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Strike-Out Sleep Deprivation During the Post Season

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 7:14 AM

It is tied-up in the bottom of the ninth, the Chicago Cubs game has gone on for over four hours and it is past bedtime. There is no way you can turn off the TV and go to bed now. You have to stay up and see the end - especially since it is the post season! What can you do to ensure you are still functioning for work the next day?

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Debjani Roy, MD, Internal Medicine at NorthShore, shares what you can do before, during and after the game to make the next day manageable:

The night of:

  • Get a game plan. Before the game starts, do little things that make your next morning a lot easier. Things like preparing your breakfast and lunch, laying out your clothes for the next day, setting your alarm and showering before game start allow you to catch at least another 15 minutes of sleep.
  • Last call. Like they do at the game, give yourself a “last call” for alcohol two-hours before your regular bedtime. Alcohol can disrupt your sleep or wake your bladder up in the middle of the night!
  • Lights out. As soon as the game is over, turn off your TV and your phone. It may be enticing to see what the players and Facebook have to say in the locker room after that game-winning catch – but studies show that screen time before bed keeps the brain awake.
  • Calm down. Create a quick nighttime routine that can help you relax after the game. Wash your face, brush your teeth and read a chapter in a book or do some breathing exercises to help prepare your body for rest. Remember, no electronics!

In the morning:

  • Start off on the right foot. When you wake up in the morning, run or walk a mile or do a yoga sequence to help wake your mind and body up and reduce your stress from the night before.
  • Fuel up with a protein and fiber-rich breakfast that is low in sugar. Grabbing a doughnut on the way in to work can lead to a sugar-crash later in the afternoon. Instead try unsweetened oatmeal topped with unsalted nuts, Greek yogurt and fruit or a veggie-packed omelet.

During the day:

  • Take a power nap on lunch. If you can, go to your car and catch 10-20 minutes of shuteye to refresh yourself on your lunch break. Make sure you set an alarm, as sleeping more than 20 minutes can leave you feeling groggy.
  • Cold water or some light-caffeinated tea in the afternoon can help keep you awake. Minimize your intake of energy drinks and afternoon coffees, as the caffeine may keep you up that night.
  • Avoid taking an after-work nap and get to bed at a decent time. The recommended amount of sleep is 7-9 hours per night for adults.

How do you practice healthy-post-season sleep habits?