Centr trainer Luke Zocchi is kneeling on a wooden deck, hands on hips, looking down at a pair of dum
Centr Team

Bad night’s sleep? Here’s how to get through today

Centr Team

You spent all night watching the clock tick closer and closer to alarm time… Now you’re standing in the shower with your head against the tiles to prop yourself up. As hard as you tried last night, sleep just wouldn’t come.

So what do you do now?

First things first, don’t catastrophize. You may feel super shady, your eyes may be stinging, and you may have just poured orange juice onto your cereal, but that’s okay. You have survived when you were tired before, and you will again. It doesn’t have to mean your day is a total write-off.

Be kind to yourself and try these small adjustments to get through the day when you’re running on empty.

If you frequently lie awake at night stressing about getting enough sleep, check out our explainer on sleep anxiety.

1. Get some bright natural light

It can be tempting to stay in your cave when you’re tired. However, sunlight boosts serotonin and improves alertness, so it’s a good way to counteract the effects of being underslept.

Sunlight also regulates your circadian rhythm – which will help you be ready for bed at the end of the day. Our tip: aim for an early morning or midday walk in the sun.

2. Stick to one coffee

More coffee means you’ll be more awake, right? Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work like that. A cup of the black stuff is proven to boost your attention and alertness – but don’t overdo it.

When you’re underslept, you’re already more likely to be anxious and a bit jittery. Too much caffeine will only further spike your heart rate and amplify these issues.

Two drinking jars of Centr's Coffee & Cacao Smoothie with bent, brown straws, rest on a wooden board, with coffee beans scattered around.

We recommend getting your morning caffeine fix with the added nutrition of Angie’s Coffee & Cacao Smoothie, so you have the long-lasting energy you need to make it to the afternoon.

3. Dial down the workout intensity

Poor sleep can lead to delays in your reaction time, alertness and concentration, so this probably isn’t the day to aim for a new personal best with the barbell.

Adjust your routine where needed (for instance, opt for a gentle yoga session over weight training) and try to focus on one thing at a time. Also, safety first: put the punishing cross-country run or long drive off for another day when you’re well rested.

4. Know the rules of napping

Only managed a few hours’ sleep? A nap sounds really great right about now. But before you put your phone on silent and doze off on the couch, here’s what you need to know.

For best results, try taking a nap in the early afternoon for no longer than 20 minutes. This is enough to give you a boost for the rest of the day, without leaving you groggy or unable to get to sleep at night.

If you are experiencing ongoing insomnia, napping is not a good idea as it can reduce your sleep drive.

5. Pause before you react

You’ve probably noticed how you’re much more irritable when you’re tired. A lack of sleep disrupts how your brain processes emotions, which can make it harder to handle the stresses of everyday life. So factor that into your one-on-one interactions during the day – this might not be the time to confront your bestie about her weird emoji reaction to your wedding flashback post.

Your mind is also unlikely to be processing information effectively, so avoid making any life-changing decisions – like investing your entire life savings in crypto or moving to the other side of the world to become an emu farmer.

A portrait shot of Chris Hemsworth looking into the distance, with the header

If struggling with sleep is a recurring theme in your life, try the Power Sleep audio series with Chris Hemsworth.

Take back the power at bedtime with more sleep advice from Centr:

Sign up to unlock your full potential

All your tools in one place

Expert-training to fuel your fitness, nutrition and mindfulness.

Limitless ways to fuel your mind & body

Access to over 3,000 workouts, recipes, and meditations – all tailored to your goals.

Tech that keeps you moving

Download Centr on all your devices to level up and track your results live.