By Audrey Throne — Long gone are the days when people, on average, slept a good 10 to 12 hours at night and woke up fresh and energetic. The daily routine of humans no longer depends on the rising and setting of the sun. Today most people work overtime or do double shifts to make ends meet.
This change in lifestyle is not only challenging but is a cause of fatigue and stress too. Unfortunately, too many people today are living in constant stress and anxiety. As a result, their health is compromised.
It’s a daily struggle to remain fresh and energetic in the morning and it is no surprise that our caffeine dependence is on the rise. People all over the world depend on tea or coffee to kickstart their day. Without caffeine, most people find it hard to function properly.
But sleep deprivation and extreme caffeine addiction can be bad for health. I went through a phase where I was overworked and stretched to the maximum, unhappy at work, addicted to caffeine and going through a rough patch in personal life as well. It resulted in a long phase of migraines and panic attacks.
After six months of deteriorating health, I decided it was time to make some major changes in life. So I quit my job and went on a 45-day yoga retreat. Those 45 days changed the game for me. Meditation, clean eating and rest saved my life.
It’s a lesson I learned the hard way. It doesn’t have to be that way for you. During these 6 weeks, I learned that it is, in fact, not so hard to stay naturally alert and energetic all day long.
Here are four easy and effective ways to stay energetic every morning:
Follow a bedtime routine
A bedtime routine is followed by children but it is equally important for adults too.
As hard as it may seem, it is highly important to follow a bedtime routine despite all the work and social commitments. Waking up and sleeping at the same time every day, even on the weekends, allows your biological clock to be in sync with the numerical clock. This synchronization keeps you fresh and energetic every morning.
Fix a bedtime and strictly follow it as much as you possibly can. It may seem impossibly challenging at the start but it is a fruitful effort for those who want to stay alert naturally and feel fresh and healthy each morning.
A bedtime routine is not just about going to bed at the same time every day. It includes the things you do and the food you consume. It is a good idea to stay away from caffeinated drinks before bedtime. Also, avoid screen time 2 hours before going to bed.
Following a consistent routine will make waking up natural for you. And, you will be automatically falling asleep and waking up at the same time every day.
Wake up and jump out of bed
For those of us who use our cell phones as an alarm clock, the snooze button feels like a blessing in disguise for all late risers. But the fact is that it the practice of falling asleep for 5-10 minutes doesn’t help if you want to wake up refreshed.
Therefore, get out of bed as soon as the alarm rings. Setting your favorite song as alarm tone will give you an additional push to get up and get moving. [it always works for me!]
The first few minutes of being awake are the hardest and you may be tempted to go back to sleep. The main struggle revolves around overcoming those few moments of temptation. Prolong staying awake for few minutes after your alarm goes off and the temptation to fall back to sleep is mostly gone. Initially, jumping out of bed may seem hard but with once you form a habit of not using the snooze button; it becomes effortless, and the ‘new normal’.
Before going to bed, open all your curtains and blinds so that the sunlight can enter your room. Natural or artificial, both, lights give a signal to the body that it is daytime and you should be awake. Sunlight is also a natural source of vitamin D and provides energy to the body.
Exercise and stay hydrated
Drinking a few glasses of water every morning keeps your body hydrated and helps in jumpstarting your metabolism. When you are dehydrated your body feels fatigued and brain functions slow down. Even a little decrease in the water intake can affect your organs and their ability to function.
A study showed that reduced water consumption makes you more tired and less alert. Water consumption is vital since water keeps your organs healthy and body well hydrated.
If you feel fatigued after waking up, start exercising every morning. A workout routine enables the body to wake up and function. The hormones released during a workout help the body become active and increase focus.
Working out regularly in the morning doesn’t just keep your body healthy, it also helps kickstart your day with a ton of energy.
Do not skip breakfast
Many people complain that they do not feel hungry immediately after waking up and therefore, skip breakfast. On the contrary, breakfast is the most essential meal of the day. When you sleep for 8 to 10 hours the body goes into starvation mode and hence it feels like you are not hungry. Morning time is when the body is at its lowest fuel levels. When you skip a meal, the body’s metabolism is affected, and fats are accumulated.
To be energetic and alert in the morning, have a protein-powered breakfast. An all-carb breakfast makes you feel full by increasing your blood sugar level, but it does not provide the punch needed to go throughout the day.
You can include protein in the form of eggs, bacon or sausages. Or you can consume whole grain bread or cereal, plain yogurt, milk, peanut butter, banana etc.
Adding a medium sized cup of caffeine in your breakfast will also keep you awake and fresh. Most people will grab a cup of coffee for their daily dose of caffeine.
But green tea is a much lighter and healthier alternative to coffee. Regular green tea has less amount of caffeine but L-theanine, an amino acid, found in green tea along with the caffeine, keeps the brain alert and helps you stay focused throughout the day.
Find her on Twitter: @audrey_throne.