How do you cope when you don’t have enough time to sleep? It happens to all of us occasionally, but sometimes several days in a row of a schedule too busy to sleep in creates a waking nightmare. Chronic lack of sleep is a fact of life for many, and can lead to underperformance at work, accidents while driving, long-term health problems, and a generally awful experience day to day.

Reliance on caffeine and stimulants may work for a while, but after several days, sleepiness returns even worse than before. Fortunately, there are a few techniques you can use that will cure much of the fatigue associated with lack of sleep temporarily, and can get you through a short stretch of days with less sleep a little better. It’s better to prevent as much build up of sleepiness as possible, which is what you can do by following these techniques.

First, without at least three or four hours of sleep, there isn’t much that can help you. Trying to cope without at least six hours for more than three or four days can compromise your health, and lack of sleep can cause heart attacks, falling asleep at the wheel of your car, or several other means of death.

Any doctor will tell you the best thing is just to make time for the sleep, and that is the first thing you should try to do. If your schedule is forcing you to go without enough sleep for a few days, these measures will help you cope better, but not replace sleep as is necessary for your well-being.

First, try taking vitamin B12 just before going to sleep. This may seem contradictory since B12 is known as an energy vitamin, but it helps your body have access to more oxygen. Casino hotels have long understood that better oxygen means more efficient sleep, and some pump oxygen into the hotel rooms of guests so that they will wake up sooner and come down to spend money on gaming. Up to 1000mg of vitamin B12 will help you leverage the same effect.

Second, try supplementing with Huperzine before sleeping as well. This over-the-counter supplement has been shown in studies to improve memory, but it is also renowned for its ability to make sleep more efficient. Huperzine helps your brain have access to more of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which appears to be involved in all kinds of brain processes including sleep.

Finally, every few hours (no more than four or five), take a short nap if you can. Make it ten to thirty minutes long, even if you need to go find your car to take a short siesta or lay your head down at a library away from noise and distractions. Less than ten minutes doesn’t help much, and more than thirty can put you into a deep enough sleep that you will be more sleepy, not less, when you wake up.