How To Get Through Your Work Day When Sleep Deprived

For years you have heard well meaning health and lifestyle experts been bleating the mantra, "Make sure you get your eight hours sleep each night." In reality, however only a small minority can manage this. For most of us, if you think that you are going to consistently get eight hours sleep a night,'re probably already dreaming. In this world of continually wanting to do more and more in less time, rest is still regarded as a luxury or an interruption to the long list of daily to-dos. If you are not burning the midnight oil trying to beat a deadline many other things can conspire against you in your quest for some elusive slumber. Snoring partners, restless children and your own mind that won't switch off generally ensure that you will join the masses of the sleep deprived.

And if you also contemplated having a social life and occasionally go out for the evening then you better be grateful for whatever sleep you can muster.

Even when you have a poor night's sleep you are often greeted by a full schedule for the following day. So how can you get through a busy day in an efficient and productive manner when you are feeling flat from not having enough sleep?

In coming up with three important strategies to keep you charged during the day I assumed that you have no free time in your day. All of these three tips can be done while you are doing work.

Boosting Energy For Sleep Deprived Workers Tip No. 1


Sunlight is better than a double espresso in the morning in terms of giving you a kick-start in the morning. Light of any form immediately shuts off the production of the drowsy chemical called melatonin, letting your body know it is time to get up and get going. So if you are aiming to be awake around dawn, leave the curtains open so the natural sunlight can shine on you in the morning.

The earlier in the morning that you get natural sunlight on your skin the better it is for your energy. Otherwise, as soon as you are up, turn the inside lights on and the brighter the lights the brighter you will be.

Anytime you are feeling a bit flat or sleepy during the day ensure that your sleepy chemicals have been switched off by getting some sunshine on your shoulder.

Boosting Energy For Sleep Deprived Workers No. 2

Rub Your Adrenal Gland Pressure Points

In the 1930s Dr. Frank Chapman, osteopath discovered these pressure points he named "Chapman's reflexes" (1) that when rubbed, can effect the flushing of lymphatic vessels of particular glands and organs. These same pressure points were later found to be associated with particular muscles and meridians in Chinese acupuncture (2). Rubbing these points is a simple and convenient way to help drain and flush toxins away from fatigued and congested muscles, glands and organs.

When you are feeling run down and lacking sleep it often means that your adrenal gland is under stress. Your adrenal glands are responsible for producing our get up and go chemical called adrenalin. In fact, scientists have found that insomnia can be caused by adrenal stress (3).

To help your body re-balance the function of your adrenal gland, rub the adrenal pressure points. It's located one inch out and two inches up from your belly button on both sides. Rub these points for as long as you like. The more stress you're under and the more fatigued that you feel the longer and harder you should rub these points.

Boosting Energy For Sleep Deprived Workers No. 3

No Afternoon Coffee

Studies have shown that the more coffee (or other caffeinated beverages) you drink the harder it is to fall asleep, the less time you will stay asleep and the poorer quality of sleep you will have (4). If you absolutely must have a coffee to help keep you alert during the day, have it in the morning to minimize the interference to your sleep. You may consider having a cup of tea in the afternoon to keep you alert with the study also showing that drinking tea has similar alerting affects to coffee but is less likely to disrupt sleep in the future.

Although nothing can beat a good night's sleep, a few simple tweaks to your lifestyle can help you get through a challenging day with greater ease.


1) Owens, C., An Endocrine Interpretation of Chapman's Reflexes, 2nd ed, Chattanooga, TN, Chattanooga Printing and Engraving, 1937.

2) Goodheart, G.J., Jr., Applied Kinesiology (Detroit: privately published, 1964)

3) Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Aug 2001; 86:3787-3794

4) Hindmarch, I. Et al. A naturalistic investigation of the effects of daylong consumption of tea, coffee and water on alertness, sleep onset and sleep quality. Psychopharmacology (Berl), 2000 Apr: 149 (3): 203-16


Dr. Paul Lanthois is a chiropractor, speaker and work life balance expert. He is the director of The Work Life Balance Foundation which provides health, stress management and work-life balance lifestyle programs specifically for businesses and their employees. Dr. Lanthois has been a successful Australian chiropractor for nearly 20 years. He has spoken to many business and community groups such as Optus Telecommunications,&nb...

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