Waking up feeling refreshed and energized each morning seems like a distant dream for most of us. To fit more into our day, we often need more sleep and end up feeling exhausted and unmotivated the next morning. It may lead to feeling undervalued or burned out if we cannot take time off.
We know how important it is to start our morning with a fresh feeling so we can tackle anything that comes our way, but how do we make it happen?
Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, have just released a groundbreaking new study that sheds light on how we can wake up alert and ready for action. The secret lies in a three-part prescription that involves making dietary and lifestyle adjustments and working on having more productive sleep cycles.
Whether you're an early bird or a night owl, this study has something for everyone to follow, so get up and find out how to make the perfect start to your day!
New Study Reveals How to Wake Up Afresh & Alert: The Secret to Waking Up Refreshed
To wake up feeling energized and refreshed, many people look to their genetics, believing that certain people have an easier time bouncing out of bed in the morning. While genetics does play a role in how quickly we process things and regulate our feelings for the day ahead, this new understanding shows that particular behaviors can influence us to start our days with more energy and clarity.
According to a recent long-term study from the University of California, Berkeley, published in Nature Communications, three key factors affect how well we wake up in the morning. The list includes these characteristics:
- Sleep quality and quantity from the night before
- Intensity and duration of physical activity one did during the day prior
- Food intake in the morning after waking up
So instead of relying on one’s genes alone to have an energized start to the day, these influential factors can be adjusted to reach an optimal level of sustained energy and alertness throughout the day.
In other words, this research encourages us to consider how self-care habits such as sleeping enough, getting moderate exercise, eating well, and stabilizing blood sugar levels can enable us to have much brighter mornings.
Now let’s move forward and learn more about these factors to know how to implement the findings in your routine to attain the desired results.
Related Article: 10 Amazing Ways to Get Up Early in the Morning & Workout
How the Sleep Factor Affects the Activeness of a Person in the Morning & During the Day?
According to the research under discussion, how much you sleep is essential in how well-rested you wake up feeling. The study has revealed that sleeping longer than someone usually would is associated with greater alertness the following day. Therefore, if you want to wake up refreshed and energized, it might be beneficial to get some extra shut-eye once in a while. Of course, do what is necessary, as that may cause the trick to lose its effect due to a change in your usual sleep pattern.
In addition to this, more than the duration of your sleep, the timing that occurs on the 24-hour clock face can also play a significant role in how alert and energized you may be when you wake up. Sleeping later than usual into the morning could predict higher levels of alertness the following morning.
In some cases, this increase in alertness can come from extended amounts of sleep due to sleeping in. Since getting enough restful sleep is so important, paying attention to how and when you fall asleep could be an excellent way to ensure complete rest each night.
Furthermore, research that repeatedly examines the data from the same individuals (a longitudinal study design) may allow for insight into how much and when an individual should sleep to be fully energized during the day. This is of great value because it enables more personalized recommendations to be tailored.
This approach also helps us observe how deviations from one's individualized sleep norm manifest while creating space for more effective behavioral changes that target one's specific needs, leading to a higher chance of improved alertness throughout waking hours.
Wondering Why the Recent Study Says Sleeping Until Late Can Boost Your Energy Level for the Day Ahead? Here is the Answer!
The study that we have referred to earlier also observed that sleeping later in the morning increases the potential to become more awake because it allows individuals to drift further away from their Circadian rhythm, which has been linked with reduced sleep inertia.
An explanation for this might be the concept of sleep pressure: when our body has had enough rest, there is an effective discharge of the tension which builds up from lack of restful sleep.
This is known as 'discharging of the sleep homeostat,' which likely contributes to lessening 'sleep inertia' — those groggy post-sleep effects—and being better alert in the mornings. So if you have been trying to unlock the secret to waking up immediately, you now know what to do!
Secondly, sleeping later will also provide higher chances of obtaining or even awakening from REM sleep –– a crucial stage as it allows for significantly higher cortical activation and an increase in body temperature, aiding with how alert we awaken feeling.
Waking up around the exact times each day may as well be incredibly beneficial in allowing our bodies to adjust how they operate, causing how we feel upon waking to be vastly improved.
Furthermore, it has also been noted that people who aim for a more extended sleep period typically have lower daytime drowsiness levels than those aiming for a shorter sleeping time. So to ensure more refreshed mornings, aim for enough hours of quality zzz's; this will help discharge any accumulated sleep pressure and consequently allow you to freshen up entirely in the morning!
While discussing how to wake up refreshed and energized every morning, it is crucial to note that it is also affected by how one prepares the day prior. Results from the study discovered that physical activity is one of the main features that can predict better morning alertness. In particular, when physical activity the day prior was comparatively greater, individuals experienced more significant levels of alertness the next morning.
However, a limitation of the research was not considering how the quality of deep NREM sleep may differ if physical activity was different in the hours before bed. Knowing how the two correlate may offer future insight into how to wake up with more energy and focus after a whole night's rest. Nonetheless, adding an excellent workout to your day positively impacts your mental activeness upon waking each morning.
Related Article: How to Optimize Your Exercise for Better Sleep, According to Fitness Experts
The Impact of Breakfast Intake
Although how much you sleep the night before is influential in how alert you feel the following morning, a surprising factor that may have an even more significant effect is what you have for breakfast! Different macro-nutrient compositions of food consumed in the morning will affect how alert you are afterward.
For example, if you consume a "high carb" breakfast with a standardized amount of fat, carbohydrates, and protein, then it has been found to produce higher levels of ensuing alertness. This is worth considering the next time your alarm goes off and helps explain why some wake-up suddenly feels more effortless than others.
You can design a breakfast routine that includes all the food mentioned above so that your body gets what it needs to go through the day. Also, take advantage of your water intake, and make sure you keep a water bottle with you throughout the day and drink an appropriate amount of water to stay hydrated. Lack of hydration can also result in tiredness and less agility.
Even if it may seem easier for some than others to wake up feeling energized and refreshed, the takeaway from this new understanding is that everyone can take steps to optimize the conditions, which leads to feeling alert and prepared. Whether planning ahead with a regular exercise routine or preparing a nutritious breakfast the night before, small lifestyle changes can significantly impact how we approach our mornings.
We don't have to succumb to how our genes dictate how we start our days - there's a push and pull of actions that can help us reset and restore each morning. For those who feel like their mornings consistently lack the enthusiasm of other times during the day, diligently implementing these simple habits can go a long way in shifting one's attitude towards waking up with more energy so that they are eager to tackle all of what awaits them every morning.
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- “New Study Finds the Secret to Waking Up Feeling Refreshed Every Morning.” Prevention, 29 Dec. 2022, https://www.prevention.com/health/sleep-energy/a42125238/scientists-discover-secret-to-waking-up-alert-and-refreshed-study/.
- Vallat, Raphael, et al. “How People Wake up Is Associated with Previous Night’s Sleep Together with Physical Activity and Food Intake.” Nature Communications, vol. 13, no. 1, Nov. 2022, p. 7116. www.nature.com, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-022-34503-2.