The Most Non-Scientific Ways to Get Through a Sleepy Day

Read the news lately about sleep deprivation? Um, it’s completely terrifying.

Now, on top of worrying about the ozone layer, global warming, Florida drivers and odd occurrences, random acts of God, mosquito bites, cancers of any kind, living up to my potential, being kidnapped for 10+ years, and shootings from fundamentalists from any religion, now I have to fear that lack of sleep will make me gain weight and die earlier. Great. Just awesome.

I’ve always been a nocturnal person, and it just seems like life is stacked against people like me. Even when I was little, like 3 or 4, my parents realized how completely futile bedtime enforcement was, and so instead, they simply instructed me to keep my door closed after 8 pm and not come back out. I could do whatever I wanted as long as I was quiet and stayed in that room. Easy peasy.

I’ve been in the working field now for almost 6 years (including graduate school, which, let’s face it, is the most stressful thing you’ve never been prepared for), and I STILL cannot get used to waking up early and working until 5 pm. I’m a useless sack of skin until around 3 pm, and that’s only if I’ve gotten a 20 minute nap somewhere in there. No nap, and my usefulness to society doesn’t actually begin until about 20 minutes until 5.

This is me, every day I’ve ever had to work. Which is every day, every week, every year, until I die.

Everyone keeps telling me that I’ll get used to it eventually, but they are all liars, I’ve decided. You simply cannot make someone whose normal internal clock runs from 11 am until 12 am to get up and do anything productive at 6:30 am until 5 pm. It would be like telling Amanda Bynes to adopt a work ethic like Helen Mirren. IT DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY.

Have you ever tried to do something sleep-deprived? Of course you have. Anyone who has kids can also attest to this, although parents are driven by some primal desire to not kill their kids to propagate their genes or something like that. I’m driven by my incessant need to sleep until I’m naturally ready to wake up. I crave sleep all the time. And whenever I do have kids, it’s only going to get worse. I will be a monster.

It’s gotten to the point where my level of desiring sleep and my level of frustration with the ridiculousness of all this are almost the same.

Even as I type this post, I’m struggling with the thought of saving a draft and taking a nap instead of finishing. Pathetic. Am I ever going to grow out of this? Will I always have to be subjected to unfair working conditions and expectations simply because my circadian clock (which is basically your internal sleep/awake clock) is off a few hours from everyone else’s?

I don’t have the answers. What I do have are my ways of getting through a work day when you’re plagued by sleep deprivation. Here’s how I do it:

  • Alarms (yes, plural) go off at 6 am. I hit snooze every 7-9 minutes. Attempt to calculate how much sick time I have built up and if I can use any for today. More than likely, the answer is no. Now I’m just mad.

    this has happened at every hour of the night. Mostly, I hate everything and everyone when the alarm buzzes.

  • I have a huge cup of coffee in the morning, set to brew automatically at 6:30 am so that I don’t have to get up and do it. This is a key point. I do not get up any earlier than I absolutely have to. This includes sacrificing showers, making up cute outfits, and eating breakfast at home.
  • Finally get out of bed at 6:45 am. Coffee is now not going to burn my face off when I get in the car and start drinking.
  • Speaking of breakfast, I pack breakfast to eat in the car or at the office. I cannot remember the last time I ever ate breakfast at home during a workday. It would require me to wake up earlier, and that ain’t happening.
  • I’ve refined my ability to get dressed and put on makeup in less than 5 minutes. I’m a pro at flawless makeup application in less than 3 minutes, and this includes all-over foundation, bronzer, blush, eyeshadows (usually 2 shades), eyeliner, and Vaseline on lips and eyelashes (which is a great substitute for mascara. No clumps, no black crap, and shiny, separated lashes). This also includes putting on jewelry and shoe selection. A pro, I tell you.
  • I normally don’t have to walk Floyd in the early morning or feed him because he’s dead asleep. He’s an amazing sleeper and I’m so thankful for a pet that doesn’t wake you up to tell you he’s ready to be walked and fed before you’re done REM-ing.
  • Morning sex? What the hell is that? (Moms, cover your eyes).
  • I’m in the car by 7 am. I now listen to the radio on the way to work, and only one station because they make me laugh. I’ve always been a huge advocate of satellite radio, but it puts me to sleep on my hour+ commute in the morning. When I listen to the radio station, I go into somewhat of a fugue state and all of the sudden, I’m at work!
  • At work between 8 and 8:15 am. I eat breakfast, check all my emails, read no less than 5 different online news outlets, and decide whether or not to update my blogs (the actual updating won’t happen until way later in the day, when my brain actually starts to form thoughts). I’ll answer emails here and there while trying not to nod off at my desk. I will also shift positions in my chair every 5 minutes because of back pain. The back pain is usually the only thing that keeps me awake enough at the office in the morning.
  • I think about how all this sitting is shaving years off of my life, and adding that to the lack of sleep, my fear will wake me up long enough to walk through the office to retrieve copies of something.
  • Lunch time! Sleep on my couch or do anything else, like eat. Sleep usually wins.
  • 1 pm rolls around. If I haven’t had any meetings, I will likely have them in the afternoon which will provide just enough adrenaline to keep me alert and awake. If no meetings, the afternoon is just a rapid descent into hell.

    Imagine this person with a much cuter shirt and female parts, and this is me every day.

  • No meetings in the afternoon leaves me wanting to stuff my face with snacks out of boredom and sleepiness. Instead, I log on incessantly to FB and hope that someone posts enough stuff to keep me entertained. I also check People online and make fun of celebrities and their “fashion”.
  • 3 pm starts. I may need coffee or I may become a different person entirely. I start to feel motivation to produce and I normally can get all my tasks for that day done in the last 2-3 hours of the day. I’m the fastest worker you have ever seen during this period of time.
  • 6 pm is here. Time to surrender and cry tears of self-pity as I drive 2 hours home in a sleep-stupor or walk 3.5 miles in St. Pete in order to avoid traffic and get exercise. It’s really a crapshoot.
  • 8 pm. Finally at home. So devastated from attempting to make it through yet another entire day on little to no sleep that the only thing I can comprehend is an episode of Real Housewives or Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Attempts at making conversation with me will make my blood boil and my head explode.
  • Try to get into bed around 10 or 10:30 pm. Make chamomile tea. Read. Anything to induce sleep. End up falling asleep at midnight. Shit.

Those are my ways of getting through the day, with little to no scientific proof to back up any of my methods. Learn and take what you can to apply to your lives. Or talk to your doctor. Either one.

Unless you’re one of those morning people. In that case, go jump off of something high and dangerous. You’re not welcome here.

♥, VB

150 thoughts on “The Most Non-Scientific Ways to Get Through a Sleepy Day

  1. Very true to me too. I can’t talk to anyone before 10am. I schedule all my meetings after mid day and if I am working between 5pm and 8pm, I get more done than a whole day of working between 8am and 5pm!

  2. When I worked third shift I got more done then when I worked an 8 to 5 job. I too was the one begging for the night shifts. I have two children and became a light sleeper when they were born. Now I can wake up at the drop of a hat, which is just plain irritating. Once I am up, I cannot go back to sleep. I live in Florida, and have to agree with the drivers here. I have lived in or been in 48 states and 4 countries. I have never witnessed a more diverse nature of drivers than in Florida.
    Awesome post, love the collaboration.

  3. I am actually trying to sleep at the moment, and instead of closing my eyes, i decided to message several friends, write a blog and read others’. What else to do…

  4. Simple answer – more dogs like the one in the opening picture! Five or more should do it – they collectively tell me when to get up in the morning and they want to PLAY until late in the evening. Work is a nice break in between various routine, fun, exciting, frustrating, and unmentionable dog things (maybe the dogs have the right idea – they nap while I work). If having something like a Dairy Farm with teeth is not enough to keep you going, coffee (but no snacks) helps!

    Then, by 11:00 PM, when things have settled down, ninety minutes of work will still allow five (or on a rainy morning six) hours of sleep before the dogs start the day.

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  6. How refreshing to read your post … Thank God, I’m not the only one! I’ve tried to change my internal clock so many times, only to find myself feeling more odd & more like a fish struggling to swim against the current! Thanks for a great article! I’ve permalinked it …. Thank You!!

  7. Haha, I know exactly how you feel… I have tried the whole “work at the office all day” thing and I do not want to do that again.. The center of my life would be sleep, and I think life should be about more than just being tired!

  8. Have you tried to change your work time? I have been there alright, having myself adjusted to night better than noon. I managed to convert my nocturnal behaviour into normal people habit: working from 9 or 10am to 5pm but I know this wouldn’t be easy. However, I have to admit that working at night is so much fun because no lousy people’s chatters and less distraction are found.
    Your tips seem promising. I would like to try one or two.

  9. lol! Love this! I’ve been in day jobs for over a decade now and I’m still no use in the morning. I can particularly relate to getting up not a moment before you have to and then doing everything at top speed with tunnel vision until you’re out the door.

  10. Brilliant read. I’ve been a night owl virtually my whole life. Now my son is one too, only he’s got the delights of the day job! Thanks for the advice… and I’ll remember the morning people 🙂

  11. Oh my goodness, I thought I was the only one who experienced such an exhausting phenomenon! No matter how many hours of sleep I get, I’m still ready to pass out at any given hour of the day. I use acai berry pills to rev me up a little in the morning.

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