How To Feel More Alert and Energised In The Morning – Hypnotherapy in Ely and Newmarket
Do you wake up each morning and start the day feeling refreshed, energised, alert and ready for the day?
Or do you wake up feeling tired in the morning, having to force yourself into the day after repeatedly bashing the snooze button, already wondering how you’ll get through the day and counting down the hours until it’s all over and you can be back in bed again?
Perhaps, if you are like most people, you find that some days you wake ready for the day whilst on others you have to force yourself to get going and you feel like you are dragging yourself into the day. When my alarm goes off at 5.30am each morning, I deliberately get out of bed quickly and move from one task to another so that I can get everything done and get to bootcamp on time. My deliberate wakefulness and alertness comes as I leave the house and head off on my bike.
Rather than relying on chance, it turns out that there are specific factors that influence how alert you are when you wake up and how alert you generally are as a person.
Research has now shown that how alert you wake up the morning is related to these independent factors that can be modified and improved if you want to feel more alert and energised each day.
Optimising Your Alertness Levels
Whilst our alertness and focus levels can vary form day to day, we all know that when we feel more energised and alert most things in life become a lot easier. It becomes easier to perform and carry out tasks, to make decisions, to regulate our emotions, to feel more positive and to be more productive. A lack of alertness is associated with accidents and a lower level of productivity.
It’s going to be beneficial for mental health and physical health, therefore, to feel more alert when you wake up the morning and to be able to keep that going throughout your day.
The factors that influence how each of us wakes up and sustains alertness throughout the waking day is something that research has now investigated. Vallat et al (2022), sought to test which factors are associated with alertness in the first hours after waking from sleep.
In summary, they found that how you wake up and regain alertness in the hours after sleep is related to how you are sleeping, eating, and exercising. They were able to demonstrate that how effectively an individual awakens in the hours following sleep is not associated with their genetics, but instead, four independent factors: sleep quantity/quality the night before, physical activity the day prior, a breakfast rich in carbohydrate, and a lower blood glucose response following breakfast.
That is, rather than your morning alertness after sleep being something down to chance, or something you are stuck with through your life due to your genes, you can take positive action to improve it and boost your alertness levels when you wake. Rather than waking tired you can focus upon what you do with these factors so you wake up with a better mindset.
Feel More Alert In The Morning
How effectively you wake and how alert you are in the first hours after waking up is related to four factors. These are the things that will determine whether you wake up tired or wake up alert and ready for your day. The first factor, unsurprisingly, is your sleep.
The research showed that nights when you sleep longer than your own typical sleep amount were associated with a higher degree of alertness the next morning. As well as sleep duration, sleeping later into the morning than usual also led to higher alertness levels the next morning.
I think that we might have expected this to be a factor in how alert we feel the next day. Anyone who has struggled with an inability to sleep or suffered a disturbed night (thanks kids!) knows all too well how foggy you can feel mentally the next day. Everything seems more sluggish, more taxing and more demanding without a night of quality sleep. It can affect your mood, thinking processes, how you feel and your ability to make decisions and get things done.
Sleep problems are something that hypnotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy can certainly help you with. Whether it’s full blown insomnia, trouble switching off mentally and getting to sleep, or waking in the night and taking an age to drop off again, it is possible to interrupt the unwanted patterns and get back to a level of refreshing sleep. Sleep issues can also be part of the ongoing problematic nature of issues such as anxiety, stress and depression.
And the problem for some people with sleep issues can be all the worrying thoughts you start to have about whether you’ll be able to get to sleep that night, how bad a night you may have and how you’ll cope the next day. All of these thoughts and feelings can be effectively tackled too.
A second key factor in determining your morning alertness levels is the intensity of your physical activity the day before. I’ve covered the mental health benefits of exercise many times in these articles, with a couple of examples being Anxiety and Exercise and Depression: Does aerobic exercise have anti-depressant effects?
The research found that this second main feature predicting day-to-day changes in your morning alertness relates to the intensity of physical activity you have engaged in the day before. When your physical activity is comparatively greater the day before, then you are more likely to experience higher levels of alertness the next morning (with the study findings suggesting this is independent of the amount of sleep you get).
Your activity levels are something that you have great control over, and being active is good for your mental health, so if you want to feel better in yourself and be more alert in the morning when you get up, then it makes sense to be physically active in your daily life (and if there is something stopping you, like motivation or anxiety, then let me know as I can likely help you with that). Exercise can also help with anxiety, depression, stress and self-esteem and you will likely feel better in yourself as a result of taking part in some sort of activity.
The final factor that predicts your morning alertness is all about what you consume for breakfast in the morning. In the research, people who consumed a higher amount of carbohydrates in their breakfast experienced higher levels of morning alertness. They found that a high protein or a high sugar breakfast diminished the level of alertness someone experiences.
In fact, one of the strongest effects demonstrated in the study was the marked reduction in alertness on days when participants consumed a high sugar breakfast. Rather than getting a sugar rush, it seems you get a sugar crash and reduced, rather than enhanced, alertness levels. Again, what you have for breakfast is something you can directly influence and control and, if you have been consuming some sort of high sugar cereal or breakfast bar, then it’s worth making a change if you want to be more alert and energised after breakfast (and if you need help with sugar cravings or taking control over eating habits then these are some of the most common things I successfully help people with).
And so we have evidence that when it comes to feeling alert and energised in the morning, there is a factor related to what you did the day before (physical activity), a factor related to the night before (sleep) and an influential factor that takes place during the morning itself (what you consume for breakfast). With help from hypnotherapy or without, these are all things that you constructively do things to modify and improve if you want to feel more alert in the morning.
Your Mindset and Alertness
It is possible to influence your daily alertness levels by focusing upon the modifiable factors covered above. These are the factors that account for fluctuations in your alertness from one day to the next. They are all factors that you can do something proactive about to help you if you want to wake up feeling alert and energised for your day.
The researchers also investigated why some individuals seems to have a higher level of overall alertness that they experience each day.
They found that there were three non-genetic factors that explain differences in someone’s trait levels of daytime alertness. These factors were having a positive mood (self reported happiness), your age, and your self reported sleep quality. You can’t do much about your age but your self reported sleep quality is often as much as about perception and mindset as it is about actual sleep (and as mentioned above, aspects of sleep are modifiable).
Best of all from our point of view, was that positive mood, and specifically levels of happiness, was the strongest predictor of someone’s general alertness level. In essence, the happier you are, the higher your baseline level of daily alertness.
Developing and enhancing your positive mindset is something that I help a lot of people with. Whether due to anxiety, stress, worry or low mood, many people who come to see me are struggling with negative thoughts and feelings. It is very achievable to tackle this and to help you become more positive, and happier, in your life. This research suggests that by becoming more positive in your thoughts and feelings, you will also feel more alert and therefore feel even better each day as a result.
I’ve covered aspects of positive psychology and developing a more positive mindset in various articles such as these:
Waking Up Feeling More Alert and Energised
This research is massively valuable if you want to influence how alert you feel each morning when you awake for the day. Rather than hoping for the best, or doing the same things and wondering why some days you are more alert than others, you can directly influence how alert and energised you feel. You don’t have to wake feeling lethargic and foggy headed while wondering how on earth you are going to last the day and get things done.
By tackling and focusing upon your sleep duration, physical activity levels and what you eat for breakfast, you can directly influence your morning alertness levels. And by developing a more positive mindset, and becoming happier, you can increase your set point for alertness in a way that will benefit you each day.
All of these factors are modifiable, rather than being genetic and things you are just stuck with. You can directly take steps to make sure you are more likely to wake each day feeling alert and energised.
Now, sometimes issues such as worry, anxiety, overthinking, unhelpful habits and so forth can get in the way of you making consistent and maintainable changes in your thinking patterns, feelings and behaviours. Yet, with the right approach, strategies and help, you can definitely improve your sleep, feel happier, take control over eating and exercise habits and lift your mood and mindset.
And by making changes in these areas you will likely find your daily levels of alertness, and overall individual alertness levels, will rise. That should make every day easier to manage, help with taking action on your goals and aid you in dealing with any challenges you may face. This in turn means you are likely to feel more positive and better in yourself, leading to higher likely levels of alertness and energy each day. By taking positive action on the things you very much can control, you’ll wake feeling more and more alert, energised and ready for whatever may come your way that day.
To your health and happiness,
Anxiety Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket
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Reference: Vallat, R., Berry, S.E., Tsereteli, N., Capdevila, J., Khatib, H.A., Valdes, A.M., Delahanty, L.M., Drew, D.A., Chan, A.T., Wolf, J. and Franks, P.W., 2022. How people wake up is associated with previous night’s sleep together with physical activity and food intake. Nature Communications, 13(1), pp.1-15.