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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

    7 Actionable Tips to Sleep Better and Wake up Energized

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    Last Updated on January 22, 2021

    5 Simple Stretches to Boost Your Energy at Your Office Desk

    5 Simple Stretches to Boost Your Energy at Your Office Desk

    Everyone knows that sitting for long periods of time is bad for your body and your mind. Getting the blood flowing helps you stay fresh with creativity, boosts energy, and helps your body work more efficiently. Many of us don’t have the opportunity to get up and move around as often as we should, but simple stretches added in during the day can help.

    Studies have found that prolonged sitting can lead to increased risk in obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, deep-vein thrombosis, and metabolic syndrome. Sitting is also known to increase pain by tightening the hip flexor and hamstring muscle, as well as stiffening the joints. This can cause problems with balance and gait in addition to the obvious discomfort.[1]

    One study found that “greater total sedentary time” and “longer sedentary bout duration” were both associated with a higher risk of death. Basically, those who moved around less were more likely to die from any cause[2].

    While many of us have busy schedules that limit the amount of time we can exercise each day, doing simple stretches throughout the day at your desk can be a great option to encourage movement, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

    Here are 5 simple stretches you can do while sitting to improve your mind and body.

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    1. Seated Twist

    12 Chair Yoga Poses for Stress and Posture - PureWow

      Sitting in your chair while keeping a long, tall spine, place your right hand on the outside of your left knee. Use that hand as leverage to twist to your left, and place your left hand as far to the right as possible to have something to hang onto while you twist. Now join it with your breath.

      Exhale as you move into your twist, and inhale as you ease off. Repeat on the other side. Repeat for each side 2-3 times.

      This simple stretch is great to offer a release for your back, neck, and shoulders. The twist will also help rinse out your internal organs, giving you a little boost of energy.

      2. Chest/Shoulder Opener

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      Blog: Simple Yoga Techniques to Increase Effectiveness at Work

        Sitting on the edge of your chair, clasp your hands behind your back, opening up your chest and shoulders. Inhale/exhale several times, noticing that when you inhale your stretch increases. Release and repeat 2-3 times.

        This stretch, while aimed at the chest muscles, can also alleviate some upper back pain, as we often feel pain in this area when our chest muscles are tight. This will also open up your lungs, allowing you to take some deep breaths, which can help reduce stress.

        3. Seated Pigeon

        Yoga In The Office: 6 Chair Poses To Improve Your Posture

          I call this one Seated Pigeon as it is a cousin to the yoga pose called Pigeon, which is performed lying on the floor. Clearly this isn’t an option at work. This Seated Pigeon version might not work if you are wearing a short skirt or dress unless you have an office to yourself!

          Sit on the edge of your chair and place your right ankle over your left knee. Be sure that your left foot is directly under your left knee and flat on the floor. Sit nice and tall, imagining a string is pulling the crown of your head up towards the ceiling.

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          This one is great for releasing your gluteus medius and minimus muscles, as well as your piriformis muscles. These are your hip abductors. These are usually what aches when you sit so much! Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds, and repeat on each side 2-3 times.

          This will offer a great release in the hips, as well as create stability in the knee joint. Both of these will help you avoid pain once you get up to leave work for the day.

          4. Hip Flexor Stretch

          Self-Care | Stretching exercises, Hip flexor stretch, Exercise

            Sitting truly shortens and tightens your little hip flexor. This sits at the front in the crease of your hip. It runs through your pelvis to your back, so when it is tight, it often presents with an achy back.

            To lengthen this muscle while at your desk, sit at the edge of your chair, but shift to face to your left. Take your right leg and extend it behind you with as straight a knee as you can. Sit tall, and lift your sternum while trying to tuck your tailbone under, as this will deepen the stretch.

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            Repeat on the other side. Repeat for both sides 2-3 times.

            5. Hamstring Stretch

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              This is an easy one to do either just before you sit down or just after getting up. While standing, soften your right knee and extend your left leg in front of you with your heel on the floor. On your left leg, draw your toes upwards, keep your knee slightly bent so you don’t strain your ligaments behind your knee.

              You want to feel the stretch in the belly of the muscle (that is, your mid-thigh, at the back of your leg) rather than behind the knee. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and switch to the other side. Repeat each side 2-3 times.

              Stretching out your hamstring can help relieve knee and lower back pain. It can also help increase your balance and range of motion. If you like to spend your free time running or jogging, your hamstrings will be grateful you took a moment to stretch them out at work as these muscles are notorious for tightening up quickly.

              The Bottom Line

              It isn’t necessary to do all of the stretches all at once. Take a stretch break every 45 minutes or so and choose a couple of different stretches. Next time, choose a different set of simple stretches. Ultimately, your brain and body will thank you for it!

              More Stretches for Your Day

              Featured photo credit: Keren Levand via unsplash.com

              Reference

              [1] Harvard Health Publishing: The dangers of sitting
              [2] Annals of Internal Medicine: Patterns of Sedentary Behavior and Mortality in U.S. Middle-Aged and Older Adults

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