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Do you have any tips to help me feel more energetic first thing?

 

Question
Do you have any tips which would help me get out of bed on the first alarm in the morning, rather than stealing another ten minutes in the warm, which is enough to throw my morning routine out of kilter?

Answer
The first thing to remember in answering this question is that we are all individuals and what works for one will not work for all.

The important questions to ask yourself are, “are you getting enough sleep for you and is your sleep quality good enough”?  Individual needs can vary from as little as 4 hours for 13% of the adult population, to as much as 10 hours for 2%.  GP’s acknowledge the condition TATT (tired all the time) and it is estimated that a quarter of the working population age group is chronically tired.  So it is important to know how much sleep you need and make a plan to ensure you get it.

Another thing to bear in mind is that well-being plays an important part in sleep need.  For example, if an individual is getting things right regarding the well-being aspects of their life, their sleep need may reduce from say 7 or 8 hours to 6 or 7 hours.  Conversely, if the well-being elements of their life are less good, they will become more tired and their sleep need may increase to 8 or 9 hours.

The quality of your sleep is an important factor as to how well rested you will feel in the morning.  Four hours of deep sleep is required if you are to feel really refreshed.  Excess adrenaline and not being able to switch off reduces this so, if necessary, take exercise to use the adrenaline up and try to follow a calming ritual before you go to sleep – some find a warm bath soothing, others may read a book or relax listening to music.  One chap found that reading a violent thriller and drinking his only cup of coffee of the day worked wonderfully for him, so this may involve a little trial and error!

Another thing to consider is whether you are a morning or an evening person.  If you are someone who finds activity easy in the evening but really doesn’t function very well in the morning, you could try to switch some of the tasks you know you have to do before leaving the house to the previous evening, thus cutting down the time you need to get ready the following morning … allowing a valuable extra few minutes under the covers.

Finally, studies have revealed that daylight plays an important part in our ability to throw back the covers and spring into action.  At this time of year many of us may be affected by SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).  Some people I have spoken to have found that alarm clocks which artificially simulate a gradual daylight into your room have made an enormous difference to their waking ability.  But like all the other suggestions here, this will work for some and not others – perhaps you could monitor if it makes a difference for you naturally, as the lighter mornings and spring are hopefully just around the corner!

This article’s expert was Dr David Mason Brown.

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