5 tips to keep from feeling sleep deprived

By Haley Hernandez - Health Reporter

HOUSTON - You've heard all of the reasons you're not getting enough sleep before -- hormones, restless leg, sleep apnea.

If you're not getting good rest, Houston Methodist Hospital registered dietician Kristen Kizer has some suggestions on how to perk up in order to survive the day.

1. Get the blood moving

Kizer said a brisk walk might help.

“I think even just the fresh air of getting out, the fact that you stood up from your desk, it does get your blood recirculating again, and that can help wake you up,” she said.

2. Sunlight is an energy boost

“Our body is run more so by light, more than we think," Kizer said. "If you think, maybe 200 years ago we were going to bed with the sun and we (were) waking up with the sun. Our hormone production is based, in part, off of nighttime, daytime, when the sun is coming up, and our body is waking up for creating hormones that help wake us up.”

3. Take a catnap

Limit naps to 15-20 minutes, Kizer said. 

“Longer than that, you can risk throwing yourself off, especially if it's later in the afternoon,” Kizer said.

4. Caffeine is not bad, but what you put in it is

When you get dessert coffees, Kizer compared it to drinking a hot milkshake. She said beware of the feeling that you can justify those calories or deserve a treat for being sleep deprived.

“I personally don't drink black coffee," Kizer said. "I probably will never drink black coffee, but I’m mostly black coffee, 2-percent milk and some vanilla extract usually."

5. Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep

Kizer suggests adults get seven to nine hours of sleep but some people, for instance, people who are physically active, should be getting more.

The only true way to tell if you're doing it right is when you wake up refreshed. That's what experts say is the magic number of hours you should rest.

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