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Feeling Groggy? Experts Share How To Beat It (Without Coffee)

Woman waking up in the morning and reaching for her phone
Image by LumiNola / iStock
September 25, 2020

Some mornings you might find yourself waking up feeling energized and ready to tackle the day. Others, not so much. If grogginess has got you down, there could be a handful of reasons for it: Sleep inertia, poor sleep quality, and an inconsistent schedule can have us feeling like less than our best in the mornings.

Before you go ahead and grab your third cup of coffee, check out these expert tips on how to beat occasional grogginess without caffeine:

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Set yourself up for a good night's sleep.

The first key to waking up well rested is, of course, getting a good night's sleep.

One way to support deep, restful sleep is with a magnesium supplement.* As functional medicine doctor Robert Rountree, M.D., explains on the mindbodygreen podcast, "[Magnesium] is a natural muscle relaxant, so it helps the whole body calm down. It also lowers blood pressure. So it does basically all the things that you want to do to get the body ready for sleep and to help maintain sleep.*"

Functional medicine gynecologist Wendie Trubow, M.D., adds that magnesium can also improve sleep by supporting the adrenals, helping your body relax. "Magnesium is critical for a ton of processes within the body, and many people don't have enough," she previously told mbg.

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Choose a better alarm.

According to research, all alarm clocks aren't created equal. Some sounds are more likely to cause that early morning grogginess1 than others. Namely, harsh and abrupt sounds don't help people wake up the same way a melodic song does.

As holistic nurse practitioner Victoria Albina, N.P., MPH, previously told mbg, "It's optimal to wake up gradually, which is what nature intended. The sun doesn't just pop up out of the sky; it rises slowly, and so should we. When we're awakened quickly, it can create sleep inertia." For this reason, you can also consider getting an alarm clock that gives off a soft light, mimicking the sunrise.


Don't hit snooze.

Once that nice, melodic alarm does go off in the mornings, resist the temptation to hit snooze. "When you hit the snooze button, you're more likely to fall back into a deeper state of sleep," which will make waking up even harder and grogginess inevitable, Albina adds. If you're one to snooze, consider leaving your phone across the room (or even outside your room) so you have to get up to turn it off.

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Dry brush and take a cold shower.

Nothing is quite as energizing as a cold shower or bath. "It not only wakes you up but also helps with blood flow circulation," notes holistic physician Bindiya Gandhi, M.D. "And it's great for your skin and hair." She recommends easing into it with three minutes of cold water toward the end of your morning shower.

Dry brushing before you get into the shower can also pack an energizing punch. "Dry brushing is not only detoxifying but helps blood flow circulation and helps with lymph drainage," Gandhi says. "It also stimulates your nervous system so you're definitely energized afterward."



And last, once you're fresh and clean from your cold shower, take some time with yourself to meditate or do some journaling, Gandhi suggests. "Mediation is a great way to energize yourself in the mornings. It's one of my go-to things every morning to help get my day started. Reading something inspirational and then reflecting and journaling is also super powerful. It actually can wake you up when you do it with intention."

No one likes waking up groggy, but it's bound to happen now and again. Rather than turning to caffeine, there are other ways to energize yourself, shake off the sleepiness, and get your day going strong. And who knows, you really may grow to love those cold showers.