Sunday, March 19, 2023

How To Wake Up Alert And Refreshed

Do you go to bed early, sleep through the night and still wake up tired and groggy? - Well, it happens to me quite regularly. Turns out that I'm not alone. A study found that fewer than 1 in 3 Americans are getting enough restorative sleep (Robbins et al, 2022). 

You may say that the Americans have more distractions, but in Singapore, 41 percent of adults get between 4 to 6 hours of sleep a night only, even though they should be clocking in 7 to 8 hours.

Not only do we have insufficient sleep, the vast majority of us are not getting the right kind of sleep. So we wake up less alert, have less energy and poor moods in the morning. Low quality and/ or quantity of sleep has terrible far reaching effects, from short term ability to focus to long term risk for chronic diseases.

The good news is that there is a way to fix this. Another published study by Vallat et al (2022) listed 3 steps we can do to eliminate that groggy feeling we get when we wake up. The researchers studied 833 twins and genetically unrelated adults and demonstrated that how effectively one wakes up during the hours following sleep is not assocated with genetics. 

They found 4 independent key factors. sleep quality/ quantity the night before, physical activity the day prior, a breakfast rich in carbohydrates and a low blood sugar level following that breakfast. 

The researchers found that sleeping in for an extra 30 minutes on a morning when you need it was associated with increased alertness in that morning. Physical activity (or exercise) the day before also had a strong link to feeling alert and awake the next morning. The more exercise the better it seems.

Breakfast matters. Participants who ate a breakfast high in low glycemic carbohydrates like whole wheat bread, oats, brown rice felt more alert. However, eating breakfasts that were sugary or high glycemic carbohydrates (muffin, cereal bar, white bread, potatoes) and excessive protein had the opposite effect. 

That's the secret to waking up alert and refreshed every morning. So definitely don't skip breakfast.


Robbins R, Quan SF, Buysse DJ et al (2022). A Nationally Representative Survey Assessing Restorative Sleep In US Adults. Frontiers In Sleep. Vol 1. DOI: 10.3389/frsle.2022.935228

Vallat R, Berry SE, Tsereteli SE et al (2022). How People Wake Up Is Associated With previous Night's Sleep Together With Physical Activity And Food Intake. Nat Commun 13,7116. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-34503-2

No comments:

Post a Comment