How to Stay Productive on a 4 Hour Sleep Cycle

Ideally, we need around seven to eight hours of sleep to function optimally. But we don’t live in an ideal world and sometimes the most we can get is four or less. Still, life goes on. We have to get up early next morning, go to our job, and do them. Effectively.

Sleep deprivation plagues 1 in 3 Americans, which leads to many long-term effects including high blood pressure, memory loss, and a weakened immune system. And in the short-term, sleep deprivation may cause an inability to focus, cognitive shortcomings, and irritability.

There is no substitute for a good night’s sleep, something the guys at Betway didn’t get when they got hit by a whopping $1.5 million tax bill from Kenya.

But fortunately, there are a few ways to get around sleep deprivation.

Try these routines to help you function when you’re sleep-deprived

Being sleep-deprived is not ideal. But many people including some billionaires and top CEO’s have all claimed they manage to function with four hours of sleep or less.

If they can do it, anyone can. Here are some ways to get around sleep deprivation:

Take a cold shower

Take a cold shower

 Few things shout “HELLO!” louder than a blast of cold water hitting your body. Yes, taking cold showers has said to generate a slew of health benefits including mental alertness and reduced stress levels.

Waking up and taking a cold shower will not only slap you awake, but it will give you a slight boost of energy to start your day. Taking cold showers when you wake up around three to four times a week can also help minimize your risk of depression.

Exercise – lift some weights, go running

It’s your choice whether you exercise before or after a cold shower (each has its own benefits) but try pumping some iron or going for a job when you wake up.

Exercising will not only wake you up, but it also strengthens your immune system and helps sharpen your mind. Working out produces endorphins, which trigger positive feelings. And feeling happier is a solid edge you’ll need to start your day.

Alternatively, you can also try doing some light exercises in the middle of the day when you feel your energy starting to drop.

Eat light meals and energy-boosting snacks frequently

It’s sad to say, but the normal meal routine for many people now is to skip breakfast, eat fast food during lunch, then pig out during dinner. This meal routine is one of the contributors to obesity and should be avoided.

Instead, eat a heavy and healthy breakfast. The ideal breakfast will be rich in fiber, protein, and include some fat. Food like fruits, whole grains, and lean protein like egg whites and chicken breast are recommended.

Alternatively, you can also keep snacking on these food items throughout the day as a power snack. Toss in some protein bars and lean sandwiches and you’re golden.

Take some caffeine (in spurts)

Take some caffeine

Caffeine has taken its fair share of criticism with many now starting to vilify it. But when you’re sleep deprived, you need all the help you can get. Having a cup of coffee or two within four to six hours of each other should suffice.

You can also opt for green tea, which is rich in antioxidants,  if coffee starts giving you the jitters. Just stay away from energy drinks or relying solely on coffee.

Complete the most important and/or difficult tasks first

Whenever you can, complete the most pressing or difficult tasks right when you get to work. This should already be the priority even on days when you’ve gotten enough rest, but this is even more important now.

While you still have energy to spare, complete the tasks that require more concentration and critical thinking. If you can’t complete this, you may have to reschedule or delegate if that’s within your capability.

Stretch and go for walks

If you’ve done all the routines above, you could have breezed through the first half of work with no problems. But the second half is when the effects of sleep deprivation might start taking effect.

Stretch and go for walks any time you have a chance. A good rule of thumb is to get up from your seat at least once every hour whether it’s to go to the washroom or have a brief chat with a coworker.

Doing this can break the monotony of your work and give you a small energy bump.

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