Published 01 December 2023

Shake Off Morning Tiredness

Navigate the physiological triggers, cognitive techniques, and lifestyle adjustments that can jumpstart your day with renewed vitality.

How often do you find yourself waking up tired with no energy? Conquering the grogginess that lingers upon waking is a universal challenge. This article delves into the realm of science, unveiling proven methods to rouse yourself from the embrace of morning tiredness.

How to wake up when tired?

  1. Light and circadian rhythms
  2. Movement and physical activity
  3. Temperature manipulation
  4. Aromatherapy and sensory stimulation
  5. Hydration and nutrition
  6. Mindful engagement

What does all of this mean, exactly? And how can you put these methods into practice? Virtusan helps combat waking up tired and unenergized through scientific practices and routines.

Download Virtusan now on iOS or Android to jumpstart your day—every day.

Keep reading to deep dive into these scientific strategies on how to wake yourself up when you’re tired in the morning, helping you feel refreshed and rejuvenated for the day ahead!

Light and circadian rhythms

Rise and shine! Understanding the circadian rhythm is key to harnessing the power of light for your wellbeing. Your body’s internal clock can be synchronized by embracing the light, effectively banishing morning drowsiness.

Natural sunlight or bright artificial light upon waking can suppress melatonin (the sleep-inducing hormone), signaling your body that it’s time to be awake and alert.

In case you’re in a dim environment, worry not; there’s a straightforward solution. You can use light therapy lamps that mimic natural sunlight to simulate dawn, kickstarting your circadian rhythm and helping you feel more awake. Following advice like Dr. Huberman’s, spend 10 minutes in the morning sunlight without looking directly at the sun, and consider using light tracking apps to enhance your daily light exposure.

Movement and physical activity

If you’re still waking up tired after 8 hours of sleep, incorporating movement and physical activity into your morning routine can be the solution you’re looking for. Get your body moving to not only invigorate your body but also awaken your mind and shake off any lingering sleepiness.

Consider starting your day with moderate aerobic activities such as a brisk walk or a light jog. A brisk walk is a great option to get your blood flowing without the need to break a sweat. It’s best to do this within the first hour after waking up, but it doesn’t need to be a lengthy endeavor; even 15-30 minutes can make a significant difference. A light jog, on the other hand, is slightly more intense than a walk, but you don’t necessarily need to sweat profusely; it’s more about elevating your heart rate.

In addition, gentle stretches or yoga can also be highly effective. These activities promote increased blood flow, which oxygenates your muscles and brain, helping you feel more alert and refreshed.

Temperature manipulation

Adjusting your body’s temperature can help rouse you from morning lethargy, either through a cool shower after waking up or maintaining ambient temperature throughout the night.

A cool shower or washing your face with cold water can trigger a mild (and momentary) stress response, increasing your heart rate and alertness, which will help boost your energy. A cold shower, according to experts like Dr. Huberman, should be somewhat uncomfortable but bearable. If you’re new to cold showers, start with short exposures (just a few seconds) and then gradually increase the duration.

For your sleeping environment, keep it slightly cooler during the night. Then, upon waking, gradually warm up the room. This shift in temperature can signal to your body that it’s time to be alert and refreshed.

Aromatherapy and sensory stimulation

Harnessing your senses, particularly through pleasant smells, can have a positive awakening effect. Effective scents for waking up in the morning that are easily accessible include peppermint and citrus.

Inhaling the scent of peppermint and citrus fruits has been linked to increased alertness and cognitive performance.

You can enjoy these scents by sipping on a cup of peppermint tea or simply by peeling and savoring the aroma of fresh lemons or oranges.

Hydration and nutrition

Fueling your body with the right nutrients and staying hydrated is proven to ward off morning grogginess.

Start your day by drinking an 8-ounce (230 ml) glass of water, ideally every hour for the first 10 hours, and then reduce to 5 ounces (150 ml) every hour for the remaining 6 hours. This routine helps kickstart your metabolism and counteracts the mild dehydration that can occur during the night.

For tracking your hydration habits, consider using the Virtusan hydration tracker. It can be a useful tool to help you stay on top of your water intake.

In addition, fueling your body with a nutritious and balanced breakfast that includes protein and whole grains can provide you with a sustained energy source, effectively combating morning fatigue.

Mindful engagement

Mentally engaging activities can stimulate your brain and help you feel more awake and energized.

Mental challenges, such as solving puzzles, engaging in creative activities, or reading can activate your cognitive faculties, boosting alertness.

Breathing exercises that promote deep, mindful breathing, like the physiological sigh method, can boost oxygen intake, offering increased energy and mental clarity. In a physiological sigh, you take two breaths through the nose and follow with a prolonged exhale through the mouth. For more information and a guided practice, check out the Virtusan App.

To sum up

Morning tiredness doesn’t need to dictate the trajectory of your day. By employing these scientifically grounded strategies, you can counteract grogginess and set a dynamic tone for your waking hours. However, individual responses may vary, so it’s important to experiment with different approaches and tailor them to your preferences. If you continue to persistently experience morning fatigue despite your efforts, seeking advice from healthcare professionals or sleep experts is recommended to ensure optimal wellbeing and vitality.


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