9 Tips for Better Sleep and Energy
Do you wake up drowsy every morning, pressing the snooze button a zillion times until you absolutely HAVE to get out of bed? Do you remember the last time you woke up feeling rested and refreshed? Don't worry, you're not the only one. Too many people today are experiencing chronic fatigue, struggling to get out of bed and walking around half asleep except for short spurts of energy fuelled by caffeine only to crawl back into bed exhausted by 8:00 pm. I was that person who pressed on the snooze button multiple times until it was time to actually get up, driving my partner crazy. I rarely got up in time to get through my morning routine before rushing to work and I felt even more tired during the day.
What if I told you there are simple changes you can make that can significantly reduce fatigue and increase your energy and productivity throughout the day? Here are some of the steps I've incorporated into my daily routine.
1. Understand your sleep cycle
Your body secretes different hormones at different times of day contributing to your sleep cycle. Have you every woken up feeling panicked in the morning? This is because of the hormone called cortisol. Often recognized as a stress hormone, cortisol is also secreted 20-30 minutes after you wake up. Try doing something active within this time frame to help you get your day started. You body also secretes the hormone melatonin later in the evening when the sun has gone down. Melatonin helps you to relax and stimulates sleep. Artificial light can inhibit the production and secretion of melatonin, so try turning off any screens and do some reading before bed instead.
2. Plan your day before you go to bed
Make planning your day part of your evening routine. Choose your clothes for the next day, pack your lunch and prepare everything you need for the next day. I always prep my workout clothes and place them right next to my bed so that when it’s time to wake up I don’t need to search for my clothes. I can simply just get up and be ready to go. This is also a good habit if you're prone to skipping your morning workouts to catch a little more shut eye.
3. Ditch the electronics
Electronics, especially cell phones, are often the first thing we wake up to and the last thing we see before going to bed. Phones and any other electronics will effect your overall sleeping patterns due to the artificial light and its' affect on melatonin production. When you are checking emails, texting friends or family or browsing online, this can alter your hormones and can also leave you feeling stressed. Try reading a book or listening to music or a podcast and I guarantee your sleep will improve.
4. Allow enough time to get plenty of sleep
Make sure you get plenty of hours in. We never seem to have enough time in the day, but skipping sleep shouldn't be an option every day as this will wear you down and make you less productive overall.
5. Try light therapy instead of an alarm clock
Keep your window curtains open or purchase a light therapy lamp. Waking up to light instead of the sound of an alarm may help improve energy when you wake up. It helps to balance hormones, particularly those involved in your sleep cycle. Light therapy lamps can be especially helpful during the winter months when the hours of daylight are shorter. Unfortunately, our workdays aren't set according to the hours of sunlight.
6. Wake up with enough time to ease into your day
Nothing's worse than waking up late, running around in a panic trying to put yourself together and ultimately having to skip the shower and breakfast to make it work or other commitments in time. Make sure you give yourself enough time to get ready without stressing and sit down to enjoy a balanced breakfast before you leave (Sorry, a coffee and a donut while you're driving won't cut it). This will give you the nutrients and energy you need to get your day started.
7. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
I can't stress this enough. Fill up a tall glass of water and drink it as soon as you wake up. This allows your body to rehydrate after a night's sleep, flushing out toxins, increasing mental clarity and speeding up your metabolic rate by 28%. For a gentle liver-cleansing effect, add some fresh squeezed lemon to your glass of water.
8. Go easy on the caffeine
Many people use caffeine to cover up the symptoms of fatigue and give them the energy they need to get themselves through a workday. I know many people are die-hard coffee fanatics and I'm not talking about a good-quality cup of coffee every once an a while. I'm talking about when you've built up to 3, 4, 5, etc. cups of coffee per day just to survive. Unfortunately, the energy you get from caffeine is temporary; it stresses your adrenal glands and leaves you feeling more exhausted (this is when you feel like pouring yourself another cup). Caffeine also acts as a diuretic leaving the body dehydrated and missing the water it needs to function properly.
9. Try an upside down position
When you wake up, go directly to a up side down position (I use my decline bench as if I am about to perform an abdominal crunch). This position helps increase blood flow especially to your brain, increasing the oxygen intake.
That wraps up my suggestions to wake up fully rested and rejuvenated.
"If the mind is not at its full potential, then you can’t optimize your body as a whole”
Eat, Move, Live Mindfully