Most of us aren’t racing to get out of bed in the morning – but after a bad night’s sleep, it can feel like you have a mountain to climb when you’re getting ready for the day.
Whether your sleep has been disrupted due to stressful thoughts, noises outside of the home or even just one of *those* nights where you don’t get much shut-eye, it can really impact your day ahead, not to mention your productivity.
However, according to a new study from the University of Portsmouth, there is one thing that can help with this feeling, even if it’s not the most intuitive action to take first thing.
How to recover from a bad nights’ sleep
In the study, researchers examined how our sleep, oxygen levels and exercise impact our ability to perform cognitive tasks.
While it’s common knowledge that poor sleep impacts our emotions and concentration levels, the team were hoping to find a way to reverse this.
To get a true understanding of this, the team gathered 24 participants to take part in two separate experiments – with 12 participants to each experiment.
One group was made up of participants who had only experienced partial sleep disruption and the second group experienced total sleep deprivation and low oxygen levels.
Both teams were examined for cognitive performance before and after exercise.
The first group, who had only experienced partial sleep disruption, were given five hours sleep a night for three days.
Upon waking, they were given seven tasks to do to measure their cognitive performance at rest and then again while cycling for 20 minutes.
The second group went without sleep entirely and were put in a space with low oxygen where they were asked to complete the same tasks at rest and while cycling for 20 minutes.
The researchers found that moderate-intensity exercise improved cognitive performance regardless of how little sleep somebody has experienced.
Which exercise is best for helping with sleep deprivation?
The researchers found that small bouts of gentle exercise make a difference. So if you wake up feeling groggy, rather than pounding the pavements for a long run, go for a short jog, a brisk walk or even a gentle cycle on an exercise bike.
The idea isn’t to knock yourself back into sleep, but instead gently wake your body up with the rhythm of exercise.