14 Ways to Wake Up Feeling More Rested
Let’s quickly talk about some ways to wake up feeling more rested. It can be difficult to wake up in the morning and the resistance to do so is known as sleep inertia. Most people require 7-9 hours of sleep a night, with 7.5 being the average. So if you’re struggling to get up and get your day going, here are some helpful tips...
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1. Trim down your morning activities.
There is no harm in having a productive morning, but if you’re struggling to get through the day, this may be why. Consider cutting back on your AM activities and postponing them for after work or your day(s) off. This should allow you to get a few extra minutes of sleep each day.
2. That said, exercising is a great idea
If you don’t think the problem is your AM routine, try doing more stuff in the morning. Physical activity will increase your level of arousal and alertness and help you quickly transition to the functional level you are looking for.
3. Go to bed at the same time every night.
This is more easily said than done, but it makes a huge difference. The average body operates on a circadian rhythm requiring about 8 hours of sleep. At some point in the early morning, your body will begin to wake up regardless of when you consciously want to do so. Going to bed at the same time each night will help ensure that your sleep-wake clock is timed appropriately for when you wake up.
4. Consider using melatonin.
Melatonin is a hormone naturally synthesized by humans and also found in plants and other animals. Among it’s roles is helping to regulate the sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin levels peak between 11 PM and 3 AM. Because of this, it is often used to help augment healthy sleep. It doesn’t work for everyone and every type of sleep disorder, so you should talk to your physician before you begin supplementing it.
5. Turn off the electronics
Visual stimulation from the television, computer or cell phone superficially stimulates our wake cycle and suppresses or natural sleep cycle. For example, light entering our eyes inhibits the release of melatonin. If your set bed time is say 11 PM, shut off electronics at 10 PM.
6. Let natural sunlight enter your room in the morning
Our bodies natural align to both sunrise and sunset. This can be advantageous during the summer and less so during the winter where we often have shorter days. During the times of the year where the sun rises before or when you do, allow that light to enter your room. It’s a natural source that tells your body it’s time to get up and begin the day.
7. Do not work out close to bedtime.
When you exercise, your body enters a sympathetic state because of a release of epinephrine or adrenaline. This results in increased heart rate, blood pressure, etc and continues long after you actually stop exercising. This can absolutely inhibit your body's ability to start the process of slowing down and preparing for some shut eye.
8. Talk to your doctor and maybe get a sleep study
Medical problems such as obstructive sleep apnea, allergies or depression can all negative effect your sleep. Some of these problems can be treated by a conversation with your primary care provider and potentially some medication. Sleep apnea is best evaluated by a sleep study. Better control of these types of problems will dramatically improve the quality of your sleep.
9. Put your alarm clock on the other side of the room
The ability to hit your alarm clock snooze button without even opening your eyes is going to enable you to snooze longer when you should be getting up. This is a solution many people have heard of and few people utilize, myself included. Give this one a shot and it will force you to get up to turn that alarm off and facilitate waking up.
10. Consider keeping a log
If you’ve tried a few things and nothing is working, consider a sleep diary. Track when you go to bed, when you fall asleep, when you wake up, how many times you get up during the night, etc. One issue is you probably think you can remember everything and you cant. Additionally, it may help you identify patterns that can be corrected that you may not have otherwise realized.
11. Set your coffee pot and drink some coffee
Coffee is known to boost both mental and physical alertness shortly after consumption. Consuming it shortly after rising from bed will give you a head start on the morning. As an added bonus, set the timer on your coffee pot so it is ready when you get out of bed.
12. Get a little physical activity
Shaking off grogginess can also be achieved by increasing physical activity in the morning. You don’t necessarily need to work out. Simply walking from the bedroom to the kitchen and bathroom and back can often be enough steps to turn it up a gear or two.
13. Keep a consistent sleep/wake cycle on the weekends
In other words, go to bed at the same time and don’t sleep in on the weekends. Sleeping in will throw off your circadian cycle for the rest of the week making it more difficult for you to get that good sleep and wake up rested.
14. Take a strategic nap during the day
A 20-30 minute nap in the afternoon can increase alertness, productivity, and reduce stress. Make sure to do this early in the afternoon so that you don’t throw off your sleep cycle when it’s bed time.