As we embrace a fast paced lifestyle and indulge into more and more hours of work, heaps of workload and meeting deadlines, there is only little time left for sleep. Modern day’s hectic routines call for longer duty hours while the rest time keeps shrinking, so much so, that a great majority is left with only 4-5 hours of sleep.
Although scientific research has confirmed that sleeping less than 7 hours a day can be the leading cause for a number of cardiac diseases as well as neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s, some life situations don’t allow you to rest for your desired duration. During such times, here are some hacks you can use to function on 4 hours of sleep.
1. Exercising Regularly
While you might prefer staying under the covers for another half an hour over exercising, this actually works against your activity cycle. Exercising doesn’t make you feel tired, in fact, you end up feeling fresh, active and energetic than ever.
Recent studies have also indicated that individuals who cut back on their sleep to exercise have found themselves to feel more active throughout the day. Not only does daily exercise increases your stamina, but smoothens cardiovascular functioning, which aids in preventing cardiac diseases in the long run. Exercise isn’t restricted to a 30 minute jog in the morning or your gym. In order to beat dizziness, you need to perform some active exercise every hour.
This could be something as simple as taking the stairs from the ground to the fourth floor, or anything that gets your heart racing.
2. Have Coffee
Coffee and tea are life savers when it comes to functioning on few hours of sleep. Caffeine basically serves as a nervous stimulant that keeps you on the go. According to the Food and Drug Administration, caffeine takes an hour to reach its intensity when consumed, and keeps you active for a good five to six hours. Caffeine assists you in staying awake by blocking the sleep inducing chemicals (adenosine receptor) in your brain and enhances your responsiveness and cognitive functions considerably.
Not only is it beneficial when it comes to staying awake, but also increases your energy levels and prevents you from acting sluggish all day. Some people, however, are not great admirers of caffeine (God knows why!) and avoid it as much as possible. If you are surviving on 4 hours of sleep but are still not up for taking coffee, alternatives like coconut water, nutty smoothies, prebiotic drinks, tea or wheatgrass juice will prove to be a healthier option.
3. Hot and Cold Hydrotherapy
We all take morning showers in the hope that we’ll end up feeling refreshed. Truth is, that taking warm (or cool showers), for that matter, triggers sleep signals, inducing deep sleep among individuals. This is contrary to our belief of staying energetic and active through the day once we’ve showered.
However, there is another tested way to keep you awake when struggling with fewer sleep hours. This trick has been used by mankind for thousands of years and is known as hot and cold hydrotherapy. It involves switching between hot and cold water simultaneously, for 30 seconds each. While the cold water helps open your eyes up, hot water opens up capillaries, allowing for better circulation.
This may sound discomforting at first, but is a tested technique to help you keep active and as a bonus, also relieves stress and cures depression.
4. Sunlight Exposure
Exposure to bright light can prove to be very effective in increasing responsiveness and alertness early morning. This exposure can be both, natural or artificial. Sunlight exposure gives a boost to your daytime energy, by regulating circadian rhythms. Getting 30-60 mins of daily sunbathing is a must if you’re trying to keep up with a hectic routine.
You don’t necessarily have to spare time for that and can continue your daily to-do tasks in areas where direct sunlight reaches.
5. Get Power Naps
As hard as it may be to get 7-8 hours of sleep, try and spare 20 mins during the afternoon to get a power nap. Power naps increase alertness by giving your cognitive functions a boost and help you get back to work feeling refreshed.