This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation

If you can’t sleep and you feel tired, unproductive, or fatigued during the day, there are healthy ways to cope. The trick is to use these methods to help you feel alert and get the most out of your day, without interfering with your sleep at night.

Do you do any of the following during the day when you’re tired?

  • Nap
  • Drink caffeinated beverages
  • Eat sweets or high carbohydrate foods, especially in the afternoon?

Naps  can be very helpful.

Sleeping for a short time can make you more alert and energetic–this might be critical to your work or school productivity, or to your ability to take care of a child during the day. Most people feel refreshed after a nap that lasts approximately 20 minutes. Longer naps can leave you feeling groggy, because they require waking up from a deeper sleep. It’s also important not to nap late in the day because this can make it hard to fall asleep at night. Even a short nap in the early evening can interfere with bedtime.

Caffeine can help you feel alert and productive.

If you drink coffee, tea, or another caffeinated beverage, limit this to a moderate amount (one or two cups) in the morning. Consuming these drinks in the afternoon and evening can make it hard to fall asleep or cause you to wake up during the night.

Another habit of chronically sleepy people is eating sugary or high fat snacks during the day (especially in the afternoon, when most people naturally experience a dip in energy). Studies have shown that losing sleep can change the way we eat (causing people to gravitate towards this type of food) and affect our metabolism as well. These snacks will generally not keep your energy up for very long. Instead, keep healthy snacks, like vegetables and hummus or nuts and raisins, close by.

Instead of eating unhealthy foods, try taking a walk or going to exercise. The best walks are done outside where you’ll be exposed to sunlight, but if that isn’t realistic, take short walks around the office.