How Do I Cope with Sleepless Nights?
Take an afternoon nap | Maximise your sleep quality | Take stimulating nootropics in the morning | Use adaptogens for better focus and stress reduction
Sleepless nights are to be expected for parents with babies, but for some parents with toddlers who have trouble sleeping, the sleep deprivation becomes chronic. Elderly people, too, sometimes struggle to sleep. Sleep deprivation over a long period of time is disastrous for your energy and therefore for your performance and health.
You can often do little about the broken nights themselves. What you need is a box of tricks to compensate for this discomfort, so that you still feel energetic during the day.
An afternoon nap
Research shows that an afternoon nap is effective and can compensate for both an interrupted night and a short night.
- A short night: People who get up early can 'catch up' on their sleep with a nap. [*]
- You can also use the nap to recharge yourself mentally, for more energy, improved concentration and to preserve memories. [*]
The length of an afternoon nap
How long you should sleep depends on why you need an afternoon nap.
10 - 20 minutes: for mental performance
A 10-20 minute power nap is effective for immediate energy and alertness. These short naps are ideal when you need to perform immediately after waking up. This benefit is usually enjoyed for 1-3 hours after waking up.
90+ minutes: for a lack of sleep
An afternoon nap of at least 90 minutes is sufficient to make up for a sleep deficit from the previous night. A longer nap improves cognitive performance up to hours after waking. Sleeping longer also helps to retain memories and is therefore perfect for someone who has been studying or has a lot of information to process. [*]
The best time of day to take a nap
Generally, six hours after getting up is advised for an afternoon nap. [*] That's because cortisol boosts your alertness and productivity. [*] Therefore, you don't want to plan your afternoon nap at the time when your cortisol is still peaking. Cortisol shows a natural "dip" five to seven hours after you wake up. That's the time when you want to go to sleep in the afternoon. [*]
What you also need to take into account is that caffeine works its way through the body for about 5 hours and takes up to 10 hours to fully process. Therefore, you can imagine that sleeping at 1:00 p.m. becomes difficult if you have been drinking coffee as late as noon. [*]
Let's say you get up at 07:00 and you drink your coffee around 08:00 then you can take a nap at 13:00.
Maximise your sleep quality
More sleep may not be possible when you have a baby, but there are strategies to maximise the little sleep you do get. By avoiding blue light (from screens and lamps) in the evening, you trigger your body's production of melatonin (the sleep hormone). The result? You'll get tired on your own - and perhaps as early as 9.30pm. Blue light filter glasses are the simplest way to block blue light. You can improve the quality of your sleep by not drinking coffee after 2pm. Stopping eating, snacking and drinking alcohol three hours before bedtime also has a positive impact on your sleep quality. You should preferably eat as early and as light an evening meal as possible.
To perform well during the day, it is ultimately about getting as long a continuous sleep as possible (preferably at least four hours, if that is feasible). Repeatedly waking up in the middle of a sleep cycle means that you miss REM sleep. This is essential for learning and memory. If you aim for uninterrupted sleep of more than four hours, you will probably achieve the REM sleep.
The timing of this interrupted sleep depends on whether you are a morning person or an evening person, although you do want to schedule it somewhere between 8pm and midnight. [*]
The later you go to bed, the less deep and restorative your sleep will be. The reduction in deep sleep, the most important sleep phase for physical and mental recovery, makes you less fit the next day. [*]
Use stimulating nootropics in the morning
Have you tried everything and still wake up groggy every morning? Then what you might consider are stimulating natural nootropics, such as coffee and green tea.
A nootropic sounds very exciting, but in fact it is a nutrient, herb or hormone that supports the brain and mental performance. We will explain the effect by means of a concrete example:
The body uses different signals to wake you up in the morning and activate you for the day. Every morning your cortisol rises. This is how you naturally wake up when not using an alarm clock. Then your cortisol drops during the morning and is at its lowest point in the evening. Cortisol activates your sympathetic nervous system. This part of the nervous system makes your body active and the mind alert, ready for action.
Substances that activate your body and mind in the same way are called stimulants.
Caffeine, as mentioned earlier, is a popular nootropic found in coffee and tea. But if you already consume caffeinated drinks on a daily basis, it probably doesn't do much for you anymore. In that case, you could take a stimulant supplement that prepares your body and mind for the day.
The Strong Morning nootropic supplement therefore contains, in addition to caffeine, tyrosine and other natural raw materials for the production of activating neurotransmitters (dopamine, adrenaline and noradrenaline). Neurotransmitters are like the messengers between your brain and your body. Nerve cells use neurotransmitters as a signal substance for mutual communication. You want to be sure that the nerve cells have enough raw materials to work extra hard under the influence of the stimulants.
Do you hardly drink any coffee? Then the caffeine in Strong Morning is an effective ingredient for you. By taking the supplement, you will experience extra alertness, which you miss as a frequent coffee drinker.
Whether you are a coffee drinker or not, the most invigorating effect can be achieved by taking Strong Morning in combination with a short, brisk workout and/or cold shower.
Use adaptogens for better focus and stress reduction
At noon, you are halfway through your working day. Around this time your energy naturally drops. The coffee of the morning has worn off and you are a bit sleepy from lunch.
This is the time when you could use some support for your mind and energy. The herbs and minerals in Power Day will help. Chromium helps keep your blood sugar normal. Together with Panax ginseng, chromium also supports your energy levels. Zinc, Rhodiola and Panax ginseng contribute to mental resilience and normal cognitive functions. Zinc and Rhodiola help you stay balanced in stress situations.
If you take Power Day every day at noon and apply the sleep tips mentioned, you already have a lot in place to perform well during the day.
The supplements Strong Morning and Power Day are part of a complete ritual of four supplements that respond to your day-night rhythm. The other supplements in the box, called Circadian Boost, are Evening Star and Optimal Sleep. Evening Star replenishes your energy, so you can start the day energetically the next day. Optimal Sleep is an advanced sleep supplement that you take two hours before bed for a good night's sleep.
There are a number of tools you can use to help make up for broken nights. Do you work from home or a hybrid? Then take an afternoon nap about 5-7 hours after getting up. A siesta of 10-20 minutes is sufficient to perform 1-3 mentally afterwards. Want to make up for lack of sleep? Then go for a 90-minute siesta.
Don't have the luxury of catching up on your daytime sleep? Then make sure you get as much quality sleep as possible. You can read more tips about quality sleep here. For alertness in the morning you can take the supplement Strong Morning. In the afternoon, when your focus usually decreases, Power Day is the solution to keep on working with energy.