How to wake up fresh and energized every morning
Today I was coaching one of my students and after the session she approached me with a question regarding sleeping.
She said that she can fall asleep just fine and she sleeps a normal amount of hours but she wakes up tired and she would like to wake up more refreshed and with energy. So she asked me if I had any advice.
I told her I do and I will write this blog for her. So here it is for everyone to learn
First a story
To answer this question I have to tell you a little bit about my experience. You know, I believe we learn through stories better than any other way. You must be used to this by now.
My sleeping patterns have never been strict. Is this wrong or right? Some may say it’s not healthy. However, I dread routine, I love creativity, freedom and the sense of “I choose what to do with my life and sleeping is a choice”.
I loved my crazy, colourful life. Filled with excitement and never a day similar to the other. And sleeping was one of the things that I felt was the most colourful. And health wise, this for me was pure health, when I had colour in my life.
I can sleep 10 hours and feel refreshed, I can sleep 5 hours and train, compete or study at the highest levels without a sign of tiredness or weakness or even the need to eat certain foods for energy. And then go to bed as normal and start the next day the same.
And no, there is no sleep debt and I don’t sleep 5 hours every night, it varies.
I can still do that now although I don’t do it as often because my social life is not as colourful as it used to be but my creativity is still at its peak after 10 pm. So you can sometimes call me around 1pm if you can’t sleep, if I am up at that time I am most likely writing.
So what is the secret
There’s no secret actually. The amount of sleep is less important than the quality of the sleep. And sleeping is not the same thing as resting.
Ok, so how to you rest you ask. I did some experiments when I went through a period of time when I would wake up extremely tired no matter how much I slept and what my sleeping patterns were at that time. So I began to experiment with certain habits. And here’s 3 of them:
1. Falling asleep watching movies
This was by far the biggest reason that kept me from resting properly. I experimented by alternating the days. One day I would watch a movie up to 10-15 min before going to bed and the next day I would read a book for 1 hour before going to bed instead.
The difference was massive. The day I turned off the movie and the computer 1 hour before going to bed I would wake up the next morning energized and rested. It was like magic.
And the change was from one day to another, it didn’t take weeks to see the difference.
Oh these days this means watching movies and tv but also smart phones, ipads, social media etc.
2. Not allowing time for digestion
Depending on the food you eat your body uses up more or less energy to digest it but it’s still energy usage. And depending on the food, its quality, amount and how you cook it can take hours to digest it.
So while you body, and that includes your organs, should rest and take a break they actually work for maybe half the night or more.
Doesn’t it make sense that eating 1 hour before going to bed is something you want to avoid?
If I am hungry around 10 pm I have a piece of fruit or a natural yoghurt (maybe add some organic honey if I crave something sweet). If I am really hungry then I have a plain salad with vinegar and olive oil.
I usually have my dinner around 6 pm, sometimes even earlier, and by the time I go to bed the food is well digested and I get a good night rest.
Remember that during the night you are not using a lot of calories anyway and they end up in the adipose tissues in some cases the muscles.
But this takes us into a different topic and story so let’s go back to sleeping.
3. Clear your mind before going to bed
Now you probably went straight to “oh, the meditation thing again, heard it before”. While meditation is a good idea I don’t always do it before going to bed. Sometimes but not always.
Going to bed with your mind running around means it will still be running for a while after you fall asleep and there goes your restful night.
What I do is go for a 30 min walk around the block. Talking to myself is another way to get thoughts out of my mind (and I get some real expert advice as well 😉 .
When I do both is pure bliss, talking while taking a walk. By now my neighbours are probably used to seeing me talking by myself on the streets.
Anyway, do try these habits and if they don’t work for you come back and we can talk about it. Everyone has different lifestyles and what worked for me will not necessarily work for you as well.