Lack of sleep can drag you down, making you feel grumpy at the start of the day, so you find yourself snapping at family, friends, and colleagues. It can also affect your mental health, leaving you more at risk of suffering from depression. Furthermore, sleep deprivation affects performance and makes it more difficult for you to manage the simplest of tasks. However, six simple habits can help you to wake up feeling refreshed.
Establish a bedtime routine
Train your body to get a good night’s sleep by establishing a routine that is full of cues. These can be anything that signals your body and mind that it is time to rest.
30-60 minutes before going to bed, have a warm shower and practice deep breathing, or take a bath and read a book or magazine. These types of activities will help to relieve some of the tension that has built up over the course of the day.
You could do some yoga or meditation to help you to de-stress as long as you don’t do anything too vigorous that elevates your heart rate and releases adrenaline into your body. Light some scented candles or burn incense oils with soothing sleep-inducing scents like lavender, sandalwood, or ylang-ylang and listen to calming music.
During our sleep, we lose fluid by breathing, snoring, and sweating. This leaves us feeling dehydrated when we awake. Drink a herbal tea of camomile, valerian, or passionflower that is often used as a sleep aid. Alternatively, drink a glass of water, but don’t drink anything with caffeine in it, like tea or coffee, as they disrupt sleep.
Pair your refreshment with a wake up capsule with natural active ingredients that are released on waking and continue to energise throughout the day.
Lastly, go to the toilet before retiring to limit awakening for bathroom visits and increase your chances of sleeping through the night.
Create a conducive environment
Before we had lightbulbs and alarm clocks, our sleep pattern coincided with the sun’s rising and setting. Nowadays, our circadian rhythm is easily disturbed by light pollution and the use of electronic devices. To help restore a more natural pattern, avoid the use of electronics that cast a blue light, like TVs, light laptops, and mobile phones, at least an hour before bed.
Close the curtains and dim the lights as darkness triggers the release of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep. Since noise can make it hard to get to sleep and can still be registered when we are asleep, remove any sounds that cause distraction or irritation, such as a ticking clock. Use earplugs or play white noise if sounds like a partner snoring or traffic outside can’t be controlled.
Just before we fall asleep, our core body temperature drops slightly to help us to conserve our energy levels. Keep your bedroom at a temperature of approximately 15*C to help your body to cool down quickly so that you can get to sleep faster.
Make sure that the bed you sleep in is comfortable by having a good quality mattress so that you aren’t tossing and turning all night or waking with a sore back, neck, or shoulders. How firm your mattress should be is a matter of preference, so try before you buy to make sure it will enable you to get a deep sleep and allow you to awaken feeling well-rested.
Have something to look forward to
Getting up in the morning is not any easier if you are full of dread. The anticipation of going to work can be daunting for many of us, so if you aren’t lucky enough to be doing a job that you love, make sure that you have something enjoyable lined up each morning. This will make waking up and getting out of bed more exciting. You might enjoy preparing a tasty breakfast, walking the dog, or blasting some tunes while you brush your teeth. Choose something that brings you joy and puts you in a good mood at the start of the day.
Establish a wake-up routine
Similar to your bedtime ritual, establish a wake-up routine. Firstly, avoid pressing snooze on your alarm as it confuses your brain about whether it is time to wake up or not. The tendency is to snooze for about 10 minutes which is enough time for us to fall back asleep but not long enough to provide meaningful rest as it interrupts the sleep cycle, causing us to feel tired on waking.
Over the course of a week, we lose approximately one hour of sleep by snoozing instead of just setting the alarm for the time we actually need to get up. To remove the temptation to ignore your alarm, place it out of reach so that you have to get out from under the warm covers to switch it off.
Use aromatherapy to energise you by lighting a refreshing candle of lemon, rosemary, or peppermint. Alternatively, use a diffuser with a timer and set it to come on when your alarm goes off.
Get plenty of sunlight
As the cells of your eyes will send a signal to the brain that reinforces your circadian rhythm, get plenty of sunlight as you go about your day. Throw open the curtains or roll up the blinds as soon as you are out of bed. If possible, do your exercise outside and take a walk during your lunch break.
If you work nights, it can be difficult to expose yourself to natural lighting but try your best to mimic it with a UV lamp and immerse yourself in light before and after your shift. Sunlight acts as a powerful cue, telling our brains when it’s time to wake up. Tapping into this natural resource will make it much easier for you to wake up naturally feeling refreshed every day.
Enjoy a morning workout
Get your blood pumping by enjoying a morning workout. Just 10 minutes of physical activity can boost your mood, improve circulation, and leave you feeling energised and more alert. You could dance around your bedroom, do some jumping jacks, or go for a run – anything that makes your heart beat faster and encourages the release of the feel-good hormone serotonin.
After your workout, wash or take a shower to freshen up. If you are brave enough, use cold water, as this will boost your circulation and oxygen intake, making you feel vibrant for the day ahead.
Before heading out, refuel your body with a solid breakfast. Avoid fried, processed, or sugary foods that will lead to sluggishness. Instead, try porridge with fruit and nuts or scrambled egg on brown toast to get a healthy mix of complex carbs, good fat, and protein.
The key takeaway
It’s almost impossible to feel refreshed every day without enough sleep. Establish a bedtime routine filled with cues to tell your brain and body that it’s time to rest and recuperate. Make sleep a priority by creating a conducive environment that will allow you to achieve the required 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. Establish a morning routine that incorporates something to look forward to, and make use of the sunlight when you can. Lastly, do some exercise that gets your blood flowing after lying down in bed for so long. Work on one of these tips each day, and before the end of the week, you will have established good habits that will help you to wake up feeling refreshed every day.