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6 Ways To Wake Up Early Without Feeling Tired

6 Ways To Wake Up Early Without Feeling Tired

Whenever the concept of sleep is discussed, there is common perception that we should rest for between six and eight hours every single night. While this is a long-standing belief, however, more recent studies have suggested that this is a generic assertion that has little foundation in fact.

More specifically, the Surrey Sleep Research Centre in the UK are now claiming that it is the quality of sleep that important rather than the quantity. Moreover, the optimal amount of sleep will vary for each individual, with the average length of time between five and nine hours in total.

6 Ways to wake up early and not feel tired

While this insight reveals many things, it particularly highlights the fact that it is possible to be an early riser regardless of the amount of sleep that you had the night before. So long as you enjoy a deep and restful sleep, you should be able to rise in the morning without feeling excessively tired or overly lethargic.

There are also practical steps that you can take to wake up early and not feel tired, both in terms of your preparation for a good nights’ sleep and your morning routine. So without further ado, here are six of the most actionable:

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What preparations make for an prosperous nights’ sleep?

1. Avoid drinking coffee, red wine and consuming chocolate prior to sleep

If you are going to enjoy a deep and restful nights’ sleep, it is important that your cycle is left largely uninterrupted. It apparently takes up to four hours to fall into a really deep and energising sleep, for example, so constant interruptions during this period will detract from the quality of your rest and leave your feeling tired in the morning.

One of the most prominent causes of unrest are dietary, with some food items and beverages scientifically proven to disturb your digestive system and interrupt your sleep. Coffee, red wine and milk chocolate are all prime examples, so refraining from these items for as long as possible prior to sleep. Aim not to consume these products after lunchtime, but if this is not possible at least try to eliminate them from your diet after six o’clock.

2. Go to the toilet just before you aim to sleep

While most of us visit the toilet prior to climbing into bed, many of us will spend time reading, watching television or playing games before we drift into sleep. Our bladders can fill up slowly and largely unnoticed during this time, however, particularly because the kidneys continue to work throughout the night and while we sleep.

This means that rather than your bladder being full when you wake in the morning, you are more likely to be disturbed in the early hours of the morning to go to the toilet again. This will contribute towards a disrupted and fitful sleep, so it is crucial that you strive to visit the toilet right before you intend to sleep. Even if you are not desperate to go, it is important to make this effort for the quality of your sleep and impact that it will have on your outlook in the morning.

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3. Ensure that your room reflects the core principles of Feng Shui

While Feng Shui is not something that everyone has faith in, it is an ancient Chinese art which has a basis in Western values and logic. By following the basic principles of Feng Shui and organising the layout of your room accordingly, you can facilitate a more restful sleep that leaves you refreshed and energised for the morning.

This is why the layout of your bedroom is the most important from a Feng Shui perspective, and there are several steps that you can follow in terms of placing your furniture and positioning the bed. The latter point is most important, as the bed must be placed in a way so that you can see the door from your resting position without being in the direct path of the door when it opens. This delivers a strong sense of security when we sleep, while delivering a more comforting sleep.

On this note, the colours that you use in your bedroom will also have an impact on your mood when settling down to sleep. Nodding off with a positive outlook drastically improve the quality and the restfulness of your sleep, so it is important that you leverage colour psychology to create the ideal ambience within your bedroom. A combination of pastel blue and green shades are to be recommended, as they trigger feelings of serenity, calm and harmony without overwhelming the senses.

What can you do when you wake up?

4. Focus on something happy and exciting when you stir in the morning

Feelings of stress and anxiety always appear worse in the morning, thanks to a combination of our sub-concious thinking patterns that emerge during sleep and a rise in the level of cortisol in our bodies. This can leave us feeling tired and lethargic even after a good night’s sleep, so you will need to try to negate this by actively focusing on something positive relating to the day ahead.

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This will be easier on some days than others, so be proactive and try to plan for future days and make a note in your calendar. Birthdays and anniversaries offer obvious joy and excitement, while you could also identify national and global holidays before planning something special. The 20th June is referred to as Midsummer’s Eve and is the most romantic day of the year in Europe, for example, so it is the ideal time to plan an exciting trip away with a loved one.

Whatever you choose to focus on, starting the day with a burst of excitement will energise your senses and alleviate any sense of fatigue.

5. Create a manageable exercise regime for the morning

While it is possible to wake up early and not feel tired, this sense of alertness can quickly fade if it is not nurtured. This is where a relevant and manageable morning exercise regime can come into play, as this has the potential to instantly enhance your mood and drive higher levels of focus and concentration too.

This is because simple exercises such as jogging cause the brain to release numerous chemicals and endorphins into the bloodstream, which can alleviate the symptoms of stress, lethargy and even pain in some instances. Interestingly, it has also been proven that exercising in the morning also increases your energy levels for the following day too, so long as you focus on achievable disciplines that suit your existing fitness and daily schedule.

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6. Get your hydration right when you first stir

According to various studies, the way in which we hydrate our bodies when we first wake up in the morning is increasingly influential in terms of our mental outlook. Starting your day with a simple glass of water (before you eat breakfast) is known to kick-start your metabolism, for example, helping you to wake-up quickly and feel instantly more alert.

In terms of consuming a hot drink with your breakfast, try to avoid consuming coffee on a daily basis. While this has historically been considered as the ultimate way to stimulate the senses, science has proven that our body gradually becomes accustomed to the effects of caffeine over time meaning that it takes more to achieve the desired results. With this in mind, coffee should be used occasionally and in instances where you feel particularly tired, with alternatives such as fruit and regular tea consumed intermittently.

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Last Updated on June 18, 2018

What Really Works: How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Effectively

What Really Works: How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Effectively

Eight out of ten adults experience lower back pain once in their lifetime. I am one of those people and I’m definitely not looking forward to my participation award. I know how it feels like to step out of bed and barely being able to put on your socks. Having lower back pain sucks. But 9 out of 10 patients that suffer from lower back pain don’t even know the primary cause of it.

Video Summary

Back Pain? Blame Our Evolution

Once upon a time in our fairly recent past, our ancestors felt the urgency to stand up and leave our quadruped neighbors behind. Habitual bipedalism, fancy word for regularly walking on two legs, came with a lot of advantages. With two rear limbs instead of four, we were able to more efficiently use our hands and create tools with them.

Sadly, life on two legs also brought along its disadvantages. Our spine had four supporting pillars previously, but now it only got two. The back is therefore naturally one of the weak links of our human anatomy. Our spine needs constant support from its supporting muscles to minimize the load on the spine. With no muscle support (tested on dead bodies) the back can only bear loads up to 5 pounds without collapsing [reference Panjabi 1989]. With well-developed torso muscles, the spine can take loads up to 2000 pounds. That’s a 400-fold increase.

Most people that come to me with a history of a herniated disc (that’s when the discs between the vertebral bodies are fully collapsed, really severe incident), tell me the ‘story of the pencil’. The injury with the following severe pain usually gets triggered by picking up a small, everyday object. Such as a pencil. Not as you may think by trying to lift 100 pounds – no, but by a simple thing – such as a pencil.

This tells us that damage in your back adds up over time, it’s a so called cumulative trauma disorder. Meaning back pain is a result of your daily habits.

Sitting Is the New Smoking

Whenever I sit for too long, my back hurts. In fact, 54% of Americans who experience lower back pain spend the majority of their workday sitting. But isn’t sitting something that should reduce the stress of your back? No, just the opposite.

The joints between the bones of the spine are not directly linked to the blood supply. These joints instead get nourished through a process called diffusion. Diffusion works because molecules (such as oxygen, important for cells) are constantly moving and try to get as much space for themselves as they can. A key element for diffusion therefore is a pressure difference. In the image below the left room contains more moving molecules than the right, that’s why the molecules from the left are moving to the right. This way nutrition gets transformed into the joints, whereas toxins are transported out of the joints.

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Sitting puts a lot of pressure on your spinal chord. The diffusion process therefore can’t function as efficiently. Nutrition and toxins can’t be properly transported, the joints get damaged.

    Sit Properly

    If sitting can play such a huge part in the creation of your lower back pain, how do you sit properly then?

    Is it better to sit with a straight back or should you rather lay back in your chair? Can I cross my legs when I’m sitting or should I have a symmetrical position with my feet? These are questions that I hear on a daily basis. The answer might shock you – according to recent science – all of them are right. The best sitting position is an ever-changing one. An ever-changing position minimizes the pressure on certain points of your spine and spreads it on the whole part.

      Credit: StayWow

      Stand Up More

      Even better than a sitting position is a stand up position. Standing dramatically reduces the pressure on your spine. If you’re forced to work on a desk the whole day though, you have two options.

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      Take breaks every hour of about 2-3 minutes.

      Set an alarm on your phone that goes off every hour! In that time you stand up and reach to the ceiling, on your toe tips with fully extended arms. You’re inhaling during the whole process. You do this activity for 20 seconds. Afterwards you’re walking through the office for the next 2 minutes. You might grab a healthy snack or some water in that time. The exercise relieves the pressure on your spine, while the walking makes sure that the joints on your spine are properly used.

      Or get a standing desk.

      One of the best companies on the market for Standing Desks, according to my research, is Autonomous. Autonomous offers a rather cheap Standing Desk, with the ability to change the height. Which means you can start the day standing and switch to sitting if you’re tired.

      Exercise for Lower Back Pain

      Sitting is an immobile position. Your joints are made for movement and therefore need movement to function properly. If humans are moving, all moving parts: e.g. the joints, bones and muscles get strengthened. If you’re in a rested position for too long, your tissues start to deteriorate. You have to get the right amount of activity in.

      But not too much activity. There’s a chance that going to the gym may even increase your risk of lower back pain. I know plenty of friends with chiseled bodies that suffer from pain in the spine regularly. Huge muscles do not prevent you from back pain. In your training you should focus on building up the muscles that are stabilizing your back and relieve pressure. Squats with 400 pounds don’t do the trick.

      The more weight you carry around, the more weight your spinal chord has to bear on a regular basis. That’s one of the reasons why huge, muscular guys can suffer from back pain too. One of the most important goals of your exercise regimen should therefore be weight loss.

      Here are some important tips for you to consider when starting an exercise regimen:

      Make sure you implement cardiovascular training in your workout routine.

      This will not only help you lose weight, it will also make sure that your arteries, which flow to the tissue next to your spinal discs, are free of placque and can therefore transport nutrients properly.

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      Important: If you have rather strong back pain, maybe even an herniated disc, don’t start running on a threadmill. Running is an high-impact exercise. Which means there are continuous, reocurring high pressure points on your spine. Your endurance training should therefore either be fast-paced walking or a training on the elliptical trainer for the beginning, because both have little to no stressful impact on your backbone.

      Focus on developing your whole core if you want to minimize your pain.

      There are some people that do hundreds of sit ups a day. While sit ups are a good exercise for your abdomen, it also puts pressure on your spine due to the bending movement. A sixpack workout routine is one-sided. Your abs may become overdeveloped in comparison to your back muscles. You’ve created an imbalance. A great way to train your abdominal muscles and back muscles simultaneously, is holding the plank position.

      Stretch only if you have tight muscles.

      I remember stretching every morning after I woke up. I took 10 minutes out of my day to just work on my flexibility and prevent injuries. Little did I know that I was actually promoting an injury, by doing so.

      Contrary to common belief, stretching is only partially beneficial to treating lower back pain. Stretching makes sense if tight muscles (such as the hamstrings) are forcing you to constantly bend your back. Stretching to treat pain doesn’t make sense if you’re already on a good level of flexibility. Hyper-mobility may even enforce back pain.

      If you found out that you had tight muscles that you need to stretch, try to stretch them at least three times a week. Don’t stretch your muscles right after you wake up in the morning. This is because your spinal discs soak themselves up in fluid over the nighttime. Every bending and excessive loads on your spine is much worse in that soaked-up state. Postpone your stretching regime to two-to three hours after you’ve woken up.

      Where to Start

      The key to improving your habits is awareness. Try to get aware of your back while you’re sitting down, laying down or lifting an object next time. This awareness of your body is called proprioception. For example, you have to be aware whether your back is bended or straight in this very second. Trust me, it is harder than you might think. You may need to ask a friend for the first few tries. But the change that this awareness can make in your back pain is absolutely fascinating. This consciousness of your body is one of the most important things in your recovery or prevention.

      Here are a few behavioural tactics that you need to be considering:

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      If you’re leaning forward more than 30 degrees with your upper body, support your spine with your arms.

      Ever tried to show a colleague of yours a complex issue and found yourself awkwardly leaning forward on their desk, pointing with your fingers to his paper? If that ever happens again, make sure you’re using the not-pointing arm to support yourself on the desk.

      Keep a straight back.

      Be it while exercising, stretching or standing. If you’re bending your back you’re putting stress on small areas of your spinal chord. A straight back redistributes the force to a bigger area. You’re minimizing the pressure. Remember this whenever you’re at the gym and reracking your weights, focus on having a neutral spine.

      Put symmetrical loads on your spine.

      I used to play the trumpet when I was a child. The instrument is pretty heavy. The trumpet gets transported in a big, metallic suitcase – with no wheels. Being the nature of suitcases, you only carry it with one arm, on one side of your body. This forced me to constantly lean on the other side with my upper body, while transporting the instrument from A to B. Not really the healthiest activity for your spine as you can imagine.

      If you have to carry heavy objects, carry them with both arms. Put the object in the middle of your body and keep it as close to your mass of gravity as you can. If this is not possible, try to carry the same amount on the left side than you do on the right side. This puts the stress vertically on a fully extended spine. The load is much better bearable for your spine.

      Stay Away From the Back Pain League

      Our world is getting more sedentary. We will continue to develop faster transportation, more comfortable houses and easier lives. While our technological progress definitely has its amazing benefits, it sadly has its downsides too. The danger for back pain will continue to rise on our ever-increasing motionless planet. It’s time to raise awareness.

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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