Tired all the time? Train yourself to get used to dark mornings, and learn how to boost your energy levels throughout the day
Feeling tired all the time? There are many things to love about the summer, but the light streaming through the window and waking us up long before our morning alarm is not one of them. Add that to busy days in the heat and long evenings making the most of warm summer evenings with family or friends, and it’s no wonder we feel tired again the next day.
If this all sounds familiar, at least take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. It is estimated that 62% of Britons need 15 minutes to an hour after waking to feel ‘human’ again. Plus, studies have shown that only 1 in 10 of us are naturally early risers, so for the rest of us, jumping out of bed to seize the day doesn’t necessarily come naturally.
However, that constant feeling of fatigue or being tired all the time is actually affecting our health. Research from the National Hydration Council reveals that 1 in 5 visits to the GP are down to patients feeling immense tiredness and fatigue.
But, it doesn’t have to be like this. Feeling tired all of the time is a problem that can be fixed, and there are things you can do to combat your constant fatigue.
Needless to say, if you’re getting less than seven hours of sleep a night you may need to look at how you can squeeze in some extra shut-eye, but we’ve also rounded up the best tips and tricks we could find to help you sleep better and feel less tired. Give them a try and see if they work for you.
Caffeine might be great for an early morning energy boost, but over time the adrenal glands become exhausted from overproducing cortisol, the stress hormone that gives you that wired feeling. Adrenal fatigue is one of the most common health complaints of busy people, and struggling to wake up in the morning is a sure fire sign you may be suffering from it. Cut the caffeine, and ironically you'll start to feel better in the mornings. Or if you really can't bear to face the day without your morning cup of coffee, try substituting it for herbal or decaffeinated alternatives.
Studies have shown that low-carb, high-fat diets, such as the Mediterranean diet, are the best for encouraging early rising. This is because foods such as avocados, bananas, brown rice and turkey contain high levels of tryptohan - the amino acid that the body uses to make serotonin. Serotonin is essential for getting good sleep, because it encourages nerve traffic to slowdown, helping you to drift off as soon as your head hits the pillow.
There's nothing worse than trying to drag yourself from under the covers on a frosty, winter's morning. The optimum temperature for falling asleep and waking is between 16c to 18c. Any warmer and you'll struggle to drift off, any colder and you won't want to get up, so make sure to set the thermostat.
1. Stay alert and energised in the morning by drinking a glass of water. Studies have shown it increases the flow of oxygen and flushes toxins out of your body.
2. A cold shower on a dreary, winter morning may not sound like your idea of fun, but the temperature change will perk you up by boosting your circulation. Still resistant? Try running your wrists under a cold tap or splashing your face.
3. Nothing will see you leap out of bed faster than the call of nature, so try drinking a tall glass of water before bed.
Yoga and meditation expert, Anandi, says: 'Never go to bed on a full or empty stomach. Eat a big lunch and a lighter, low-carb dinner in the evening as it's easier to digest.' This way you won't be disrupted in the middle of the night by falling blood sugar levels.
Weekend lie-ins might seem like the perfect opportunity to catch up on valuable sleep, but the truth is it could completely disrupt your bodyclock, making it even harder to wake up on Monday morning. We spend all week establishing the appropriate sleep patterns for our schedules, so don't ruin it at the weekend. As soon as the alarm goes, get up and keep yourself busy so you don't fall back to sleep. You don't have to do anything strenuous, perhaps have a cup of tea or a leisurely shower.
Give yourself something to look forward to in the morning and it'll be ten times easier to get up, whether it's a specially-prepared breakfast or the chance to try out your new mascara. Weekends are the best time to make the most of this technique. So why not treat yourself to a delicious continental breakfast on Saturday morning!
Rouse gently from your slumber with the help of a dawn simulator alarm clock. These simple devices, fitted with lamps which brighten gradually to mimic the natural sunrise, are ideal for inducing a natural awakening that will leave you feeling refreshed, alert and ready to face the day. The lumie bodyclock active 250 SAD lamp is the best on the market, and includes add-on features such as a dawn chorus or a rooster wake-up call. It can even send you off to sleep with its fading sunset function. You can also activate the safety function, so that it turns off and on while you're away.
Find yours at John Lewis
Get your metabolism pumping and ensure a good night's sleep by squeezing in a daily exercise session. Not only does it burn off that excess energy, but a study from the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine has shown that moderate exercise helps to offset anxiety, which has a direct relation to how easily people fall asleep. Just 30 minutes of jogging a day is enough to feel the effects.
Find your nearest Nike Run Club here
There's a reason our parents always nagged us to go to bed early. By going to bed at the same time every night, we can stabilise our sleeping patterns - ensuring that we wake up at the time that we want having got the right amount of sleep. Set the alarm, and dedicate the hour before bedtime to just chilling out.