Not getting enough shut-eye? Tossing and turning all night, going down wormholes of worry, and waking up bleary-eyed, sluggish and moodier with brain fog? It sounds familiar to many of us right now.

Our relationship with sleep can be complicated. This basic biological and restorative necessity can affect the way we think, move, eat and live on a day-to-day basis. But throw in screen time, and information overload, overly cafeinating, stress and a dose of anxiety, and our usually well-oiled bodies can take a serious hit.

In the short term, poor sleep affects our energy levels, brains, hormones and nervous systems. In the long term, it sets us up for some serious health risks. 

The good news is, there are some really easy strategies to help you overcome the effects of a bad night’s sleep, instantly jolting your system, helping you revive energy levels as well as your mental outlook for the day ahead.

1 Just breathe
A bad night of sleep can affect the way you breathe. And by not taking shallow breaths, the levels of oxygen in the body can be reduced. Slow, deep breaths taken regularly reduce the heart rate, improve circulation and reduce blood pressure. The result? An instant increase in energy.

Try this diaphragmatic breathing:

  • Lie down and relax your shoulders.
  • Place one hand on your chest and one on your tummy.
  • Inhale slowly for 2 seconds through your nose, feeling your stomach move out as
  • the air move into your abdomen.
  • Breathe out slowly through pursed lips for two seconds while pressing on your
  • abdomen.

An effortless way to achieve a deeper diaphragmatic breath is the 'mermaid’ exercise. This exercise will help lengthen and open the side of the body to allow your breath to access deeper levels of the lungs while functionally working the diaphragm with rotation in the thoracic spine.

Sit in a Z-Sit position with your feet to one side. Start with the right side. Try to level your bum on the mat as much as you can. Place both hands by each side and one arm at a time, reach up and over to the opposing side. Once you have gone as far as you can on one side, reach for the other side. Take your time counting to five slowly each time, taking deep, controlled breaths along the way. Repeat between six to twelve times. 

Z-Sit position
Z-Sit position

2 Walk don’t run
Believe it or not, a leisurely evening walk before the 9 o’clock news or reduced tempo mobility exercises have been shown to have greater effects than an intense workout.

The cure for fatigue is not caffeine - sadly - it’s more exercise. For optimal results, this should be regular and at a reduced intensity.

The good news for those who don’t like high-intensity exercise is that studies show, regular rather than aerobic exercise, can cause a change in the central nervous system which helps reduce fatigue and increase energy levels.

Women hiking in park

3 Fluid
Drop your late afternoon or evening cup of coffee and add a glass or two of water. It’s simple but so effective. Chances are, after a bad night of rest, you crave a perk up tea or coffee late in the afternoon to get you though. But its effects are shortlived.

In fact, if your body is short of fluids, one of the first signs is a feeling of fatigue. Add this to your already tired body and mind, and you’re headed for a complete slump. Drink your water! 

Brought to you by the Platinum Physio team, platinumpilates.ie