Health

3 Natural Ways to Feel Rested — Even After a Bad Night’s Sleep

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More than half of us say spring fun means we sometimes miss out on sleep. Thankfully, these tips erase a bad night’s slumber and leave you refreshed. No more sleep debt!

Keep this on your nightstand.

After clocking less than six hours of sleep, sip a cup of water within 10 minutes of waking up, and you’ll feel like you’ve snoozed up to an hour longer, suggests Penn State research. Sleeplessness triggers low-grade dehydration that your body registers as tiredness — and being just 2.5 percent dehydrated is enough to do it. Drinking water immediately upon awakening replenishes fluids the brain relies on to feel alert, reducing grogginess in a single glass.

Trace your fingers.

You can offset 44 minutes of missed sleep with a simple finger-tracing hack, suggests new Oregon State University research. Close your eyes and open your left hand. With the lightest possible touch, use your right index finger to slowly trace the outline of your left hand, beginning from the base of your pinky, then up and over each finger until you reach the base of your thumb. Reverse and repeat for 10 minutes while focusing on the gentle touch.

Researchers suspect “mindfulness” techniques like this bring awareness to your body, which refocuses mental energy and neutralizes sleepiness and sleep debt.

Sneak in a power-off hour.

Harvard scientists say an afternoon nap is as good as a full night’s sleep — if you time it right. Sleep-deprived folks who hit the nap time “sweet spot” of 60 minutes between 1 pm and 4 pm felt totally rested and did as well on learning and memory tests as those who’d had a full night’s slumber. A snooze allows the body to reach the deep sleep needed to recharge the brain, says study lead Derkjan Dijk, PhD. 

This article originally appeared in our print magazine.

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