Lauren’s List: How To Function On Little Sleep

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Whether you have kids, work weird hours or simply have trouble falling and staying asleep, you know how tough it can be to function when you haven’t gotten enough Zs.

Drowsiness can affect your response times and your ability to process complex information, but for many of us, naps aren’t an option in our busy lives.

The following “Lauren’s List” has a few proven tips to help you function on little sleep.

  1. Get moving: Whether it’s walking a lap around the cube farm or climbing the stairs, try to make it a point to get up and move every hour or so if you have a typical desk job. If you need to talk to a co-worker, walk to their desk. Basically, if you’re physically moving your muscles, you won’t be dozing off. Don’t feel bad about the short breaks, as research shows productivity increases after the short bursts of physical activity.
  1. Chew gum: Anytime I felt tired while making the long drives to and from Gainesville, I would pop gum in my mouth. I always felt like it woke me up. It seems like I was on to something. A study from the “British Journal of Psychology” found that participants who chewed gum for 15 minutes felt more alert than those who didn’t chew any gum at all. The stimulation of your facial muscles from chewing helps increase blood flow to the head.
  1. Drink more water: Maybe you’re not actually tired, but dehydrated! One study from the “Journal of Nutrition” found that even mild dehydration can cause fatigue and problems concentrating. And there’s a bonus- the more water you drink- the more often you’ll need to get up and go to the restroom. Another excuse to take a break from your desk.
  1. Sit up straight: If you’re dozing off, you’re probably slouching. Making a conscious effort to sit up straight can help! A study from the journal “Health Psychology” found that posture can affect your energy levels; people who sit up straight report feeling more energetic and excited than those who sit slumped at their desk.

What do you do to stay productive if you haven’t had much sleep? Tell me on Facebook or Twitter. Send ideas for future Lauren’s Lists to lpastrana@cbs.com.

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