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This is how to stay productive after a bad night's sleep

LIFESTYLE
By Mirror | July 19th 2015

Whether you're suffering from a raging hangover or crippling stress, psychiatrist Lucy Potter can tell you how to manage your morning after a restless night.

What do you do when your alarm goes off and the terror of going to work with no sleep sets in?

You can probably think of nothing better than stifling the racket and snoozing back to bed. But if that isn't an option, how do you get the most out of these hateful days?

With Bill Clinton and Madonna among the ranks of self-declared insomniacs, and one third of the population describing either difficulty falling or staying asleep, nighttime wakefulness is a huge problem.

Studies have shown a range of negative effects, from fatigue and irritability in the initial stages, to more serious implications for your health including changes to your mood, weight and blood pressure if the problems persist.

Here’s our guide on how to get through the morning when you haven't had enough sleep:

7 o’clock - Don’t press snooze

Get up as soon as your alarm goes off to avoid feeling sleepy all day. Sleep specialist Michael Breus of thesleepdoctor.com explains hitting snooze interferes with your REM sleep, which is the most restorative stage, and it affects your body clock.

"The circadian rhythms that govern your internal timer want you to wake when the alarm sounds - the first time," he said.

"Retreat back into sleep however and these rhythms get thrown off".

7.30 - Eat up and drink plenty

When we wake our hydration levels are usually low which worsens fatigue, so remember to have a glass of water.

You also need to maintain your energy levels. Eating breakfast will help improve your concentration. Go for complex carbs like porridge which will ensure a steady release of energy throughout the morning.

8 o’clock - Get active and go outside

Exercise releases endorphins which make you feel good and more alert. Think about walking part of the way to work, maybe get off the bus a stop early.

But be careful not to overdo it. With lack of sleep your energy is depleted, so you don’t want to blow your energy reserves. Also, getting out in the daylight will stimulate the light receptors in your eyes to help keep you awake.

8.30 - Starbucks (Tall not Grande)

Caffeine affects chemical messages in our nervous system, which can improve how alert we are. But it’s best in moderation.

Doctors suggest no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine for adults per day, which is about 4 cups of coffee.

9 o'clock - Aim high

Tackle your hardest jobs of the day first. Although you’ll want to avoid them, don’t succumb to procrastination.

Orfeu Buxton, a professor of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School says 'get critical tasks out of the way first' because this is the most awake you’ll be all day and you should make the most of it.

9.30 - Keep on Moving

Take a break from your desk to move around. Even on a good night’s sleep sitting in front of your computer all day will leave you yawning.

Little nudge is a great app for your PC that has been designed by physiotherapists and will remind you to stretch your arms and legs.

10 o'clock - Stay busy and switch it up

Try and break up your work into smaller chunks. If you notice that you’re slowing down switch to something else for a bit and see if this improves your efficiency. Then you can try going back to the original project you were working on.

If your sleep continues to trouble you, it’s important to seek help and there are plenty of resources available.

Earlier this year, the NHS Innovation Accelerator announced their support of Sleepio. Sleepio is a digital sleep improvement programme available online, which has been shown to help people conquer their problems with poor sleep.

By completing a series of weekly sessions, users learn cognitive and behavioural techniques from a virtual professor. It has been shown to help 65% of patients and is supported by leading sleep expert Professor Colin Espie from the University of Oxford.

The team behind Sleepio told Mirror Online: "Having no sleep has a huge effect on productivity. We often treat our need for sleep as an optional extra, when we should prioritise it because good sleep delivers good daytime wellbeing, affecting our energy, concentration, mood and personal functioning."

Here are Professor Espie’s top tips for a better night’s sleep:

It is really important to save our sleep for nighttime, as it strengthens the bed-sleep connection.

Start relaxing and preparing for sleep at least 60-90 minutes before bed. Plan your routine – but don’t be too rigid, it’s a time to relax!

Stop any work or intense activity, don’t have any intense conversations and spend some time doing other things before getting into the immediate pre-bed activities of brushing your teeth, putting your pyjamas on, setting your alarm clock etc.

Go to bed only when you feel sleepy. The number of hours sleep you need is as individual as your shoe size. Don’t assume you need the often-quoted 7-8 hours - in fact a shorter sleep may mean a better quality sleep

For more information on Sleepio check out their website and if you need help from technology, here are six gadgets to help you nod off.

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