How to Succeed When You’re Sleep-Deprived

by Rachel Miller

September 6, 2022

ABOVE : Sergey Vinogradov

When you’re sleep-deprived, you know that everything will feel harder today. You will likely face more intense cravings, negative feelings, and frustrations.


  • Mentally prepare that you will want quick things to feel better or have more energy. Remind yourself what doesn’t help:
    • Calling the day a write-off and giving into all indulgences.
      • Remind yourself that you will want to do things to feel better or have more energy:
      • That extra coffee, the extra treat, won’t provide lasting energy.
      • Recall how it makes you feel: you will feel more tired and mentally drained as a result.
    • Expecting peak performance from yourself.
      • The usual tasks may feel more challenging today.
      • Be patient with yourself and focus on doing the best you can do given your limitations.

  • Accept you will have a greater challenge before you today.
    • Ask yourself:
      • How can I finish today feeling proud?
      • What will make me feel most proud at the end of the day?
    • You will be more likely to focus on the negative. Remind yourself of the facts: You’re tired. You’re facing a challenge today. You will get by, one hour at a time, just like you always do.

  • Lower expectations. Pick one thing to focus on succeeding well today.
    • It doesn’t matter what you choose, just choose one thing only: maybe it’s a single task on a project, or maybe it’s just to avoid giving into sugar cravings today. Choose one thing.
    • Ask yourself: What will make you feel empowered, in control, and proud of your efforts? Make that your sole focus.

  • Take today one step, one hour, at a time. Don’t try to win the day, just win this one thing before you right now.

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