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Published on December 28, 2020

7 Actionable Tips to Sleep Better and Wake up Energized

7 Actionable Tips to Sleep Better and Wake up Energized

Do you feel sluggish in the morning? Are you tossing and turning all night long? If so, you could certainly use some sleep better tips.

2020 has thrown a lot at us, and if your sleep patterns have been disrupted, then you could be feeling groggy and unenergized throughout your whole day.

If you’re feeling this way all day, it might feel like your day just drags on without offering any chance for productivity. Fortunately, there are ways to sleep better so that you can wake up feeling rested and energized.

These sleep better tips will help you rest and start your day feeling alert and motivated.

1. Stick to a Schedule

Going to bed at the same time every night will help you train your mind to relax and get in the pattern of producing sleep hormones when it best serves you.

My two kids go to bed at 9:30 pm every night, 7 days a week. My wife and I follow close behind; she typically goes to bed at about 11 pm, and I go to bed at midnight.

I’m the first to wake up in the morning. My alarm is set to 7:24 am every morning, with the exception of Saturdays.

What I found by sticking to a schedule is that my body has become accustomed to it, and my internal clock has kicked into high gear.

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Once you get into a routine, you’ll be more likely to get the recommended 8 hours of sleep each night. This will allow you to be more focused and alert through your entire day.

2. Pay Attention to What You Eat and Drink

I always knew the basics around this idea. For example, I always knew not to eat a lot of sugar or drink soda before bed, but there is much more to it.

You should do your best not to eat within two hours of going to bed. Spicy and acidic foods should be avoided, too, as they can cause you to have an upset stomach, indigestion, or even heartburn.

Coffee and caffeinated drinks are culprits as well. Avoid drinking these liquids hours before bedtime. In fact, based on a 2013 study[1], it’s best to avoid caffeine for a minimum of 6 hours before bed.

3. Stay Away From Technology

These days we are glued to our phones more than ever before, but one of the best sleep better tips I can offer is to resist the urge to look at your phone while you’re trying to fall asleep.

Once your head hits the pillow, it is imperative that you don’t expose yourself to direct light because it acts as an alerting signal that will reduce the secretion of your body’s natural hormone melatonin[2], which is heavily responsible for helping you sleep.

If watching TV or checking your phone has become a habit for you, resisting this urge will help you sleep better because you’ll be cutting down on your consumption of blue light[3].

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Sleep Vs Smartphones

    Blue light, specifically, happens to have a more severe effect on your sleep cycle as opposed to light omitted from a light bulb.

    4. Exercise Earlier

    Exercising earlier in your day will help you feel more energized. I used to exercise later in the evening, and this never did serve me well.

    I always found that the gym was always busier during the hours of 5pm to 8pm because a lot of people were going to the gym after they were done work for the day.

    Not only did my workouts take longer because of how busy the gym was, but by the time I left the gym, I was so energized with adrenaline that it took several hours to become relaxed.

    Exercising during the morning or throughout the day is a great better sleep tip if you are able to accommodate those timeframes.

    When you exercise, you raise your core body temperature, and you place a mild amount of stress on your central nervous system. Therefore, if you exercise later in the day, it can make it difficult for you to sleep better.

    5. Update Your Sleep Environment

    The area that you sleep is where you spend a great deal of time. It’s time you spend sleeping, but you spend a lot of time there nonetheless.

    Let’s say for example you got on average 5 to 7 hours of sleep per night. When you multiply that by 7 days a week, you spend anywhere from 35 to 49 hours a week in one spot. Now, multiple that by 52 weeks a year. That’s a lot of time spent in your sleep environment.

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    That’s why it’s important to take a closer look at your pillow, mattress, and blankets. It’s recommended that you replace your pillow every couple of years.

    The type of pillow is important, too. Side sleepers and back sleepers generally require different kinds of pillows in order to sleep well and without neck or back pain.

    The firmness of your mattress and the softness of your blankets also have an effect on your sleep.

    If you are spending roughly 50 hours a week in bed, it’s worthwhile making sure you’re as comfortable as you can be. You can even add a few drops of lavender oil to your pillow as it is known to promote relaxation.

    Also, check the temperature of your room. Experts recommend keeping your bedroom around 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius) for the most comfortable sleep[4].

    6. Meditate

    While this is an actionable tip to sleep better, it may not be for everyone.

    Prior to 2017, I never knew how meditation even worked. I certainly didn’t think it was going to work for me. To say that I was skeptical to try meditation is an understatement.

    One evening, I found a 15 minute audio meditation, plugged in my ear buds, and listened. I listened with my eyes closed and did my best to stay comfortable and relaxed. Then, something unexpected happened: I fell asleep.

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    In fact, I typically fall asleep every time that I listen to guided meditation, and I can honestly say that I always wake up feeling refreshed, energized, and clear headed.

    Meditation can help with sleep, as it helps us settle our thoughts and be more present. Instead of worrying about the critical email our boss sent us this morning or planning out the next day’s big presentation, meditation brings you back to your center, which is a great place to be for better sleep.

    If you want some help getting started with meditation, check out this article.

    7. Hide Your Clock

    One of the most effective tips for better sleep is to make it so that you cannot see the current time.

    When you are constantly checking the time, it could be causing you to get anxious about how many more hours you have left before you have to get out of bed.

    Getting more anxious will only keep you awake longer. Whether you have a digital clock or an analog one, cover up the time.

    Final Thoughts

    In order to feel energized in the morning, it’s imperative to follow these better sleep tips. These seven actionable steps to help you sleep better are things that you can implement as early as tonight.

    Try experimenting with one or all of these tips until you find a tip or technique that works for you.

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    More on How to Sleep Better

    Featured photo credit: Sharon McCutcheon via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine: Caffeine Effects on Sleep Taken 0, 3, or 6 Hours before Going to Bed
    [2] Sleep Foundation: Melatonin and Sleep
    [3] Iris: How to fight insomnia with Iris
    [4] Sleep Foundation: The Best Temperature For Sleep

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    Tim Lekach

    Father I Husband I Health & Wellness Entrepreneur

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    Published on June 8, 2021

    What is Mental Energy And How To Maintain A High Level of It

    What is Mental Energy And How To Maintain A High Level of It

    We all understand “energy” in the physical sense, and we mostly experience the feeling of having a lot or a lack of physical energy. But physical energy is very different from mental energy. So, what is mental energy?

    Mental energy is a mood and a measure of the willingness to undertake cognitive tasks. When you are experiencing an abundance of mental energy, you will feel motivated, efficient, and focused when dealing with tasks. You may feel like you can take on more and have the capacity to throw yourself into a situation without feeling stress or anxiety.

    However, unfortunately in the busyness of modern society, you may relate more to the feeling of having a lack of mental energy. Take yourself back to a situation where you are juggling lots of tasks, work is hard, and home life is emotionally exhausting. This is the feeling of a lack of mental energy. You may have felt like being on the verge of burnout, found yourself procrastinating, and had the feeling of just not having the capacity to take on any more emotional or cognitive tasks.

    You must deal with a lack of mental energy before it develops into mental exhaustion. Let us take a look at the symptoms of mental exhaustion and the toll that it can take on you as a person and your life.

    Signs of Mental Exhaustion

    Here are the mental, physical, and behavioral signs of exhaustion.

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    Mental Signs

    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Lack of motivation
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Anger

    Physical Signs

    • Headache
    • Body aches
    • Change in appetite
    • Weight loss or gain
    • Increased illness

    Behavioral Signs

    • Poor performance at work
    • Social withdrawal
    • Inability to keep to commitments
    • Increased time off sick at work

    The signs of mental exhaustion are less than desirable, and you should reiterate the importance of maintaining your mental energy and do not let it be an afterthought.[1]

    How to Maintain a High Level of Mental Energy

    The maintenance of mental energy is all in the approach. We can not always control our situation or the number of tasks that we have on at a particular moment in time. However, we can control how we manage and maintain our mental health and mental energy at these times. Just as our physical energy can be maintained through various methods, so can our mental energy.

    Now, let us take a look at some of the useful methods that can help us to maintain a high level of mental energy starting from today.

    1. Get Adequate Sleep

    Sleep may sound like the most obvious method to help maintain a high level of mental energy, however, it is very important.

    There are two stages of sleep, REM (rapid eye movement) which is the stage of sleep when you dream, and Non-REM. Non-REM can be divided into three stages, the final stage being deep sleep. The deep sleep stage is where scientists believe that your body renews and repairs itself and also the stage that is most important in terms of energy maintenance.

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    There are many ways in which you can create good sleep hygiene. These include having time away from devices before sleep, stopping caffeine intake a few hours before you plan to go to sleep, and going to sleep at the same time each evening.

    2. Structure Your Day

    Structuring your day can apply to either your home or your work life. The key is to prioritize the important tasks so that if you run out of time, you are safe in the knowledge that these have been completed. If you don’t do this, then you are at risk of overworking yourself, staying at work late, or doing household tasks into the evening.

    At home, this may be washing first or tidying the house before you sit down to have a relax. At work, you can write down a list of your tasks for the day and then, list them from the highest priority to the lowest. You can tick off each task as you go along. Any uncompleted tasks can then be transferred to the next day. Furthermore, if you are running out of time, you’ll know in advance and can delegate the priority work to ensure that this is completed on time.

    3. Eat Well

    Eating well is important for both physical and mental health. Eating a well-balanced diet and certain foods can aid memory, concentration, and focus and thus, helping you maintain mental energy.

    Let us take a look at some foods that can do this:

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    • Wholegrains – can improve concentration and focus as it provides a steady supply of energy throughout the day.
    • Blueberries – can boost short-term memory as they contain protective compounds called anthocyanins.
    • Blackcurrants – can reduce anxiety and stress as they contain Vitamin C which is widely thought to increase mental agility.
    • Pumpkin seeds – can enhance memory and boost mood as they are rich in magnesium, B vitamins, and tryptophan, which are believed to be important in serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical that has a positive impact on mood.

    4. Get Some Fresh Air

    Going outdoors can have a restorative effect on mental health. You do not have to undertake a ten-mile walk to reap the benefits. Simply being out in the garden, going for a stroll in the countryside, or doing a brisk walk to the shop can have a positive effect on mental energy. Research has shown that spending time outdoors can relieve anxiety and depression. Furthermore, it promotes relaxation and can improve confidence and self-esteem.[2]

    5. Take a Break

    Taking a break every so often whether at work or when doing any task can maintain a high level of mental energy and focus when needed. A break can involve something as simple as walking away from your computer and changing your environment for a few minutes by going to make a cup of tea to strolling around the block on your lunch rather than staying in the office.

    This change of environment takes your mind off the task at hand, rejuvenates, and reenergizes you. Focus can then be maintained and the task at hand can be done to the best of your abilities without mental fatigue.

    6. Exercise Your Brain

    Challenging your brain does for your mind what exercise does for your body. Physical exercise can stimulate your physical energy just as exercising your brain can stimulate your mental energy.

    There are many ways to exercise your brain including:

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    • Brain training exercises can stimulate the mind and also boost intelligence.
    • Learn something new to create new challenges for your brain.
    • Socializing can stimulate multiple areas of the brain. The array of activities involved in socializing engages different areas of the brain with each activity.

    7. Meditate

    Studies of meditation have shown to have many benefits to the brain. Such benefits include an improvement in brain function and energy levels.

    One such study found that practicing meditation for just 25 minutes a day can provide this boost. This is because meditation has been found to release endorphins and increase blood flow to the brain. When meditating, you focus your attention on your breathing and the aim is to eliminate the busyness of the brain and your thoughts. This provides a much-needed rest for your brain thus increasing your mental energy levels.[3]

    Final Thoughts

    Unfortunately, a lack of mental energy is experienced by many and potentially, it is more commonly felt than the feeling of having a high level of energy. Once you spot the signs of a lack of mental energy, it is time to take action before those feelings worsen and develop into mental exhaustion.

    However, the good news is that there are basic steps that you can take to maintain a high level of mental energy, and it is just as important as maintaining a high level of physical energy. These steps can be incorporated into your daily life with minimal effort. Eat well, sleep well, get some fresh air, take a break, challenge your brain, structure your day and meditate—it is as simple as that.

    More Tips on Boosting Mental Energy

    Featured photo credit: Ben White via unsplash.com

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    Reference

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