The Day After a Poor Night's Sleep

Learn what to do the day after you have a bad night’s sleep.

Sleep is super important. It can have far-reaching negative effects on your health when you aren't getting good sleep.

Did you have a bad night's sleep last night? Are you dragging this morning, feeling foggy and irritable? There might be some things you can do to help yourself get through the day a little easier and also prepare for a better night's sleep tonight.

Go Ahead and Get Up

If you tossed and turned all night, you might be tempted to stay in bed as long as you possibly can in the morning, trying to rest a little longer. It's probably better for you to go ahead and get up. These last-minute snatches of rest, if you're able to doze off at all, probably aren't going to add up to any meaningful sleep. But what that extra time in bed is likely to do is cut down on your getting ready time, leading to even more stress for the day.

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Additionally, sleeping in can further disrupt your internal clock and overall sleep schedule. That might lead to a miserable night's sleep tonight too.

Try to get up at your regular time, even if you didn't sleep much. It might be hard to drag yourself out of bed, but it will help your day go a bit smoother in the long run.

Do a Little Exercise

If it's possible before you need to be somewhere, do a little exercise the morning after a lousy night's sleep. It might seem like the last thing you want to do, but getting yourself up and moving can help you feel better.

Not only will movement help you get going on a day when you might otherwise be pretty tired, but it can also help you sleep better tonight. Regular exercise improves people's overall sleep patterns. Just don't do it right before bed, or it might raise your adrenaline levels and keep you up.

Get Some Morning Sunshine

If you can get outside for 20 minutes or so for some sun exposure in the morning, it can help you reset your circadian rhythm and might give you a better night's sleep tonight. And, for the rough day you're already having because of a bad night's sleep, the sunshine can actually make you feel better.

Sun exposure can reduce stress. Vitamin D from the sun helps you feel better, especially when you get it regularly. Just be sure to protect your eyes and don't stay out too long because too much sun might contribute to the development of skin cancer.

Learn more: "Sunlight Exposure at the Right Time Can Help Lower Your BMI."

Have Your Morning Coffee

If you usually drink some caffeine in the morning, have your normal amount on the day after a miserable night's sleep. Try not to have extra, and don't extend your caffeine consumption later into the day. If you do, it might actually keep you up tonight too.

Stay Away from Alcohol

If you had a poor night's sleep last night, try to avoid alcohol today. It might make you feel drowsy, like you'll fall asleep easier, and you may. However, alcohol can cause people to wake up after a few hours or sleep fitfully all night. If you've had a poor night's sleep, avoid compounding it by imbibing.

Don't Have too Many Carbs in the Morning

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When you have a miserable night's sleep, your body might actually crave carbs in the morning. In fact, people who don't sleep well have been shown to eat up to 385 more calories the following day (H K Al Khatib, 2016).

Instead, have some nice, lean protein for breakfast and watch your carb intake throughout the day. Have a light dinner a few hours before bedtime. A heavy, carb-laden meal will negatively impact tonight's sleep. Try a salad with some lean protein like grilled chicken on top.

Avoid Big Decisions and Emotional Conversations

Give yourself a break from volatile situations as much as possible on a day after a poor night's sleep. Fatigue can negatively affect your judgment, leaving you more inclined to making snap decisions that you might not make if you're well-rested. Focus on getting a good night's sleep tonight and tackle the hard stuff tomorrow.

Try a Sleep Tonic Before Bed

To help ensure tonight's sleep is more restful than last night's, try this healthy sleep tonic. You can even keep some by your bed and take a spoonful if you do wake up during the night tonight.

Check this article for more tips on how to get back to sleep if you wake up tonight: "Getting Back to Sleep: 14 Tips for Falling Back to Sleep When You Wake up Too Soon."


Works Cited

  1. H K Al Khatib, S. V. (2016, Nov. 2). The effects of partial sleep deprivation on energy balance: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Retrieved from DOI: doi:10.1038/ejcn.2016.201.


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Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. Do not take any supplements without first consulting with your physician if you are on any prescription or over-the-counter medications.