How to function on little to no sleep

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I’m writing this after a bloody lovely night’s sleep. I drifted off quite easily at around midnight and when the alarm went off at 6am I didn’t have my usual morning thought; “Can I justify quitting my job today?”

I actually felt quite awake and ready to start the day. I know, weird right? Maybe you’re blessed with the morning motivation to get up early and bust out some yoga poses whilst the rest of us hit snooze for the ninth time, and if that’s the case then I’m truly happy for you… (I know you can sense my sarcasm so I’ll not labour this point any longer).

For the rest of us watching ‘morning routine’ videos on You Tube hoping that it will rub off on us, I say embrace your tiredness. It’s who we are now. There are however ways to cope on those days when sleep deprivation starts to get a little grating. I recently went to work on zero sleep (call it a social experiment) and have a few tricks up my sleeve on how to function when it happens you.

Vitamins

Vitamins are no substitute for a well balanced diet and exercise routine, but I like to think of my supplement intake as an insurance policy for days when I’m not feeling my best. This article from My Protein has a few interesting insights into which vitamins can specifically help with tiredness and fatigue, and includes a few of my favourites. It’s worth pointing out that many of these are available in Superdrug and they currently have a 3 for 2 offer on loads of them!

I don’t take a lot of supplements but there are a few I always have on hand. B12 is good for tiredness and injury related fatigue, and can increase stamina when taken over an extended period of time.

Many of us are Magnesium deficient and replenishing your stores can help improve the symptoms of chronic fatigue.

Without enough Zinc your cells are unable to properly utilise any other vitamins you consume, resulting in a severe energy drop. I like to take this daily.

Without Iron, your body has to work a whole lot harder to get the energy it needs, which can leave you feeling tired, weak, irritable and unable to focus. Sound familiar? 

I also have a stash of Glucose Plus C which gives you an instant hit of Vitamin C when you need it most. It comes in an easy to use powder formula which I mix into my morning smoothie.

Minimal make up

I’m all for the zero make-up look when I’m feeling fresh, but after a sleepless night I find I need a little something to brighten up my tired looking chops. Eye drops are a lifesaver for bleary eyes and these Superdrug ones are cheap and easy to get hold of.

If you fancy something a little more luxurious I also highly recommend the Liz Earle Brightening Eye Treatment for a soothing and reviving treat for tired, puffy eyes. I know it is particularly popular with contact lens wearers.

Normally I’m too groggy to fuss about with brushes and beauty blenders, and this Garner BB Cream is perfect for applying the old fashioned way with my fingers. I’ve been searching for YEARS for the perfect lightweight foundation that gives that ‘barely there’ look and feel with enough coverage to last all day. I tried loads before I finally tried this Garnier one and was so glad to find that not only is the shade (extra light) perfect for my pale complexion but the formula is quick to apply and hydrating too.

After using this I normally just go in with my favourite concealer, fill in my brows and add enough highlighter to give me that ‘I definitely slept’ glow. I find the perfect amount of highlighter for this occasion is a fair to generous amount, obviously.

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Careful with caffeine

If you’re trying to function on basically zero sleep then you will no doubt be reaching for a large cup of coffee or an energy drink as soon as you start your day. However coming from a person who not only LOVES coffee but is also highly sensitive to the stuff, I urge you to choose your poison carefully.

In my experience, consuming caffeinated beverages when I’m tired does not wake me up. Yes, it makes me more alert but it does not give me more energy or make me feel more rested.

As I’ve been diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder and have suffered from panic attacks in the past, drinking caffeine only serves to heighten the stress levels in my body at a time when it’s already struggling to function normally.

For this reason, I will always stick to decaf coffee when I’m tired. I have talked endlessly about my favourite decaf instant coffee, this Percol Columbia Instant Arabica which is HANDS DOWN the best decaf coffee I’ve ever encountered. It’s so good, I don’t even need to add milk or sugar. It’s that good.

So there we have it, my foolproof guide to acting like functioning human being when if feels physically impossible. What are your tips?

Includes PR samples

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