[Question] What are effective strategies for mitigating the impact of acute sleep deprivation on cognition?

I’ve re­cently been find­ing that I strug­gle much more with in­tel­lec­tual work (math, hard pro­gram­ming, writ­ing, etc.) when I sleep less 6.5-7 hours. While I’m at peace with the fact that I seem to gen­er­ally re­quire >7 hours a sleep, it’s frus­trat­ing that even though I set aside enough time for ad­e­quate sleep, I’ll of­ten wake up af­ter only ~6 hours of sleep and not be able to fall back asleep.

My cog­ni­tive abil­ity seems to be im­pacted by a sin­gle night of bad sleep even when I’ve been sleep­ing well in the re­cent past. Con­cretely, if I’ve slept 8 hours ev­ery night for two weeks, a sin­gle night of poor sleep can still re­sult in a ~50% less pro­duc­tive day.

In ad­di­tion to im­pact­ing pro­duc­tivity, acute sleep de­pri­va­tion also leaves me much less ca­pa­ble of en­ter­tain­ing my­self by think­ing, so I be­come much more in­clined to seek out dis­tract­ing forms of en­ter­tain­ment like scrol­ling through the in­ter­net. It also seems to in­crease my crav­ings for gen­er­ally “un­healthy” foods (I’ve seen refer­ences to this in liter­a­ture, but won’t bother link­ing them since it’s not the fo­cus of my ques­tion).

Other use­ful notes about my gen­eral sleep habits/​his­tory in­clude:

  • I’m not sure if I’ve always been this sen­si­tive to sleep de­pri­va­tion and just no­tice it more due to a com­bi­na­tion of more in­tro­spec­tive and spend­ing more time on cer­tain ac­tivi­ties or if some­thing’s changed and I’ve be­come more sen­si­tive.

  • I gen­er­ally have 1 cup of coffee in the morn­ing around when I wake up. More cups of coffee do not seem to offset sleep de­pri­va­tion’s im­pact on my cog­ni­tive abil­ity, and in fact have at times ex­ac­er­bated it.

  • I’ve tried nap­ping when it’s fit with my sched­ule and each time ended up ly­ing awake for the 20-40 min­utes dur­ing which I in­tended to nap.

I’d love to hear oth­ers’ strate­gies for miti­gat­ing the im­pact of acute sleep de­pri­va­tion on cog­ni­tive abil­ity. I’ve done some pre­limi­nary search­ing for pa­pers, ar­ti­cles, etc., but those that I’ve found fo­cus on re­duc­ing tired­ness rather than on re­turn­ing cog­ni­tive abil­ity to baseline. I’m open to try­ing strate­gies in­clud­ing but not limited to diet changes, sup­ple­ments, med­i­ca­tion, and habit changes.