How’s your morning routine? Do you enjoy jumping out of bed, ready for the day to start? Or are you more lethargic, wanting to hit that snooze button and get an extra few minutes in bed? Sleep is supposed to repair the body and energise us for the day ahead. So why do some of us have so much difficulty getting up in the morning and turning in for school or work with a ready-to-go attitude?
The answer could be in how we engage with our morning routines. Indeed, hitting snooze on your alarm clock or phone could be the reason you feel so tired, even though you do it to get extra sleep. Here, we explore how to boost your morning routine to make you feel more energised and ready to tackle the day head-on.
Confusing your body
If you’re waking up in the morning and hitting that snooze alarm, you may be wondering why you feel more tired — even though you’ve had an extra nine minutes or more in bed. Well, it’s actually your sleep cycle that is to blame. Sleep isn’t like a light switch. Firstly, it takes time to fall asleep. Secondly, the deepness of our sleep varies throughout the night.
When we fall asleep, our bodies release a chemical called melatonin, helping us to nod off and enter deep sleep. When you wake up in the morning, you may still have a feeling of tiredness for up to 30 minutes, as your body works through these chemicals and prepares you for an active day. This morning tiredness is known as sleep inertia.
However, when you hit the snooze button and try to fall asleep again, your body will attempt to enter another cycle of deep sleep. This means that melatonin will be re-released, assuming you’re in for a nice long lie-in. An abrupt nine minutes later, you need to be up! But your body has released the melatonin for a long sleep. It’s not a lack of sleep making you tired; it’s because you’ve tricked your body.
Waking your body up in the early parts or during a deep sleep cycle means that sleep inertia can last up to four hours.
Why’s it bad for your health?
Feeling tired isn’t the end of the world. But extended sleep inertia can have consequences for your health. According to one study, insufficient sleep can impact more than 700 genes in our body. Some genes’ activity increases, while others slow. Genes affected include those associated with metabolism, immune defence systems, and stress responses.
This means that poor sleep, triggered by your snooze button, can lead to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and decreasing cognitive abilities. You may be sacrificing a lot for a short nap.
Boosting your sleep
If you haven’t already realised, the best start to your day is to get up when you wake up. Don’t hit that snooze button. When you wake up, a chemical called serotonin is released into your body. This helps to make you feel more alert and happier. You may feel a little sleep inertia, but this tiredness will pass after a few minutes.
However, climbing out of bed when you wake up is not the only way to help avoid tiredness during the day. Other night-time and morning routines can help you feel refreshed for your busy day.
Switching your pyjamas for running shorts can help you feel energised in the morning. Leaving your house for a jog or other exercise can help you feel more awake by triggering chemical activity in your body. Exercise and exposure to sunlight trigger the release of serotonin and other positive chemicals in your body. This feel-good neurotransmitter also helps to reduce feelings of depression, which can be caused by sleep inertia. Also, by the end of the day, your exercise will make you feel naturally fatigued and ready for a good night’s sleep.
If you’re hitting the snooze button because you’re not getting enough sleep during the night, you could benefit from improving your night-time routine. Ensuring that your day ends with dimmed lights in a dark room can help trigger melatonin, meaning that by the time you go to bed, you’re ready to sleep. Ensuring you go to bed at an appropriate time is also essential. While eight hours of sleep is considered best, Italians, on average, only sleep for seven. 14 per cent of Italians also rate their sleep as unsatisfactory.
Improve your diet
Espressos may help us feel alert during the day, but too much caffeine can ruin our sleeping routines. This is because adenosine, a sleep-promoting chemical, is disrupted by caffeine blocking our adenosine receptors. So drinking coffee up to six hours before going to bed can stop you from having a suitable sleep. Even coffee first thing in the morning can be negative. Instead, drinking water is best, helping to hydrate your body and stimulate your brain.
Eating a sturdy breakfast is important. Not only does it sustain your energy levels for the morning, preventing fatigue, but it also helps with your serotonin levels. We feel happy when we eat, and feeling happy helps us feel awake.
If you’re having difficulty sleeping and find that hitting snooze is easier than getting up, then you may need to reconsider your bedtime and morning routine. Get up, have some food and water, and get yourself on a run. You’ll be raring to go, sleep more naturally, and feel less fatigued during your day.