Do you wake up feeling drained, confused and without any motivation? Do you want that to change?
Here are 15 simple lifestyle changes that will help you make that change in quick time.
1. Considering eating a light supper for an active morning
To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art. – François de La Rochefoucauld
Do you dine heavy at night? If so, that could be the reason for your tired mornings.
Digestion is an energy intensive process and if you go to bed on a full stomach, your body is going to spend most of the night digesting the food, leading to improper sleep patterns.
The remedy is simple. Follow the Confucius style of eating (Also known as the ‘hari hachi bu‘). This technique involves eating until you are about 80% full. So you basically stop eating while you are still a little hungry.
Popular Japanese proverb: “Eight parts of a full stomach sustain the man; the other two sustain the doctor”.
2. Deeply relax your body for a restorative sleep
When your body feels stressed, it releases the hormone cortisol in your bloodstream. It has been found that cortisol actually blocks the production of melatonin which is the sleep hormone!
So when you are stressed, sleep eludes you and even if you get yourself to sleep, your sleep quality will be sub par and you will wake up feeling draining and groggy.
A simple way to avoid this from happening is to engage in relaxing activities an hour to 30 minutes before bedtime.
The simplest yet most effective relation technique is the deep breathing technique.
The best part is that you can do breathing exercises sitting in your bed. A few simple breathing exercises that you can do are as follows:
# Conscious breathing: Breathe in slowly and deeply ensuring that your belly expands. Hold your breath for a few seconds and then breathe out slowly. While doing this, let go of focusing on your thoughts and instead focus all your attention on your breathing.
# Bee breathing: Lightly plug your ears with your index fingers. Keep your mouth closed. Breathe in deeply and while exhaling, make a mild humming sound like, ‘mmmmm’ using your nose. Feel the deeply relaxing vibrations that this sound generates in your body. Find detailed information about this technique here.
# 4-7-8 breathing: Breathe in using your nose to the count of 4. Hold your breath for the count of 7 and then breathe out using your mouth making a whoosh sound to the count of 8. This breathing technique was developed by Dr. Andrew Weil. More details here.
Repeat these exercises 5 to 8 times. Do any one of these exercises tonight before bedtime and I guarantee you that you will wake up feeling a lot fresher!
Some other techniques you can use to relax are as follows:
- Listening to music.
- Reading a light hearted book.
- Listening to binaural beats.
- Progressing muscle relaxation
- Body awareness meditation.
- Sleep inducing yoga asanas (eg: child pose, savasana and yoga nidra).
- Take a hot bath before you sleep.
3. Plan your day before you sleep
Before going to sleep, make it a habit to jot down your goals for the next day.
Initially, you can only write down what you want to do in your mornings. Writing this down the previous night allows your mind to be more focused when you get up and your body will be ready to take up the tasks ahead.
If you hate what your current daily routine entails then work towards changing these routines.
Like for instance, if you hate your job, work out a plan on how you can quit your job and move on to doing what you love. Use this as a motivation to get up in the morning. Dedicate a few hours of the day working towards your personal goals.
4. Help your body flush out toxins in the morning
Morning is the time when your body is ready to flush out toxins.
Help your body by drinking half a liter of water first thing in the morning. To make this even more beneficial, drink your water lukewarm.
Warm water has been known to improve blood circulation, relax muscles, improve metabolism, stimulate fat burning and aid the body in the elimination of toxins.
5. Get your energy from the Sun!
Sun gazing is an ancient yogic practice of looking directly at the sun during sunrise or sunset (or during the safe hours).
The sun is the source of all energy and gazing at the sun is a way to tap into this energy.
It has been found that sun gazing stimulates the Pineal gland which is responsible for the production of serotonin (daytime neurotransmitter) during the day and melatonin (sleep hormone) at night.
Serotonin is the daytime neurotransmitter that makes you feel brisk and alert. Serotonin is also known as the happy chemical as it makes you feel good. Research indicates that there is a connection between low serotonin levels and depression.
The best time to look at the sun is during the first few minutes of sunrise (also known as safe hours) when the UVB rays are that their lowest. Stare no longer than 15 to 20 seconds if you are a beginner. You can increase the duration to a minute over the months as you progress and your eyes become comfortable to the light.
Even thought this sounds like folk lore, this absolutely works. Try this for a few days and see for yourself and continue if you feel a difference.
6. Find ways to look forward to your day
One of the reasons why you wake up tired in the morning is because you are not really looking forward to the day. Maybe you don’t like your job, or college, or your daily morning routine.
Most people feel much more alive in the evening than in the morning because they are not enthused by the things they have to do in the day time.
Try to make your morning fun in the best way possible. You can set up some activities you enjoy once you wake up, like working out, listening to motivational tapes, performing yoga, cycling, swimming, painting, photography, an outdoor sport, like playing basketball or any other creative pursuit.
Some people enjoy a meditation session first thing the morning, as it helps relax their mind and ready it for the day’s activities.
When you have something to look forward to, your mind will naturally feel a lot more active and interested.
7. Shed stagnant energy by moving your body
Light exercise releases feel good hormones like serotonin and endorphins and reduces levels of stress hormones like cortisol.
If you don’t feel motivated to exercise first thing in the morning, try moving your body the way you enjoy doing it the most. Go for a jog or a run if that excites you. Early morning jogs can be super rejuvenating.
If that is not your thing, try dancing to your favorite music. This is personal go to. I usually put on some positive Bob Marley music and just jump around to the tunes for five to ten minutes. Always rejuvenates me to the very core.
In-fact, a fun way to walk up in the morning is to set your favorite music as your alarm tone. This is a great way to train your mind to get up early.
8. Let go of thoughts that drain you
Where your attention goes, energy flows.
The number one factor that drains your energy are negative thoughts – thoughts of hatred, revenge, anger, jealousy, worry, resentment and blame (self blame and blaming others).
If most of your energy is being wasted on harboring such thoughts, then you will have little to no energy left to spend on creative pursuits and advancing your life. These thoughts will drag your vibration down.
Make it a habit to become mindful of your thoughts. Consciously let go of negative thoughts and shift your attention towards empowering/uplifting thoughts that raise your vibration.
For example, if you find yourself harboring feelings of hate towards someone and majority of your thoughts are focused on this hate, make it a point to consciously let go of such thoughts. As you do this, you will free up a whole lot of energy which you can now expend on positive thoughts that raise your vibration.
9. Keep your body strong using antioxidants
Free radicals are formed in our body as a byproduct of digestion. An excess of free radicals in the body causes oxidative stress that in turn causes fatigue.
You can prevent this from happening by consuming foods rich in antioxidants. This is because, antioxidants neutralize free radicals, containing their damage to healthy cells.
Rich sources of antioxidants include fruits, veggies and certain herbs and spices.
Fruits with highest antioxidant levels include, berries (like goji berries, blueberries, blackberries etc.), prune, plums, avocados, apples, oranges and bananas, papayas, grapes, and pineapples.
Veggies such as carrots, broccoli, artichoke, kidney beans, asparagus, beetroots and spinach have high antioxidant levels.
As far as herbs and spices go, dried oregano, cocoa, cumin, parsley, basil, cilantro, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves and pepper are choke full of antioxidants.
In addition, there are a few vitamins like Vitamin A, C and E that have powerful antioxidant properties. Most of the foods mentioned above already have these vitamins in them, so consuming them should suffice.
10. Reduce Consumption of Refined carbs
Refined foods like refined wheat flour are devoid of important vitamins and minerals which are required for its digestion. So when you eat these foods, your body now has to use up vital vitamins and minerals just to digest them which in the long run can cause deficiencies resulting in fatigue.
Refined wheat flour is found in food items like biscuits, cakes, cookies and baked goods.
If you like eating these foods, you need not necessarily stop eating them altogether. Just reduce the qualities.
Also, compensate for the lack of vitamins and minerals in these foods by consuming your share of fresh fruits and veggies (refer point 11 above for a list of fruits/veggies).
Also, try to avoid refined flour that has been enriched with synthetic vitamins as these tend to do more harm than good.
11. Eat healthy fats to keep your mind active
The human brain is nearly 60% fat. Cell membrane of your cells is made from fats as well. In addition, studies have also shown that fats improve gut and heart health. So fats are absolutely crucial for the healthy functioning of your brain and body.
If you are not consuming enough fats in your diet, then this could result in fatigue, confusion and poor memory.
You can easily prevent this from happening by including healthy fats in your diet. Both unsaturated (polyunsaturated like Omega3 and monounsaturated) and saturated fats constitute healthy fats. Some good sources of these fats are avocado, coconut and coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, butter, cream, salmon, tuna, nuts and seeds.
As a rule of thumb, try to get around 25-30 percent of your total energy from fats on a daily basis.
The only fats you should avoid (or try to reduce) are trans fats which are found in cakes, cookies, biscuits, pastries, margarine, refined oils and deep fried foods.
12. A healthy gut = an active lifestyle. Eat fermented foods to heal your gut.
Most of the serotonin in your body is produced in the gut. Serotonin as you would know is the happy chemical that helps enhance your mood, promote alertness and overall sense of well-being. Lower serotonin levels have been linked to depression.
Gut is also where your body absorbs nutrients from food. So a bad gut health can lead to a host of issues including nutrient deficiencies, tiredness, auto-immune diseases, lower immunity and depression to name a few.
You can easily improve your gut health by consuming fermented foods like fermented vegetables, kefir, yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, natto and kimchi. These foods contain beneficial bacteria that help break down food and also keep bad bacteria from growing.
Also look to consume foods rich in Vitamin A as Vitamin A (or beta carotene) helps repair and maintain the mucosal lining of the gut which is crucial for proper absorption of nutrients from food. Sources include carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, spinach and cantaloupe to name a few.
As vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, so you also need to consume healthy fats as mentioned earlier in this article.
So these are the things that helped me stop feeling sluggish and tired in the morning. Try to make some of these lifestyle changes and I can assure you that you will be amazed at the results!