11 Things to Do After a Bad Night's Sleep

Fake it till you make it

sleep 734

It starts out innocently enough. “I’ll watch one episode of Empire,” you say. Before you know it, you’re three-quarters through the season and it’s morning.

Whether you can’t stop watching Cookie’s boss-lady antics, were up with a crying baby or had a wild night out sans kiddos, sleepless nights happen to the best of us.

But you have a life to attend to, and an hours-long nap is out of the question. So what’s a bleary-eyed gal to do?

For starters, resist hitting the snooze button. Find out why, along with ten other tips for making it through the day after a rough night’s sleep.

alarm clock 728

Resist The Urge To Snooze

Whatever you do, don’t hit the snooze button--you’re just delaying the inevitable. On top of that, the few minutes of sleep you’re buying yourself isn’t the restorative type that will help in the long run.

woman opening curtains

Let The Sunshine In

Open the curtains and hope it’s bright out. When exposed to sunlight, your body stops producing melatonin (a hormone involved with sleepiness) and gets the signal that it’s time to get going. Bonus: You now have another reason to sport sunglasses.

woman in bathtub

Take A Cold Shower

But don’t go for a full-on freeze. The trick is in the timing: Shower as you normally would, but after scrubbing and shampooing, turn the water as cold as it goes for 30 seconds. After that, crank it back to a steamy temp for 30 seconds, followed by a final blast of cold. This method increases blood flow and provides a sense of stimulation.

woman running


Whether you’re a morning exerciser or not, consider the benefits of a quick a.m. workout on days you’re struggling to get moving. Exercise promotes blood circulation, and blood circulation promotes attention, meaning a quick jog will do you a world of good as you head to work.

woman in mirror

Use Makeup To Your Advantage

Slather on an eye cream with caffeine to combat puffiness and dark circles. Another eye secret is white eyeliner. When applied to your water line (that ledge between your eyeball and your lashes), it instantly brightens your peepers. If your tired eyes just won’t hide, swipe on some bright lipstick to draw attention to another part of your face.


Drink Coffee, But Not Too Much

Caffeine perks you up, duh. But be careful not to overdo it: Research shows that two cups of joe will make you as alert as you’re going to get, so drink those two and then switch to water.

scrambled eggs 728

Eat Wisely

As tempting as it is to get an instantaneous sugar fix, steer clear of empty calories and stick to healthy proteins and whole grains (like scrambled eggs or avocado chicken salad) instead. Sugar will help in the short term, but the subsequent crash is so… not… worth… it. Also avoid heavy meals, which will make you even sleepier.

water woman 728

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

You know that staying hydrated is important every day, but it’s especially crucial when you’re tired. While you’re at it, throw a few ice cubes into your glass. Cold beverages are more refreshing and can increase alertness.

woman walking728

Take A Walk

Tiredness typically peaks between 1 and 3 p.m., making it as good a time as ever to get up and take a quick stroll. Go outside, if you can, for a triple dose of fresh air, leg moving and, yes, more natural sunlight.

woman headphones 728

Create A Pump-up Playlist

If you’re able to listen to music at work, do it. Just be mindful of the genre: For staying awake, think Nicki Minaj, not Simon and Garfunkel.

woman sleeping 728

Don't Overcompensate

You may want to sleep for 12 hours the next night, but try to stick to seven or eight. The faster you get back onto your normal sleep schedule, the better you’ll feel.

sarah stiefvater
Sarah Stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...
read full bio