5 Ways To Wake Up With More Energy, According To Research & Sleep Experts
Until recently, I was pretty much the poster child for cranky mornings, grogginess, and sleep inertia. Try as I might, I could never seem to figure out how people woke up with energy and felt alert. But finally, after literal years of trial and error, I've nailed down my five go-to's for waking up ready to tackle the day.
The best part? They all happen to be backed by science, research, and sleep experts. Here's what's been working for me–it might just work for you, too.
Do Yoga Nidra before bed
I've been a yoga teacher for years, but only recently got into Yoga Nidra. It's a practice that involves the lying in savasana as you're guided into a relaxed, dreamlike state, somewhere between asleep and awake.
I started doing it to help unwind before bed, and discovered I felt significantly more alert those mornings after.
And existing research on Yoga Nidra backs up my anecdotal experience. In one recent study1 on Yoga Nidra for insomnia, researchers concluded that Yoga Nidra is a "well-tolerated, feasible intervention for adults reporting insomnia." In additional recent research, study authors say that Yoga Nidra practice "improves cognitive processing and helps improve nighttime sleep in healthy novices."
If you're curious to try it yourself, there are plenty of free guided Yoga Nidra audios/videos you can find online.
Try a quality sleep supplement
Supplements can offer us the best in targeted botanical ingredients and nutrients to help us feel our best, and they can even help promote deeper, more restorative sleep, and more energized mornings. Just be sure you're opting for a quality sleep supplement that has research-backed ingredients. (Melatonin-free and rich in magnesium are musts for me, for example.)
Here are mindbodygreen's favorite sleep supplements to help you find the right pick for you.
Keep a consistent sleep schedule
Sometimes life gets in the way and we can't go to bed and wake up at the same time daily—but I promise, if you can make that happen as much as possible, your body will get into a rhythm.
As psychologist and sleep expert Stephen Amira, Ph.D. previously told mindbodygreen, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day helps set your body's internal clock so it becomes programmed to expect sleep at certain times. When I started going to bed at the same time every night, I found it a lot easier to wake up at the same time every morning, too.
Know your chronotype
Speaking of your sleep schedule and circadian rhythm, it's important to remember that we don't all have the same natural rhythm. The sleep schedule that your friend swears by might not work for you and vice versa. That said, you'll want to figure out your chronotype to understand your optimal schedule.
A "chronotype" is any one of four different circadian rhythm types (Lion, Bear, Wolf, and Dolphin), with some being more suited for early mornings, and others, late nights. I'm definitely a wolf, and while I know I'll never be someone who wakes up at 5 a.m., what counts is how I feel when I do wake up, even if that's 9 a.m. Adhering to my chronotype has been a major game changer in how I approach sleep and how I feel in the morning.
Lean on the power of light
Last but not least, don't underestimate the power of natural light on your circadian rhythm. Research and experts agree it's one of the biggest influences on our energy levels, and it also happens to be an accessible intervention for keeping your circadian rhythm in check.
For me, that looks like a sunrise alarm clock, morning and evening walks outdoors, and dimming the lights in the evening to prepare for bed.
So much of waking up feeling alert and energized actually starts the night before. If you, like me, have always struggled to get up in the morning, figure out your chronotype and stick to that schedule, try Yoga Nidra and get natural light, and grab a quality sleep supplement if it helps you.
Put it all together and you've got a recipe for one restorative night's sleep—and an energized morning.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.