Health & Wellness Articles

You Could Wake Up Naturally to a More Energized Day

Small Changes Can Mean BIG Energy

7:00 a.m.: An infuriating alarm jolts you awake.
7:30 a.m.: After three snooze delays you finally turn it off and force yourself to jump out of bed.
8:15 a.m.: Two cups of coffee later, you're stuck in maddening morning traffic.
2:30 p.m.: You practically fall asleep at your desk.

"I got eight hours of sleep last night," you think hazily. "Why am I still tired?"

The answer may lie in your morning routine. Afternoon energy levels can be predicted by what you do when you first get up. A typical frantic start to the day can wake you up temporarily but leave you dragging later on. Low energy saps creativity, spontaneity, concentration and motivation. Not to mention the irritability and stress that it causes.

So why does the morning rush let you down? According to researchers at Duke University Medical Center, both sudden activity and caffeine kick-up your blood pressure and stress hormones, giving you a quick feeling of alertness and energy. But these adrenaline-producing tactics are short-lived. Once the mayhem is over, it's crash time.

It's much better to start the day by letting your body catch up to sleep-cycle cues that it collects. By coming out of "sleep" mode more naturally, you help your body get off to a more relaxing start to a more energized day.

Here are some ideas for how to set your body clock to "awake" without the shock of sudden activity that rattles the stress system: 
  1. Wake up to music rather than an alarm.
  2. Don't get up right away. While breathing deeply, loosen up and stretch your limbs out, from your fingers to your toes. Pretend you're a cat waking up from a nap.
  3. Think of the most positive thing you'll be doing that day.
  4. Get out of bed slowly. Ease into it.
  5. Turn on more and more lights as you go through your routine, until every light you see is on.
  6. If weather permits, step outside for a minute. Sunshine is one of the strongest ways to tell your body to wake up.
  7. Do 3-5 minutes of easy activity. Emphasis on easy.
  8. Eat breakfast! Foods low in fat and high in protein, fiber and carbs provide energy that lasts a long time. Try yogurt, fruit, whole wheat breads, and skim milk.
A key is not to oversleep or use the snooze button. It may be tough at first, but getting up at the same time every morning makes it easier to set a sleep cycle that won't make you feel tired in the middle of the day. 

P.S. When you're stuck in traffic, try listening to some classical music or jazz to calm you.

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Member Comments

  • I enjoy listening to John Legend when stuck in traffic.
  • I've never been a morning person, but mornings are definitely lot easier now that I've got a routine!
    I'm on day 49 of my streak, exercising first thing in the morning.
    I get up early to walk inside or out, depending on the weather. Eat a good breakfast & head to work with 1/3 of my daily steps in. This also helps me make better choices throughout the day!
    Have a fabulous day!
  • Ha ha, woke up to sunshine. The only way I could wake up at 5 AM or earlier (3:45 on gym day) is the loudest alarm on my phone which forced me to walk 5 ft to turn it off. I used my phone instead of a clock was because power went off once and I over slept 2 hours. I still used the clock for backup alarm set 10 minutes later. I tried to sleep before 8 PM when the sun didn't set until 10 PM sometime. The best thing to help me wake up was to do 3 sets of pull up on my tower. Then I would have my high protein breakfast; eggs, lean meat, coffee, water and sometime oatmeal with meat.. Forget about yogurt, milk, fruit, and other soft stuff. I do't have stomach for that. Most of you didn't understand that lots people couldn't tolerate lactose. I also tried to nap 20 minutes after lunch. This is the only way I could work 10 - 12 hours day.
  • I don't like alarm clocks - musical or otherwise! If my husband goes out of town and there are no pressures I unplug it. Usually my husband turns off and sets the clock for us - usually 5:30 a.m.!
    Okay, so I read the article and many of the comments posted. I do agree that not all of the points will fit into my morning routine throughout the week. But I do believe that it is reasonable for me too implement two or three of these helps on a regular basis. Starting with music to wake up by is an easy one. Slowly stretching and getting out of bed should be workable. And I have been more diligent and eating a healthy breakfast each day. I mean after all, should I do nothing because I can't do everything?
  • While I do have a routine of slowly getting ready in the morning on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I am very aware that this is because of the luxury of having a schedule that permits that. Let's be real for s second, okay? There are millions of people who must rush in the morning. They do not have the luxury of doing what is suggested in this article.

    I remember when I worked two jobs and went to college full-time. I would be in bed by Midnight and wake up at 4am. All the hours of the day were full. I cannot imagine what that would have been like if I had kids.

    While the suggestions here sound nice, they are not practical for a lot of people. It's kind of cruel to suggest that they should be doing these things, when the reality of their lives does not permit it.
  • One of the best things I did was to stop setting my alarm - true that happened after our bunny died and I didn't feel the pressure to get up at a certain time. Ironically I get up earlier! And now I walk around the house for 5 minutes after I get up to earn an "hour won" for my Nike Fuel Band. I feel much better!
  • I applaud this article for not being just another " go to bed on time and take a warm bath" article. unfortunately, it still makes too many assumptions. It assumes that everyone gets up after sunrise or even gets the option of getting up at the same time every day. I already use music to wake up. I like the idea of stretching and getting up slowly. I will try that more often.
  • I like to wake up and drink at least 16 oz. of water before any coffee, as well. Coffee helps me a couple hours into work, but I like not being dependent on it to wake up. Water helps to revive the cells and rehydrate the body after a long night of sleep and you can definitely feel it!
    When I stopped smoking 20 years ago, I had to change a bunch of routines to be successful. One I had to change was my morning routine. Before, I would smoke a cigarette and drink a cup of coffee in bed while watching tv before I got up. After I quit, and even now. I go to bed sometime between 9 and 10pm and wake up on my own at 5-6am. As soon as I wake up, I get up, go stand on the back step and stretch for a few minutes, get dressed and get a coffee, then do whatever workout I'm doing that day. We are all creatures of habit. Create the ones you want.
    I hate the snooze alarm. My husband will use it and I don't have to get up at 3 a.m. but he will keep hitting it. When I can go back to sleep after one alarm after 3 or 4 then I'm up. I try to convince him if he needs a extra half hour of sleep then just sleep the extra half hour and get up when the alarm first goes off.
  • These are wonderful suggestions, unless you have a 3 am wake up on work days. No way I am keeping that alarm on the weekends. I would never get any sleep at all then.
  • I've always had the hardest time waking up in the morning. My brain stays asleep while my body turns off the alarm. I then wind up back in bed asleep for another forever. Yeah, that works well. Ha!

    Just got my 1st smartphone, though, and found an app that presents mental tasks the user has to complete before it will shut off. You can choose the sounds - either from alarm-like sounds or more pleasant ones - and choose/adjust the tasks presented. I am presented each morning now with, among 3 or 4 other tasks, math problems. And not ones that are easy when still asleep. This app is forcing me to wake up mentally to turn off the alarm. By the time I'm awake mentally, I WANT to get up. It works like a charm! :)
  • Alarm goes off at 7 AM?! HA! Try 4:15 AM!
  • Good tips, hopefully I can trick body into getting up by at least one of them working.

About The Author

Mike Kramer Mike Kramer
As a writer and artist, Mike has witnessed countless motivational stories and techniques. See all of Mike's articles.

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