An All-Nighter vs. 2 Hours of Sleep
It's 3 a.m., and you need to get up at 5 a.m. for your flight or your work shift or your conference. The clock is forcing you to make a decision: Curl up in bed for two hours of shut-eye or power through the next day? While your instinct and your drooping eyelids may urge you to take a nap, this might make you feel even worse than if you hadn't slept at all, says Michael A. Grandner, PhD
, research associate at the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania
. "If you get less than 4 hours, there's a good chance that you'll wake up in slow-wave sleep, which can leave you disoriented, irrational and extremely irritable," Grandner says—in other words, like a hot mess. He explains that our bodies are pretty resilient and can function reasonably well without sleep once in a while, so you'll be able to chug through the day even if your mind will be a little fuzzy (this means catching a plane wouldn't be a problem, but driving a car would).
Fire up the coffee pot, stay busy until your natural circadian rhythm kicks in and then hang in there until your normal bedtime.