Not everyone is a morning person and not everyone jumps out of the bed in the mornings feeling all chirpy and bright to start the day. For many people, dragging themselves out of the bed in the morning is a difficult task – one that is met with continuous snoozes on the alarm button and prolonging the inevitable as much as possible. Everyone has experienced those mornings when we are simply unable to shake off the sluggishness and drowsiness, even though we have gotten sufficient amount of sleep. In order to perk up and begin the day, most of us find ourselves reaching for the endless cups of coffee. However, over-consumption of coffee is also not without side effects. So let us look at how we can fight morning fatigue with these tips.
Fight Morning Fatigue With These Tips
Keep Your Hand Away From the Snooze Button
One of the most beloved buttons on the alarm clock is that of the snooze facility. However, the fact is that it is not going to help you at all. The fact is that research shows that when you spend the last period of your nighttime rest going through fragmented sleep, it will affect your ability to function properly throughout the day (1).
The better thing to do would be to try out the 90-minute sleep cycle hack. To try this out, set up two alarms, one that will be for 90 minutes before the actual time you want to wake up at, and one for the actual time you want to wake up at. The theory behind the 90-minute sleep hack is that this 90 minutes of sleep you will get between each snooze cycle will actually be a complete sleep cycle, thus allowing you to wake up after the REM state of sleep has taken place, rather than waking up during the REM state. REM sleep stands for rapid eye movement. REM sleep takes place 90 minutes after you have gotten asleep and your brain remains more active during this phase of sleep, rather than during NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep (2).
Begin Your Mornings with a Glass of Water
Many times, without realizing, we feel fatigued due to dehydration. Even a mild case of dehydration can cause feelings of drowsiness or sleepiness, bring about changes in your cognitive ability, and also lead to mood disruptions. When you have a glass of water first thing in the morning, it helps to refresh the entire body before you start your morning routine and makes you more alert throughout the day (4). Starting your day with a glass of water is a great tip to fight morning fatigue.
In case you find yourself unable to shake off morning lethargy, then you can try increasing the intake of water, and other non-caffeinated drinks, not just in the morning, but throughout the day. It’s not necessary to follow the ‘eight glasses per day’ rule of having water, but you should still drink plenty of water and keep your body well hydrated. Walking to the fridge or a water cooler for a refill of your water every couple of hours will also help you feel refreshed.
Stretch, Stretch and then Stretch Some More
Stretching your entire body with exercises such as yoga will make you feel rejuvenated. After all, have you ever noticed how good it feels to stretch out your body after waking up? When you sleep, especially during the REM sleep cycle, your muscles become paralyzed or they go into a state of atonia (4). When you reactivate your muscles by stretching, such as in yoga, the body releases energy-stimulating endorphins, which helps you beat morning fatigue (5). If you have the time in the morning, then even doing 25 minutes of yoga will help boost your brain function and energy levels (5).
Cold Showers or a Splash of Cold Water
Studies have shown that people who take cold showers regularly are known to have lesser sick days or absences from work (6). If you are not comfortable with taking a full cold shower, then even splashing cold water on your face will help. Splashing cold water on your face signals the body that there is a temperature change and it wakes up your system to get prepared for dealing with this temperature change. Keeping a spray bottle filled with cold water beside your bed and if you are having a hard time leaving your bed in the morning, simply reach over and mist yourself with some cold water and see how this tip enable you to fight morning fatigue.
Never Skip Breakfast
Breakfast has been declared to be the most important meal of the day (7). Many studies have proven that skipping breakfast has a negative impact on your energy levels and also on your ability to remain focused and pay attention during the day (7). Breakfast is the first meal of the day and it provides your body with the fuel it needs to kick start the day. When you give your body calories in the morning, it helps you put the body into action.
However, if you have an exercise routine during the morning, then you should eat your breakfast after exercising, and not before. This helps to burn more calories, help you avoid having an unsettled stomach, and also boosts your metabolism.
What you eat for breakfast is going to have a direct impact on how you will feel for the next couple of hours. This is why choosing fatigue-fighting foods and making a healthy choice of breakfast is critical to starting your morning on the right note. Including a combination of fatigue-fighting foods such as low-sugar fruits, nuts, whole grains, and lean proteins is the ideal breakfast suggestion for fighting morning fatigue.
Avoid Sugar in the Morning
No one has the same breakfast in the morning and since what you eat as the first meal of the day affects how you feel throughout the day, it is important to make healthy morning food choices. Sugary foods and drinks, such as sweetened coffee, pastries, sugary breakfast cereals, and other similar items, are known to cause a spike and drop phenomenon in your blood sugar levels. This is going to leave you feeling drained and exhausted in no time – once the sugar high wears off.
It is recommended that to avoid increasing your intake of added sugar, you pay attention to the nutrition labels. This will give you an idea of how much sugar you are consuming at breakfast and you can then cut out whatever necessary and possible. Include whole foods such as carrots, oranges, and apples to get a boost of energy and banish morning fatigue.
Cut Down on Caffeine
This does not mean that you need to stop having your morning cup of coffee. However, it is recommended that you cut back on your overall coffee consumption. While there are plenty of health benefits that are associated with coffee, drinking too much coffee or other caffeinated beverages in the morning is known to indirectly make you feel more tired as the day progresses.
A study conducted by the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences in Los Angeles, found that participants reportedly felt more tired on the days they consumed more caffeinated drinks. Having a reduced amount of caffeinated beverages in the morning, made them feel less tired. Purchase a smaller cup and use that to have your coffee, thus reducing the amount you drink in the morning and thus also reducing your morning fatigue.
Get as Much Sun as Possible
Sunlight has been shown to boost the body’s serotonin levels. Serotonin is known as the body’s feel-good hormone. Higher levels of serotonin lead to improved sleep and allow you to have more energy levels during the day (8). According to several studies done at the University of Rochester, spending more time in nature helps a person become more active. This is a good reason why, if possible, spend some time outdoors and feel recharged. Even adjusting the curtains to allow sunlight to seep in, helps you feel better once you wake up.
Deal with the Stress
In today’s times, we are living in perpetual stress. It is very much possible that high levels of stress make you feel drained out in the mornings. By identifying the stressful situations in the night, you are more capable of addressing the issues, which lowers your stress levels significantly in the morning. Make the school lunches the night before, keep your morning clothes laid out in the night, make time for indulging in some peaceful meditation before the day begins, all these activities will help lower your stress levels, allow you to not only have a better sleep at night but also feel better in the morning.
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
One of the biggest reasons why we feel drained and fatigued in the morning is because of a lack of sleep, or a lack of good quality sleep (9). Bedtime habits are known to have an impact on your morning waking routine. Sleep hygiene refers to certain best practices that help you fall asleep at night and also get a better night’s sleep. Some of these practices of good sleep hygiene include:
- Create a comfortable sleeping environment, such as cleaning the bed and picking up any strewn clothes from the bedroom.
- Turn off all screens (including smartphones and TVs) at least one hour before bedtime.
- Try to go to bed at the same time each night to create a routine.
- Also try to get up at the same time every morning as it helps create and maintain your body’s circadian rhythm, which is the body’s internal biological clock that determines the feelings of sleepiness.
By following these helpful tips, you will be able to banish away your morning fatigue in no time. Practicing good sleep hygiene is perhaps one of the best ways to ensure that you get a good night’s sleep so that you don’t wake up feeling tired (9). If you wake up feeling fatigued in the morning itself, then chances are high you will spend the day feeling fatigued and groggy. Therefore, put in place some healthy lifestyle changes and practice a healthy sleep schedule to wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated in the morning.
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