How to wake up feeling fresh

Ever wake up feeling groggy, exhausted, and just plain reluctant to get out of bed? We know, we know. We ought to head to bed earlier, avoid drinking caffeine, and so on – in fact, our other journal this month is full of tips on how to achieve better quality sleep – but we also understand that sometimes life gets in the way of that. For those days, read on to learn some tricks that’ll help you wake up feeling more refreshed, alive, and ready to take on the day.

While we slumber, our body passes through five distinct phases: four stages of non-REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and then a stage of REM sleep, where most of our dreaming occurs. This process usually repeats four to five times a night, with one cycle typically lasting 90 minutes. Each time REM sleep comes to an end, there is a brief period in which we are relatively awake before a new cycle starts again, and if we were to sleep without being disturbed we would naturally wake at this point. To start your day feeling refreshed, it’s all about timing your bedtime so you wake up at the end of a sleep cycle instead of in the middle when you’re in deep sleep. Sync up with your natural waking rhythm as much as possible by deciding what time you want to get up and then counting backwards in 90-minute blocks to work out when you should hit the sack. For example, if you need to be awake at 8am, you should be asleep by 11pm or 12.30am to feel fresher in the morning.

Our exposure to light greatly affects how tired we feel. This is because light is a signal to our body that it’s time to wake up and cease the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps us fall and stay asleep. To feel awake and energised, open the curtains to let light into your room as soon as you wake up. Or better yet, leave your blinds open and let your body gradually wake up with the sun. You may even want to invest in a light alarm, which mimics the effects of the rising sun to make waking up more pleasant.

When you wake up feeling tired, working out is probably the last thing on your mind, but research has shown that exercise can actually help you to feel more awake. We’re not saying that you have to go for a run every morning – even light physical activity such as a few press-ups or sit-ups can leave you feeling great. This is because exercise works to get the blood flowing around our body, which means more oxygen enters the brain and that helps to elimate the feeling of tiredness. And, not to mention, the endorphins released from working out will put you in a better mood!

On days you wake up feeling particularly sluggish, a zesty, invigorating scent can be a powerful pick-me-up. Peppermint, for example, has been reported to improve concentration and alertness while the smell of citrusy fruits have been found to increase mental stimulation. Feel more awake in the morning by placing reed diffusers in the room you spend the most time in once you get up, such as your bathroom or your kitchen. Just make sure to use stimulating scents like Poetree’s citrusy Island Bouquet or Ode to Joy home fragrances and not calming scents like lavender.

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