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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.

    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 February 26, 2021

    8 Best Natural Energy Drinks For An Instant Energy Boost

    8 Best Natural Energy Drinks For An Instant Energy Boost

    Need an energy boost? Don’t reach for that soft drink! Sure, the sugar and caffeine might make you feel more energized, but that feeling is only a temporary spike in blood sugar. When it wears off, you’ll crash—and feel even worse than before!

    The good news is that there are plenty of natural energy drinks that can ramp up your energy levels without spiking your blood sugar. That means no energy crash and no empty calories. Many of these drinks can even be made at home, so you can easily avoid the added sugars and artificial ingredients.

    Here are eight of the best natural energy drinks you can try (and make) for yourself at home.

    1. Kombucha

    Kombucha is a fermented tea made with a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). Kombucha has a long list of health properties: B vitamins, glucuronic acid (a detoxifier), and loads of antioxidant-rich polyphenols. But what kombucha is best known for is its probiotic bacteria and acetic acid, which have been shown to boost energy levels.[1]

    Probiotics play a huge role in energy production. Studies suggest that by improving the balance of healthy bacteria in your gut, your “friendly” bacteria will be better able to break down the nutrients in the food you eat.[2] This means you’ll get a natural energy boost from eating the right foods!

    Acetic acid has even been shown to increase your metabolism, which means you’ll be using calories from food more efficiently. Acetic acid is the only short-chain fatty acid to reach the systemic circulation in significant amounts where it provides energy for muscles and other tissues. It’s also non-insulinogenic, which means it won’t give you a blood sugar spike.

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    You can brew kombucha yourself at home by obtaining a SCOBY, or you can buy bottled kombucha in a store. Just make sure you buy the real stuff![3]

    2. Oolong Tea

    Poor energy levels can be reversed with a delicious cup of oolong tea. This ancient Chinese beverage is also known as “black dragon tea,” and it’s packed with catechins similar to those found in green tea. These catechins work by promoting your body’s ability to break down fat, which can boost energy levels.

    Studies suggest that the catechins in oolong help your body to use fat cells for energy, while the mild caffeine content can give you a quick boost for getting through the day. It’s also been found that drinking full-strength oolong tea may increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation by 12%, which means you’ll be better able to obtain energy from food. It may even help with weight loss![4]

    You can make oolong tea with tea bags or loose leaves. Try blending it with green tea for an added boost!

    3. Green Tea

    Famous the world over, green tea is a powerhouse of health benefits and is often included in the list of beverages used by athletes for extra energy. The caffeine content of green tea is mostly responsible for its energizing benefits. Studies have shown that a regular cup or two of green tea can boost your metabolism and maintain healthy energy levels throughout the day.[5]

    Moreover, green tea is believed to increase fat-burning by encouraging your fat cells to release fat, then stimulating your liver’s ability to convert that body fat into energy. This is particularly helpful for weight loss! Try drinking green tea throughout the day to keep your metabolism ticking and your brain active. A cup or two before a workout could also contribute to your endurance and stamina.

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    4. Kvass

    Kvass is another fermented food, like kombucha—but it’s made from rye bread.[6] This traditional Slavic and Baltic drink is actually known as “black bread,” and it’s still enjoyed in many Eastern European countries.

    Kvass can be flavored with fruits, such as strawberries and raisins, or with herbs, such as mint. Traditionally, kvass is served unfiltered with its natural yeast content, which adds to its unique flavor. It’s a good source of B vitamins, which help your body produce energy. Kvass also contains lactic acid and simple sugars, which can be helpful for a quick boost.[7]

    Like kombucha, the fermenting process of kvass allows for beneficial bacteria that may improve your digestion. This means you’ll be better able to absorb the energy content of foods you eat. Kvass can also be made with beetroot, which boosts its nutritional content and has excellent benefits you’re your gut microbiome. Beets are a good source of folate, vitamin C, potassium, iron, and phytonutrients. These are made more bioavailable when fermented into kvass!

    5. Matcha

    Matcha is one of Japan’s most revered beverages. It’s made by crushing green tea leaves into a fine, bright green powder before being mixed in with hot or cold water. This process helps to retain many of the natural antioxidants and other nutrients in the leaves.[8]

    The matcha tea bushes are grown in areas out of sunlight, which delays photosynthesis and slows the growth of the plant. The result is a higher concentration of chlorophyll, a powerful detoxifier, and a good energy source.

    Drinking matcha means you’re drinking the whole leaf—all the natural caffeine and antioxidants. The nutritional content is thought to be almost 10 times greater than traditionally steeped green tea! Best of all, matcha provides the energy that comes on gently, rather than the “hit” that coffee supplies.

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    6. Coconut Water

    Coconut water may be 95% water, but it’s still a great source of energizing minerals. Coconut water is the clear liquid found in green coconuts, and it’s a naturally sweet and refreshing drink.

    Coconut water is a much healthier alternative to sports drinks—and contains more than 10 times the potassium! Potassium helps to maintain a healthy balance of electrolytes, which is essential before and during exercise as it has less sodium—the main electrolyte you lose with sweat—than most sport’s drinks. The magnesium in coconut water also supports normal energy production and reduces cramping so you’ll be able to keep exercising for longer.[9]

    Most importantly, coconut water has fewer carbohydrates than many commercial sports beverages, which is important for proper rehydration after exercise.

    7. Yerba Mate

    Yerba mate is a traditional drink made from the dried leaves of Ilex paraguariensis, a type of holly native to South America. It’s a very social drink and famous throughout South America.

    Yerba mate can boost your energy levels in much the same way as coffee but without the caffeine jitters! In fact, the energizing effects of yerba mate are described as gentle and calm. Mate drinkers report that they feel more alert but don’t experience the crash that coffee can produce.

    It’s for this reason that many athletes use yerba mate to enhance their physical performance before a workout or event. It’s also believed to be helpful to those suffering from mental or physical fatigue or chronic fatigue syndrome.

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    It’s also mentally energizing—yerba mate enhances memory, boosts mood, and increases concentration. It’s said to make you feel more motivated and be productive by stimulating the production of the neurotransmitter dopamine.[10]

    8. Carrot Juice

    Carrots are a fantastic source of beta-carotene—the provitamin A carotenoid which your body can quickly convert into vitamin A. Beta carotene is a powerful antioxidant that not only protects your body from free radicals but also bolsters energy levels.

    Vitamin A plays many roles in growth and development, and it’s especially important in maintaining energy. Research has shown that vitamin A is crucial for assisting with daily energy production and physical activity.[11] Our cells create energy by first creating adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy-carrying molecule found in the cells of all living things. To do this, our cells first need sufficient vitamin A. Low levels of vitamin A will directly affect your body’s ATP production, causing your energy levels to dwindle.

    Carrot juice is one of the healthiest veggie-based drinks out there, and it has much lower sugar than fruit juices! It’s also super easy to make at home.

    Final Thoughts

    You don’t have to consume artificial energy drinks to get the energy boost you need. Try out these eight natural energy drinks that are packed full of micronutrients to keep you healthy, active, and energized. You just have to put in a little more effort in preparing them, but I guarantee it’s worth it.

    More Natural Energy Drinks

    Featured photo credit: Raimond Klavins via unsplash.com

    Reference

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