Navigating the Day After a Poor Night of Sleep
Last updated: September 2023
I think out of all the questions I get asked about living with insomnia, the most frequently ones are, "How do you volley back? When you have a bad night of sleep, how do you recover? Do you feel like you need to recover every morning, or is it more often sporadically? I don't know how I could live like that - it sounds so tedious."
And to be honest, my first response is always one of annoyance. It isn't a choice to live with insomnia, it's not something I caused or something that I can end. And it's something I've struggled hard with since childhood. And so living with it, bouncing back after it - by proxy those aren't choices either. They're requirements for my daily life.
Breaking the fast
I'll say that for me, every day starts with a small amount of caffeine, just to get going. Now, the "wake-up's" or the "turn-overs" that my brain overthinking on how difficult of a sleep night it has been the evening prior, sometimes they increase my regular order by adding another shot of espresso or just generally starting with a larger cup size.
Health proteins are important for my mornings too. I find that 1 or 2 scoops of peanut butter alone or on a piece of bread or crackers really helps my brain to get going.
Motion without commotion
Movement is another tool I use in my recovery tool box. Many of the mornings after a bad night's sleep are the mornings I feel least like moving in the slightest. I would much rather curl up under a weighted sleep mask and blanket, and find myself in some sort of peaceful REM sleep.
But we don't all have time to reset our sleep routine in the middle of the day, or the luxury to put aside our tasks and responsibilities in order take a nap. Sp, I've found some sort of adult adjustment - the motion without the commotion!
Going for a walk around my neighborhood in the morning is my favorite way to sort of combat the bad sleep hangover life, especially when paired with caffeine and some sunshine or my favorite pup on a leash.
Navigating the day after a sleepless night
I'm not going to lie - in writing these out I also recognize that each of these requires someone to have extra time and resources in their day. While many of our readers here might be willing to try anything at least once to see if it makes their insomnia fallout any smaller, I would be surprised if someone was successfully able to implement and get consistent with one of more of these habits.
Finally, I'm going to be honest and say what I know a lot of you are wondering about. Sometimes navigating the morning after bad sleep means calling in reinforcements.
A quick haircut so you don't have to do your own shower and blowout, a call to your partner to help with daily tasks or the kids, a call to your parents, or in-laws to show up and take over while you get some time to reset, and even a conversation with your boss - if being too sick prevents us from from being able to accurately and adequately do our jobs, I imagine being overly exhausted does as well.
What do you think?
What do you do at night when you can't sleep?