No Sleep? No Problem! 5 Hacks to Get by on Not Enough Shut Eye

 In Blog, Inner First Class, Outer First Class

As mom to a 4-year-old boy who cares nothing for the schedule of others and often rises much earlier than I wish he would, there are nights where I just don’t get enough sleep. I hear Will waking and it just makes me want to cry I’m so tired!”

I’ve found that being grouchy makes things much worse. If I’m grumpy and crab at Will, he starts crying, I feel like a turd and the whole morning begins circling the drain before it even gets started.

Even if you don’t have a time-telling challenged preschooler, not getting sufficient sleep for whatever reason is a widespread problem and can turn even the sweetest among us into vinegar spewing monsters. Staying in bed and avoiding the whole world is typically not an option. We may not have control over what kept us up late or got us up early, but whether we rise and shine or rise and whine is up to us.

Here are my best bets for making it through the morning after a rough night.

1.Don’t complain about it. I hate to say it, but no one cares if you didn’t get enough sleep. Whining about it will only make your social stock plummet because nobody wants to hear it, even if it is justified. They have enough problems of their own. Do your best to power through it without giving it power and without acknowledging it and you will be better off. If someone says you look tired, do NOT slap them. Just shrug it off with an “Eh, didn’t sleep so great. I’ll make up for it tonight.”

2. Let in the light. When I’m under-rested and threatening to grow horns, I throw open the curtains and lift up the shades as soon as the sun starts to rise. Even better, if you can, is to get outside in the fresh air or at least open a window. The light, air and exercise will trigger your brain to feed you some of those feel-good hormones, overpowering the inner sleep-starved Grinch. Smack that Grinch instead of your co-worker.

Sunlight lowers blood pressure and improves brain function.

3. Do something. As soon as possible, get out of the house and do something. If it’s not a school day for me this often means toting my son to the grocery store but sometimes we do make it to the park and he can burn off some energy. Whatever it is, getting moving is key. The less I give myself a chance to think about how I only got four hours of sleep the better off everyone is – including me. Distraction is good here.

4. Be careful with the caffeine. I love my coffee, but on rough mornings I won’t allow myself to go beyond two cups. The caffeine rush only covers up the beast and the ensuing crash can make the day worse than ever. Even better, try some peppermint tea. The smell of peppermint has been shown to decrease fatigue and anxiety. If I need more of a boost I’ll diffuse or apply topically an energetic or motivational essential oil blend. A tough day looks better when it smells better, anyway.

Try a peppermint boost!

5. Get to bed early that night. If you’re like me, the anger and crabbiness of being robbed of sleep wears off as the day goes on, and in the evening I start to feel pretty normal. I’m tempted to stay up until my normal bedtime getting things done or making myself feel better with a TV show and some salty snacks because I no longer feel so bad. Unfortunately sleep is promised to no one, and I’ve come to find out that it can only lead to a worse following day to deny myself that rest, especially if we end up with another off-schedule morning.

BONUS: When I’m feeling extra challenged, whether it’s lack of sleep, a defiant preschooler, or life’s troubles in general my Abundance Prayer always puts me in a better mood. It’s the perfect mix of affirmations, gratitude and hope. I’ve said it so many times I could recite it in my sleep. It really works!


Let’s be honest – being sleep deprived freaking sucks. Your eyes are crusty, your brain is foggy and you just want to throat punch the first person who crosses your path. The last thing you want to do is cheer yourself up, go outside and take a walk or take advice from some blog. But like poker players we have to play the hand we are dealt, and with a little bluffing you can still win the pot with the worst hand. So punch your pillow and call it names, then throw back your bedroom curtains and bend this day to your will because it’s the only one you’ve got to work with.



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  • Lee Holliday

    Right on!! I wholeheartedly agree with all you’ve said here. Now, if I could just put it all into practice!! 😳🦅

    • J. Belle Ortega

      That is the simplest and hardest part!

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