Bounce out of bed each morning
How many times do you press snooze? Waking bleary-eyed, cranky and irritable? Waking up well-slept is such an understated feeling.
Waking refreshed. It’s almost euphoric. Your body functions at full capacity and you have energy to exercise, be productive and actually manage a conversation with someone. Good sleep revitalises us and completely changes our outlook on life, our mood and even our immunity.
Bouncing out of bed is influenced by what we put in our bodies, stress levels, sleep quality and our energy exchanges with others. Here are a handful of top tips to help you wake with a pep in your step.
1. Improve your nutrition
Not getting enough of the right nutrients can make us feel flat, lacking in energy through the day and affect our sleep quality at night. We all need a daily intake of essential nutrients to sustain our energy and the normal functioning of the body. If we don’t get these nutrients through diet (or supplements), we don’t get them at all. Eating a daily diet with balanced amounts of complex carbohydrates, protein, good fats, lots of vegetables, a little fruit and limited packaged food will support your energy production and release of the right hormones. Not only will your sleep improve and your body will release the right hormones at the right time, but your mood will improve. Definitely consider reducing your sugar intake and bumping up the vegetables and protein.
2. Get on top on your stress
If you’ve been under moderate stress recently or feel like you haven’t recovered from a stressful event some time ago, this can cause much strain on the adrenal glands and many other body systems, and eventually lead to chronic fatigue or symptoms of ‘adrenal fatigue’ or HPA dysfunction. Adrenal hormones such as cortisol are released at times of stress as well as first thing in the morning (which helps us wake up) and long-term stress can alter this release and contribute to morning fatigue. If this is happening, seek the support your body needs through addressing what could be causing your stress via weekly counselling sessions, starting a meditation or yoga practice, or seeing a naturopath for herbal medicine and nutrition treatment. It makes such a difference!
3. Reduce your caffeine
Caffeine is fun. It gives us this pretend pep each day. And that’s okay if you’re functioning well and feeling fabulous. If you’re waking really exhausted though, as well as dealing with moderate levels of stress, caffeine will worsen this long term through disrupting your natural sleep cycle and increasing more cortisol. As explained above, long-term cortisol release can alter adrenal hormone production and affect sleep quality.
Interestingly, studies indicate that caffeine, rather than enhancing performance, is merely restoring performance degraded by sleepiness. Therefore it makes sense to reconsider your caffeine habits if you’re waking up really tired. Read my article ‘Coffee, how much is too much?’ to see if coffee is doing you more harm than good. In a nutshell, reduce your caffeine intake by half or go cold-turkey altogether and see how you feel in a few weeks.
4. Go sans alcohol
Having a few glasses of wine with dinner seems innocent enough right? It’s all relative. If you’re feeling great and you’re not dealing with any health issues and are sleeping soundly and waking up refreshed then no problemo. The French have been doing it for centuries.
However, if you’re in the habit of afternoon beers or a few night caps before bed, this almost always will contribute to your sleep quality. It’s all in the research – alcohol consumption leads to a reduction in the amount of sleep time, is associated with waking up in the second half of the night, disrupts sleeping periods and increases waking fatigue. Try it for yourself – go sans alcohol for a few weeks and see if your sleep quality improves and you wake up with more energy.
5. Prioritise your sleep
Not getting enough good quality sleep? Well of course you’re waking tired! Unfortunately we cannot buy sleep nor can we try to cut corners. You’ll feel the deprivation at some point. Your body will definitely let you know.
Whether it’s not getting enough hours; having trouble falling or staying asleep; or not having deep sleep, this needs to be explored. There are many natural sleep remedies to improve sleep quality, but it will be more beneficial if you take it the next step and get some help around understanding why you’re not sleeping well and therefore waking up unrefreshed. Addressing the cause of poor sleep is much better than taking a few sleeping tablets or just putting up with it. It may come down to talking through unresolved stress or emotions, reducing your work/study hours; getting help with the kids; taking time off or rejigging your evening sleep habits (no screens after 8pm).
6. Establish healthy boundaries
It may seem like a stretch to associate ‘people-pleasing’ with waking up tired. But this is what I’ve observed. Those with a tendency to go head over heels to help others, finding it difficult to say no, worrying about what others think if you disappoint them or putting everyone else first seem to have a higher inclination towards exhaustion and burnout. Call it anecdotal, but I think it’s well worth pondering.
When we are giving too much of our power and energy away and not replenishing through self-care practices, we can feel drained, resentful and end up lying awake worrying about something that may or may not happen. This will affect sleep quality and likely have you waking exhausted. Not having boundaries is ‘pleasing others’ all the time, not taking time off, always saying yes to things you don’t want to do, allowing others to use you and not prioritising time to do the things you love. Therefore setting healthy boundaries will help you gain your power back, and therefore reserve some of that energy for yourself. Here’s a few examples:
- Begin to say no to the things you don’t want to do
- Begin to say yes to the things you do want to do
- Stall – it’s okay to say “I’ll think about it” or “Let me get back to you”
- Say no when others try to manipulate you into something you don’t want to do
- Allow yourself to have that vulnerable conversation and speak up about your needs
Try these tips consistently over a few weeks to months and hopefully this will help you change the way you interact with the snooze button.
And if you prefer a personalised and professional approach to address your sleep, energy and mood issues let me create a plan for you! Read more about my naturopathic sessions here.