A slap in the face takes many forms including cold showers, sunshine, and even headstands
We’ve all been there: you wake up tired, drowsy, and delirious from lack of sufficient quality sleep. Perhaps you have difficulty falling and staying asleep or just have perpetual insomnia. Maybe you do sleep but the quality is so poor that you still feel like crap when you wake up? Whatever the scenario, your ability to function is impaired and your mind and body are compromised.
But all is not lost. There are things you can do to redeem your day and alleviate the exhaustion and fatigue in those first couple of moments, and even hours, after we wake up riddled with sleepiness.
Here are a few tips and tricks to make the most of even a sleepless night:
1. Snooze And Lose
If your alarm goes off in the morning and you have a negative reaction because of how unrested you are but think five more minutes will take the edge off the exhaustion, you’re wrong. It hurts more than it helps to get a few extra minutes of shut-eye when you’re already feeling tired and know you haven’t gotten the proper amount of sleep.
Those extra minutes are considered shortened, interrupted, lower quality sleep and ultimately aren’t worth it. Robert S. Rosenberg, the medical director of the Sleep Disorders Centers of Prescott in Arizona, states that it’s also unhelpful for a scientific reason as well. Your body’s internal clock doesn’t benefit from segmented, short surface bursts of sleep, so ultimately, it’s unhelpful. Instead, set your alarm for the time you need to get up in the morning, and ensure it’s consistent and rings around the same time every day — this will help to properly align your internal clock
2. Shower (The Right Way)
Many people stumble from their warm bed into a warm shower and stand in it for a few moments, hoping it will wake them. While this may feel great and be incredibly relaxing, it’s not going to do much to wake or imbue you with the adequate level of alertness. In fact, warm showers lull you back into a state of relaxation that isn’t conducive to what you are really after.
Try this instead: at the end of your shower, stand in water as cold as you can tolerate for 30 seconds, then switch to water as hot as you can tolerate for 30 seconds. This helps to increase blood flow by opening your capillaries. You’ll want to switch again to cold for an additional 30 seconds before exiting the shower. This shower trick eliminates the groggy feeling that often accompanies a morning after too little sleep.
Most people stop drinking water in the evening to prevent waking too often during the night to use the restroom. What this often results in is a level of dehydration in the morning that only further exacerbates energy levels and mood. It’s best to have a glass of water right by your bed to drink as soon as you sit up. Even the most slight dehydration is known to alter your ability to think clearly and decrease your mood. So it’s no wonder this can sometimes contribute to our lackluster moods in the morning. As soon as you open your eyes, grab some water. This is also a great way to start your necessary daily intake of water as most people grab coffee first thing, which is naturally dehydrating.
4. Natural Light
While dark rooms are the best and most comfortable to sleep in, you’ll want to open your curtains once you wake to get up with the sun. Natural light has an effect on the brain that cannot be duplicated by light bulbs. Letting natural light stream in from your window allows your internal clock to understand that it’s time to wake fully and start the day; this can contribute to alertness and the ability to properly concentrate. Dr. Carolyn Dean, author of The Magnesium Miracle, states that “facing the sun for about ten minutes will help re-set your sleep clock (circadian rhythm) and turn off any melatonin production.” You can also try a light therapy lamp, in cases where you may have to get up before the sun rises.
5. Figure Out The Root Issues
Is waking up groggy a recurring issue, or an every now and again thing? Finding out what may be impeding your quality of sleep is crucial. To combat some of the issues that come from restless sleep, we must first pinpoint the causes. You may be suffering from an unknown medical condition that is giving you a lower quality of sleep. You may be experiencing a side effect from a prescription that you are taking. It could be because of certain stressors or your particular lifestyle. You could also be bombarded by too much blue light in the evenings emitted from electronic devices like TVs, computers, and cell phones. It’s best to avoid electronics an hour before bedtime. Blue light suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone that makes us feel sleepy. All these aspects can contribute to you waking up without the luxury of being fully rested. If the problem persists, it’s time to evaluate what could be causing your fatigue; this is the first step to being able to combat it successfully.
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Bonus: Upside Down
This next suggestion may take a bit of mustering what little energy you have in the morning, and a few extra minutes — but it could change the shape of your whole day. There are tremendous benefits associated with yoga and the headstand could be just the thing to propel your energy early in the morning. This practice, once it is done consistently, will also increase the circulation in your neck, which will improve the quality of sleep you enjoy. The upside down position is also deeply rejuvenating and allows the blood to better circulate oxygen to your brain, thus increasing energy and improving your mood.
But don’t just try something like this arbitrarily; proper alignment is crucial to an effective and safe headstand. Go slowly and listen to your body. Use a blanket at the crown of your head and a wall to rest your weight against, once in position. As is the case with anything, practice makes perfect. It will take a few tries before you get comfortable with it.
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