From rosemary to beetroots, try these five handy tips to boost your morning energy (minus the coffee).
Getting up in the morning is not an easy feat. Whether we’re feeling groggy, bleary-eyed, or just unmotivated to get out of bed, when your alarm rings the last thing you feel like doing is emerging from your cocoon, let alone beginning your morning to-do list.
Certain foods have been shown to boost flagging energy levels, and whilst a cup of coffee can also certainly do the trick, there are other ways to kick yourself into gear in the mornings.
Smell the rosemary
Keeping some fresh rosemary or rosemary essential oil on your bedside table could help put that pep in your AM step. Several studies have shown rosemary oil to be useful in promoting alertness. In one study 20 healthy young adults reported feeling about 30% more mentally refreshed and about 25% less drowsy after inhaling rosemary oil when compared to smelling a placebo oil. In another study, alertness, mood and electrical activity of the brain were monitored in 40 adults, half of whom were given 3 minutes of aromatherapy using lavender and the other half using rosemary. Those in the rosemary group showed increased alertness, less anxiety and reported feeling more relaxed and alert.
Give yourself a squeeze
When you wake, try applying firm but gentle pressure with your fingers to your energising acupressure points. In a study from the University of Michigan, researchers taught 39 college students how to self-administer acupressure treatment to both stimulation and relaxation points (the students weren't told which were which). After 3 days of sleep-inducing lectures, students reported feeling significantly more alert when using the self-acupressure on stimulation points than when they followed the relaxation routine. An easy pressure point to massage is the one in between your index finger and the thumb, known as the Large Intestine point 4. To locate it, follow the bone of your index finger up into the hand where it meets the thumb bone.
After a long stretch in the sack without fluids your body is thirsty, which can lead to brain fog, according to a University of Connecticut study. Let a glass of water freshen up your entire body before you kick start your day. If you can, place a glass of water on your bedside table before you go to bed so its within easy reach when you wake up.
For an added boost, try adding lemon to your water. Lemons are a great source of Vitamin C and electrolytes, which are critical for cells to produce energy.
Let there be light
As soon as you wake up, open your curtains. The sleepy-time hormone, melatonin, is produced nocturnally and is dependent on darkness levels, meaning that the darker the room, the more melatonin a person produces and therefore the harder it is to wake up. By opening your curtains immediately when you wake up, you suppress the melatonin levels and then feel less sleepy. This sets you up for a more energetic day.
Stretch it out
There’s a reason stretching feels so good when you wake up. Overnight, during REM sleep, your muscles go into a state of paralysis and reactivating them through stretching releases energy-enhancing endorphins. In a study published in the Journal BioPsychoSocial Medicine, researchers found that yoga was not only effective in improving fatigue but it helped reduce stress and anxiety too.
You don’t need to do oceans of poses to get a loosening and rejuvenating effect, a clever combination of spinal movements can help you assimilate energy and release tension - think cat-cow, downwards and upwards facing dog and child's pose. You can even do them from the comfort of your bed.
If you’re feeling particularly gung-ho, yoga inversions such as handstands and headstands have a particularly energising effect on the nervous system. They get the heart pumping and circulate oxygenated blood to the brain which can help improve concentration and focus. At the very least they give you a different perspective on the world, which could be the catalyst you need to shift any bad morning energy.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor or healthcare provider before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.