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Published on December 28, 2020

7 Actionable Tips to Sleep Better and Wake up Energized

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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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    Last Updated on September 16, 2021

    The Real Reason Why You Feel Exhausted (No Matter How Much You Sleep)

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    The Real Reason Why You Feel Exhausted (No Matter How Much You Sleep)

    I love my sleep. I always make sure to get at least eight hours each night. I’ll even leave parties early so I can get to bed at my usual time Yet, there are still mornings when I wake up feeling exhausted, even after a great night’s sleep. Whenever that happens, I run through a mental checklist, grasping at straws to explain to myself why I feel so groggy: why do I feel exhausted? Did I drink too much last night? Did I stay up past my usual bedtime? Did I hit snooze on my alarm twelve times? Eight hours of sleep a night shouldn’t result in chronic exhaustion, right?

    Regardless of how much quality sleep you’re getting, you can still feel mentally exhausted, burnt out, run-down, worn through—whatever you want to call it. Most of the time, you’re so exhausted you don’t even have the time or the sense to see it clearly.

    The answer is right in front of your face, but you haven’t had a chance to step back and analyze your situation. Maybe you hate your job, or you’re worried about paying rent, but you’re not actively thinking about it. How could you with all that’s going on? It’s planted in your subconscious, lurking there and eating away at your morale.

    That worn-down feeling is a cumulative combination of unconsidered stressful circumstances—an amalgamation of past worries and future anxieties. We aren’t talking about your regular physical exhaustion from a long day’s work standing on your feet. This is purely in between your ears. You’re overstimulated, and it’s dragging you down. But what’s the real reason behind this brain fog? Why do you feel exhausted?

    The first place to look at is stress,[1] which is the body’s natural response to a new challenge or demand. Where are you currently experiencing stress in your life?

    Most pain, exhaustion, or emotional fatigue is the direct result of stress. Daily life is filled with tiny stressors—running to catch the morning bus, praying you’ll find a parking spot, or worrying about the leak in your ceiling at home. As these small stressors pile on uncontrollably, you realize you’re white-knuckling through the day.

    Mental exhaustion,[2] simply put, is long-term stress. It’s having a day like the above over and over again for months on end until it weighs so much it finally drags you to the ground. You can’t keep living like this.

    You may have experienced this in the form of a “mid-life crisis,” or even a quarter-life crisis where you stop and realize you never pursued the things you once hoped and dreamed of. Life passed you by in the blink of an eye. What happened to the “purpose” you once wanted to get out of life? Maybe you wanted to be an artist and all of a sudden, you look down and you’re forty-three years old sitting in a conference room surrounded by suits and boring charts.

    You’re faking your way through life and you’re tired of putting on an act.

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    Why Do You Feel Exhausted?

    “Depression, anxiety, phobias… so many things can be disguised in a way that gives a facade of normalcy over a person’s internal struggles.” —Morgan Housel

    There are many reasons why you may be feeling exhausted. There may be times when you had complete hours of sleep yet ask yourself after waking up: why do I still feel exhausted?

    Why? It’s because there are other possible reasons for this exhaustion other than improper or lack of sleep. Here are some reasons why you feel exhausted.

    1. High-Pressure Occupation (emergency responders and teachers)

    Working in a highly stressful scene like an ER or police department is an obvious input for stress. Long hours on the job and making high-level decisions in crisis mode need to be followed by a period of rest, relaxation, and debriefing.

    2. Working Long Hours

    Consistently clocking in 12-14 hour days for weeks on end can drag you down. Many occupations require this type of work seasonally, like accountants during tax season. But when you’re spending that much time at week year-round and there is no end in sight, mental exhaustion can become chronic.

    3. Financial Stress

    For obvious reasons, being in troubled circumstances with your finances can cause long-term stress and constant worries, which lead to feeling exhausted. How can you enjoy life if you can’t afford to do the things you enjoy? No matter how much you sleep, you will still feel exhausted if something is troubling you at the back of your mind like financial problems.

    4. Dissatisfied With Your Job

    When you ask yourself, “why do I feel exhausted?” Try also asking, “Am I satisfied with my job?”

    Many people slog through life in a job they hate. Whether it’s your unruly boss, the team that you work with, or the customers who you’re sick of hearing complaining, being stuck in a dissatisfying job can cause feelings of resentment in work and your personal life.

    5. Clutter

    Whether you’re naturally a messy person or life has become so frantic that you haven’t even had a chance to clean or organize, clutter plays a massive part in mental exhaustion. Having a clear workspace and a calm environment to walk into makes a difference in mental clarity. This can also affect your productivity and your attitude towards your job.

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    6. Avoidance and Procrastination

    When you feel exhausted, it may be because something at the back of your head is troubling you. You may have some responsibilities that you should be doing or have done but still have not. Putting things off too long will cause hidden stress to climb on top of you like a monkey on your back. Avoiding your responsibilities and procrastinating are some of the possible causes as to why you feel exhausted.

    7. Living With Chronic Pain or an Illness

    Going through life with stress is hard enough. Add on top of that something like chronic back pain or a congenital condition and it’s like taking care of two separate people for yourself. This can also cause feelings of resentment, bitterness, and irritation around people you love, even those who support and take care of you.

    8. Death of a Loved One

    Losing a close friend or family member is something everyone has experienced, and it never gets easier. Many people try to play tough and portray to their loved ones that they are okay and dealing with it just fine. But the reality is that it’s weighing them down.

    Be honest with yourself about it, and have someone you can talk to. Experiencing your grief alone and not sharing it with anyone may be the reason why you feel exhausted.

    9. Lack of Purpose

    Life needs to have a purpose. Every individual has a purpose that is entirely unique to their circumstance. It can be guided by religion, occupation, or an ultimate life goal to strive towards, such as writing a book or owning a business. Without an ultimate purpose, it’s easy to let yourself slip into a depression that leads to mental exhaustion.

    What Should You Do When You Feel Exhausted?

    “When you’re struggling with something, look at all the people around you and realize that every single person you see is struggling with something, and to them, it’s just as hard as what you’re going through.” —Nicholas Sparks

    1. Talk About It

    It may sound obvious, but talking through these struggles with someone is a form of therapy in itself. Chances are, someone has been through the same type of thing that you’re going through right now. Don’t hide it. Open up and learn how others dealt with it. It’s more common than you think.

    2. Find an Outlet or a Hobby

    One way to help find joy out of a life of exhaustion is to come home to a hobby. Unwind from the workday by doing something you love that’s also a bit challenging. Learn how to play guitar, play video games with your kids, read a book, or learn new recipes to cook for your family. Take your mind away from whatever it is you’re worried about. Focus entirely on the process and get out of your anxiety.

    3. Be Realistic

    You can’t do everything. Look at your schedule, and be honest with yourself and the people around you about what’s possible for one person to do in a day. You can’t change the world alone. Enlist the help of others and don’t be too proud to ask. Putting the weight of the world on your shoulders may be the reason why you feel exhausted.

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    4. Arrive Early

    It took me years in life to realize how much being early can relieve stress. Waking up five minutes earlier gives me five minutes to relax and think if I’m forgetting anything before I head out the door. Leaving five minutes before I normally would for an event gives me five minutes to arrive and get a good seat, scope out the scene, or talk to someone and learn something about the place.

    Being early allows you to be relaxed and completely comfortable as opposed to running through life in a hurry. Settle in before anyone else and have the mental edge that you’re prepared for anything.

    5. Exercise More, Try Healthier Habits

    Exercise is probably the last thing you want to do. But have you ever regretted a workout? One hundred percent of the time it makes you feel better and gives you the momentum to have a great day.

    Try healthier habits. Go for a walk right when you get out of bed. Try a new vegetable once a week. Drink more water. Stand more. Replace dessert with fruit. If you drink ten cups of coffee a day, try to go one day a month without coffee. Healthier habits ultimately lead to a happier life in more ways than you think.

    6. Journal

    Similar to talking about your problems, journaling is an excellent outlet for not only getting the thoughts out of your head but also to clarify your feelings. As you write, you’ll realize you actually didn’t understand what you were thinking. Writing helps that. Do it often.

    7. Take Care of Something

    Get a pet. If you’re not ready for a dog, then buy a few plants to take care of. This takes the attention off yourself and on to something that relies on you for livelihood. It will help put everything in perspective and relieve stress and exhaustion.

    8. Meditate

    This is such an overly-used cure-all, but meditation really does help with clarity of thinking and developing a sense of calm in your life. Researchers found that meditation “decreased symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.[3]

    It doesn’t have to be sitting with your legs cross, fingers in a circle, and saying “Oooommmmmm.” Meditating can take on whatever form you’re comfortable with. It can be taking a few deep breaths before you step out of your car, or it can be closing your eyes and thinking of your loved ones when you’re having a hard time.

    Sometimes before bed, I’ll just close my eyes and envision a future I want for myself. I picture the people I love hugging me and saying “Congratulations.” For what? I don’t know, but I’m putting myself in the mindset to succeed.

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    Final Thoughts

    Dr. Alice Boyes, author of The Healthy Mind Toolkit:[4]

    “The more you work on systems for reducing stress and excess decision-making, the more mental energy you’ll have.”

    This is true in so many areas. Work on habits and routines that will eliminate the number of decisions you make. The more disciplined you are in these areas, the more freedom you will have to do the things you truly want and need. But also, understand how you are getting in your own way.

    Author Tim Ferriss likes to ask himself, “How am I complicit in creating the conditions I say I don’t want?” or “What are the stories I tell myself that interfere with self-love?”

    Take a look at the actions and routines you structure your life around. Are there small tweaks you can make to get out of your own way? What would this look like if it were easy? Sometimes, asking yourself questions like these can lead to surprisingly simple solutions and answer the question of “why do I feel exhausted?”

    As I said, everyone is struggling in their own way. How you manage your stress may differ completely from someone else. By being vulnerable and understanding that you have the ability to overcome this exhaustion, you can begin to find meaning. Exercise consistent positive habits and the momentum will attract more positive momentum. Oh, and get good sleep!

    More Tips to Help You When You Feel Exhausted

    Featured photo credit: Hernan Sanchez via unsplash.com

    Reference

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