).
- Give yourself a deep head or face massage or roll your back and shoulders against a tennis ball on the wall.
- Stand up to do some quick stretches or walk to the bathroom to splash cold water on your face. Besides being invigorating, the negative ions in running cold water increase serotonin and boost energy.
These quick interruptions are worth the benefits, especially since your sleep deprived ability to stay focused is shot anyway.
Give Yourself a Sleep Deprivation Recovery Period
After a period of sleep deprivation, design a recovery period for yourself. When your deadline pressure eases up, be ready to put aside other tasks and seize the opportunity to catch up on some sleep without guilt. Help the driving force of your ego understand that rest is imperative for longevity.
The improvement in your mental clarity alone is worth the time you’ll spend sleeping instead of working, and you’ll also feel much better and be more happy and optimistic. Depth in your conversations and relationships will return. Your sense of humor will return. Your zest for life will return.
Restorative sleep isn’t just about how many hours you get, but is also as much about keeping a very regular schedule (waking up and napping at the same time every day) and getting quality sleep (uninterrupted, deep, rhythmic sleep). If your bedroom isn’t a sleep sanctuary for you, give it an overhaul. Review sleep hygiene rules and make other changes that could help you sleep better. Many sleep hygiene changes are pretty easy and make a big difference.
Use melatonin to get back on an even schedule as quickly as possible. Take it properly — it’s not a sleeping pill, it’s a reset signal that coordinates the different systems in your body and tells them all to move into ‘rest and digest’ mode at the same time. To shift your schedule back from late nights and maintain the same bedtime each night even if you don’t feel sleepy, take it several nights in a row at the same time, about half an hour before you want to go to sleep. Don’t take it and then stay up late or you’ll end up feeling groggy and disoriented.
Some people say melatonin “doesn’t work for them,” but this is usually because they’re taking it wrong — it’s not a sleeping pill that will make you tired enough to overcome insomnia or keep you asleep all night, but it will signal that it’s bedtime at a time you decide on. Melatonin is safe for short-term use.
For a short-term sleep debt, you should make up the sleep you missed hour for hour and expect your cognitive impairment to last for longer than you realize. After 3 nights of getting only 5 hours of sleep each night, research subjects were still impaired a week later. Count up how many hours you missed. Project out how many days it will take you to realistically fit those hours into your sleeping schedule. Commit to seeing it through and reap the productivity benefits of being rested.
To recover from longer term sleep deprivation, you’ll need to make some lifestyle changes for a while to prioritize sleep and fit more of it into your routine. Make up sleep can be somewhat compressed so you don’t need to settle your sleep debt hour for hour, but making up a lot of missed sleep is no small feat — it might mean staying on an even schedule and getting an extra hour of sleep every night for a month or more.
A faster strategy is to take some time off or rearrange your schedule so you can turn off your alarm clock and sleep in everyday until you wake up naturally (expect some 12 hour nights at first). Or, try taking power naps everyday after lunch. However you can fit it in, prioritize quality sleep for yourself for a good chunk of time — you are the one who benefits from this.
We’ve covered a lot of sleep deprivation symptoms and how to manage them to improve your life. When up against an important deadline, the effects of a little sleep deprivation are easy to minimize in your mind, especially when the task you’re staying up to accomplish feels important (to your ego). But the impairments to your performance are far more significant than you realize and the recovery is much longer.
So many of us have been living in a partially sleep deprived state for so long that we don’t remember what it’s like to feel fully rested and refreshed. We don’t realize how the willpower, mindfulness, clarity, and productivity we’ve been chasing come much easier when our brains are rested and functioning properly, instead of in an impaired state with major areas offline and routes of connection shut down.
The ability to manage sleep deprivation symptoms is a skill that everyone needs — and can learn. Careful management of the different behaviors that sleep deprivation produces can dramatically reduce many of its worst symptoms and keep us productive and feeling good as we power through late nights. You can suffer less while sleeping less and bounce back faster to being rested and restored.