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Natural Ways to Wake Up Energized
by Sárka-Jonae Miller
(The Best Years in Life) If getting out of bed in the morning is tough for you, research says there are things you can do to wake up feeling more refreshed. And once you're awake, a few simple tweaks to your wake-up routine could give you a burst of energy without coffee or other stimulants.
Invest in Earplugs
Most people know that drinking caffeine in the evening, doing a hard workout before bedtime, or going to bed angry can contribute to difficulties falling asleep. However, there's one big thing that wakes people up at night and prevents them from feeling refreshed in the morning: noise. The sounds of car alarms, slamming doors, screeching brakes, owls, crickets, loud people, sirens, and whatever else might be around where you live is probably disturbing your sleep, possibly without your knowledge. The stress on your body from hearing these noises can actually shorten your life, according to an article in New Scientist Magazine. Enter earplugs, your best friend to help you sleep soundly.
If you're worried about hearing your alarm clock through the earplugs, you're not alone but you're also not out of luck. You can buy earplugs designed to filter out certain sounds that don't include your alarm or something else you need to hear, like a baby monitor.
Get Up and Drink Up
Getting up as soon as you awake, instead of hitting snooze or otherwise lounging in bed, prevents sluggishness throughout the day. Instead of staying in bed, get up and get a glass of water. Drinking water with an empty stomach in the morning actually helps you wake up more quickly.
Go to the Light
Sunlight triggers your body to go into full wake-up mode. It's the natural cue to your circadian rhythms to switch off or turn on genes linked to your internal clock, according to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Light from light bulbs helps too, but bright, natural sunlight is best.
Participants in a study conducted at the University of Liege showed more activity in the areas of the brain that control cognitive processes after exposure to bright light in the morning. They reported feeling more alert. A lightbox is a good substitute if you wake up before sunrise or live in a cloudy climate.
According to a study conducted at the University of Michigan, some simple acupressure in the morning increases alertness. Five pressure points were found to be beneficial. Use your fingers to stimulate the point between your thumb and index finger. You may need to consult an acupoint chart to find the other points, but there's another spot on the top of your head and another on the base of the neck you can try. Then, move down the body to stimulate a spot just under the center of your patella and then a point on the ball of your foot. The study participants felt less tired after spending three minutes on each point.
After giving your fingers an acupressure workout, try some broader exercise to bring yourself fully awake. Twenty minutes of light to moderate exercise in the morning can give you more energy throughout the day. Even something gentle like yoga or tai chi can do the trick. If you don't have twenty minutes, try to do at least five minutes and make them more intense.
Bring on the Protein
It's normal to want to grab something quick like a banana or a bagel for breakfast, but including protein can give you energy. The body transforms protein into dopamine, a chemical hormone that gives you energy, according to W. Christopher Winter, M.D. of the Martha Jefferson Sleep Center. Beans, nuts, seeds, and eggs are all good sources of protein, but skip breakfast sandwiches because carbohydrates and processed foods lead to grogginess. Try to avoid bread products and cereals until later in the day.
Follow these tips more or less in order and you should experience more energy in the morning. You may even find it easier to sleep at night. Going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning will improve your sleeping habits. Starting your morning off right provides beneficial signals that get your body's rhythms in a more natural state for consistent sleeping.
About the Author
Sárka-Jonae Miller is a health and fitness expert. She began working in the fitness industry in 2000 while pursuing a BS in journalism at Syracuse University. She became certified as a personal fitness trainer and group exercise instructor in 2003. She has also received training in massage therapy. Sárka also writes fiction. She is the author of the chick lit novel, Between Boyfriends. Get more health and wellness tips on Sárka's Natural Healing Tips blog or join her on Facebook and Twitter.