Quick way to banish morning fatigue

We’ve all had those mornings when we just can’t shake a feeling of sluggishness, even when we’ve technically gotten enough sleep. In an effort to perk up on tired days, many of us load up on cup after cup of coffee.


But over-caffeinating can leave us jittery and anxious (not to mention perpetually running to the bathroom).



Perhaps there’s a better way to banish morning fatigue and get on with your day with the energy you need.


When waking up is hard to do, consider the following strategies.


Don’t hit snooze — at all

That beloved button on top of your alarm clock may not be so helpful after all.


Spending the last half hour or so of nighttime rest in what researchers call “fragmented sleep” has consequencesTrusted Source for your ability to function throughout the day.



Pro-tip: Try the 90-minute sleep cycle hack by setting two alarms — one for 90 minutes before you want to wake up and one for when you actually want to wake up.


The theory is that the 90 minutes of sleep you get between snoozes will be a full sleep cycle, allowing you to wake up after your REM state, instead of during.


Stretch out your tired body with yoga

There’s a reason it feels so good to stretch when you wake up. Overnight, during REM sleep, your muscles are literally paralyzed (atonia), and reactivating them releases energy-stimulating endorphins.



Pro-tip: If you have a bit of time for morning yoga, take it; just 25 minutes has been shown to boost energy levels and brain function.


Splash your face with water

Cold showersTrusted Source are reported to reduce sick-day absences from work. If you don’t want to take a full shower, a splash of cold water to the face, to signal a temperature change to your body, may also do the trick.


Is getting out of bed the main problem? Keep a spray bottle or water mist by your bedside table so you can lean over and mist yourself without even opening your eyes!


Pro-tip: One cult-favorite product is Saborino’s Morning Face Mask from Japan, which has essential oils to activate your senses. In one minute, this sheet mask cleanses, invigorates, and moisturizes your skin.


Drink a glass of water

Fatigue is a classic symptom of dehydration, and even a mild caseTrusted Source can trigger feelings of sleepiness, changes in cognitive ability, and mood disruptions. Let a glass of water freshen up your entire body before you get moving.


Pro-tip: If you find you still can’t shake morning lethargy, try upping your intake of water and other noncaffeinated beverages throughout the day.


Eat breakfast to spark your energy

The jury is still out on whether breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But researchTrusted Source does say that skipping this first meal can negatively affect your energy and ability to pay attention throughout the day.


Food is fuel. Give your body some calories to put it into action at the start of the day.

But if you’re working out in the morning, remember to eat after, not before. This will (a) burn more calories, (b) boost your metabolism, and (c) help you avoid an unsettled stomach.


Pro tip: Build a fatigue-fighting breakfast instead.Since what you eat at breakfast can affect how you feel for hours, making the right choice is critical for your morning.


Reach for a combination of fatigue-fighting foods like lean proteins, whole grains, nuts, and lower-sugar fruits.


Drink less coffee

That’s right, we said less coffee — but not none! Though coffee has plenty of health benefits, chugging a lot in the morning may indirectly contribute to increased fatigue later in the day.


Participants in one studyTrusted Source reported feeling more tired the day after they had consumed caffeinated drinks. Experimenting with a reduced amount of caffeine in the morning actually may make you less tired.



Pro-tip: Avoid the big mugs. Purchase a smaller cup, if you have to, to help reduce the amount you drink.


Avoid having sugar until lunch

All breakfasts are not created equal, so take stock of your morning food choices. Sugary items like sweetened coffee drinks, pastries, and breakfast cereals can lead to the classic blood sugar spike-and-drop that leaves you feeling drained.


Pro-tip: Pay attention to nutrition labels to see how much sugar you’re getting at breakfast — and cut back wherever possible. Keep whole foods like apples, carrots, and oranges on hand for easy access.


Go outside to activate your brain

Sunlight bumps up your body’s serotonin levels, leading to improved sleep — and, therefore, increased daytime energy. And, according to a series of studies at the University of Rochester, spending time in nature “makes people feel more alive.”


Sounds like a very good reason to carve out a portion of your morning in the great outdoors.


Pro-tip: If going outside is a chore in the early morning, adjust your curtain so that the sunlight seeps in when you’re getting ready to wake up.


Get some cardio in, throughout the morning

Sure, when you want to crawl back into bed, exercise may sound pretty unappealing — but it may be exactly what your body needs to get help booting up. Research consistently correlates aerobic exercise with reduced fatigue.


See if you can squeeze in a quick walk or bike ride, or try a longer workout for even more benefit.

Pro-tip: When pressed for time, get your body up with a few rounds of high-knees and jumping jacks. Even 30 seconds of torso twists could do the trick, or plan a short cardio commute on your way to work.


Give yourself something to look forward to

We’ve all had those mornings when we just can’t shake a feeling of sluggishness, even when we’ve technically gotten enough sleep. In an effort to perk up on tired days, many of us load up on cup after cup of coffee.



Go deeper with mental health

If morning fatigue becomes a chronic problem, it could be caused by depression or anxiety. People with depression can feel worse in the morning or only feel depressed in the morning.


The only way to know, however, is to track your mood or see a professional.


Pro-tip: Dig a little deeper. Asking some key questions about your mental health state may reveal an underlying condition that needs professional attention.


Ultimately, practice good sleep (and waking) hygiene

If your bedtime habits can have so profound an effect on your rest, so too could your waking routine. You’ve probably heard of sleep hygiene — the handful of best practices that help you fall asleep at night. These include:


  • turning off screens an hour before bed

  • turning in at the same time each night

  • creating a comfortable sleeping environment

Getting up at the same time each morning helps maintain circadian rhythm, the internal biological clock that’s responsible for feelings of sleepiness.


Make an effort to rise at the same time every day — even on weekends — to see if you can banish the midmorning slump.


#health #morning

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