Scientists say that teenagers require more sleep than adults, and from my personal experience, that has definitely rung true. But for me, it seems that this requirement for more sleep is something I have yet to grow out of. So until it goes away (which I’m beginning to think it might not), I have to employ methods to cope with my extra sleepiness while remaining productive with work and projects.
Plan your day
Investing in a planner has been extremely valuable. For some, using google calendar or the calendar on their phone can be just as effective. Personally, I enjoy being able to write it out. This is helpful as it will prevent you from forgetting about due dates and other time restrictions you may have. It will also enable you to physically see your day, you’ll know what you need to accomplish and when, and this will have a huge impact on your sleep.
You’ll no longer sit awake in bed wondering if you forgot anything and you’ll be able to sleep much more soundly knowing you have everything covered.
Have a cutoff time
Part of planning your day is planning it in a way that still allows a little “you” time. When you plan out the daily work of projects, don’t give yourself so much in one day that it spills into your night.
Create a cutoff time that you have to have your daily work done by. Having this will enforce deadlines for yourself and a goal to meet that will keep you on task. By doing this, you also prevent yourself from feeling overwhelmed. When work carries on from your day into your night, it begins to feel incessant and it becomes much harder to maintain that work and rest balance. Having a cutoff time will also allow you to get to bed at a decent hour.
Create a workspace
One of the worst things you can do for yourself when you’re as prone to sleepiness as I can be is to try to work on your projects in bed. The temptation to fall asleep is far too strong when you’re in such a comfortable environment. It’s warm, it’s cozy, it’s just not a good idea.
Avoid the temptation to do this by creating a workspace for yourself. Invest in a desk if you must. As long as it’s a hard surface that you can sprawl your work across, can keep well-lit, and maintain a good posture at. In a workspace like this, it becomes much easier to focus on the task at hand rather than the growing temptation to sleep. Just try it out and take note of how much more you are able to get done.
Take care of yourself
When you’re busy, it’s hard to remember to take care of yourself. But if you don’t make time to do the things that you want to do or simply to relax, you’ll burn yourself out which would be detrimental to your productivity.
Make sure you maintain a healthy diet. Of course, the occasional unhealthy meal never hurts, but having a consistent diet of the things your body needs helps your cognitive function and helps prevent excessive sleepiness from settling in.
Take a mental health day if you truly need it and spend it getting your bearings. Get that extra sleep you’ve been craving and focus on refreshing yourself. Go outside, go for a run, run an errand that you’ve been meaning to get done, get a haircut. Just do something that will help you feel more at ease.
Get an effective alarm
I can’t tell you how many times I have hit snooze on an alarm only to wake up significantly later than I had planned. Thankfully this almost never has happened on really important days. But it happened enough that I saw it as an issue. The solution? I got a better alarm.
I had initially been using my phone. I would leave it a slight distance away from my bed. But that made it far too easy to just hit the snooze, or accidentally shut it off completely. And on top of that phones make it far too easy to simply set multiple alarms.
I purchased a new alarm and set it across the room. It makes a horrendous wailing sound and because it’s so far from my bed, I have no choice but to get up and out of bed to turn it off. Then by that point, I’ve already done half of the work required to wake up. I’m still a bit of a zombie for a few minutes after the fact, that’s always a given.
Drink more water than coffee
One of the things that I would use to motivate myself to get out of the house quickly in the morning was stopping by the local coffee shop and picking up a latte. But then I would get the jitters as a side dish. I would be anxiously working through my shift buzzing, only to experience a crash later in the day when I have other projects to work on. At that point, hope is practically lost for getting anything done as sleepiness wreaks havoc on motivation.
It’s okay to have a coffee every now and then, but don’t make it the only liquid that you consume. Especially don’t make it the only liquid you drink in the morning. Water has been shown to improve brain function in the morning. Have at least one or two glasses before you have any coffee. Or occasionally have tea as a substitute. There are some great teas that help stimulate focus and such a variety as well.