As the end of the year looms closer your schedule might be getting increasingly busy. Final exams or an increased workload at your job might be pressing down on you. There are holidays to be planned, family visits to be prepared for, gifts to be bought.
In this stressful time of year, it is especially hard when you wake up feeling and looking less than chirpy and refreshed. It’s hard to wake up without energy, when you know that you’re facing a tiring day.
Waking up and not feeling refreshed might be cause by a number of different things. Too few hours of sleep, disturbed sleep or bad bedtime habits might be the biggest culprits. The National Sleep Foundation in the USA has found that adults between the ages of 18-64 needs about 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Anything less than this, and you might start suffering from sleep deprivation in the long run. As for disturbed sleep, this might happen due to any number of causes. If your pet is sleeping in the room with you, it might be disturbing your sleep. As the summer months become hotter, the high room temperature might also make you uncomfortable while you sleep. And bad bedtime habits might be anything from drinking coffee directly, or even not so directly, before you go to sleep, or reaching for your phone first thing in the morning.
Here are some quick tips on how to optimize your sleep so that you wake up feeling and looking refreshed.
In the first section we’ll look at, I’ve outlined the basic things you need to do to ensure that you are living a healthy lifestyle. Bettering your overall health will have a positive effect on your sleep.
Let’s dive right in!
Staying hydrated is very important for every aspect of your health. Especially during the hot summer months, it is important to drink at least 2-3 litres of water every day. Keep your water bottle filled up and close to you during the day. If you prefer not to carry a water bottle with you, try to drink a couple of glasses of water every time you eat or have a snack.
Studies have shown that drinking plenty of water increases your blood flow, and keeps your brain functioning well. It also has a positive effect on your skin, giving it a healthy glow and a healthy level of elasticity.
Drinking a glass of water right before you go to bed is also a good way to wake up looking your best. It will keep your body from becoming dehydrated during the hours that you sleep.
Get some exercise
Exercise is not only good for your entire body, but it can also help you get some great rest. Especially if your job requires you to sit still for a large amount of the day, getting some exercise will challenge and stretch your cramped-up muscles. If you do some sort of cardiovascular exercise, for example running or cycling, your body releases endorphins. This feel-good hormone helps reduce stress and helps you sleep better. Studies have shown that just a quick 15 minutes of exercise can reduce stress and anxiety levels.
Added to this, exercise also improves the overall blood circulation in your body. This means your skin and body will be fed with oxygen and nutrients more efficiently. It also dilates your skin and reduces inflammation. If you are specifically looking for a way to appear more refreshed in the morning, make sure that you wear cool and breathing clothing while you exercise. This will allow sweat to evaporate away from your skin, preventing acne and breakouts.
When you find yourself waking up feeling tired, and maybe looking a little pale around the gills, you might need to change your diet. Try to include foods high in fibre in your daily meals, and avoid those high in fat. Eating like this will boost your energy and mood, while eating lots of carbs and sugar could make you feel drowsy and depressed.
Some other tips for a balanced and healthy diet is eating lots of fruit and fish. Fruits have been shown in several studies to improve your health. Many fruits contain the vitamins and minerals necessary for having a truly balanced lifestyle.
Eating plenty of seafood, interestingly enough, has been linked to lower levels of depression. Fish with high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids should enjoy a prime spot on your menu, as Omega-3 is a great immune booster and is also great for your skin.
Another thing be on the lookout for, is to ensure that you have lots of foods with folic acid and Vitamin B12 on your menu. Leafy green vegetables and beans fall into this group. Studies have shown that eating these types of food can relieve the symptoms of depression.
In this second section we’re looking at some ways you can take care of your skin, to ensure that you wake every morning looking like a ray of sunshine.
Keep up to date with makeup practices
Makeup is an essential part of their beauty routine for many women. Unfortunately, it can be used in many ways to either benefit or damage your skin. Keeping up to date with the most beneficial makeup practices will keep your skin radiant and healthy.
First off, you should remember to clean your makeup brushes regularly. Makeup brushes are notorious bacteria collectors, and most women don’t even consider cleaning theirs regularly. Wash your makeup brushes once a week, using warm water and some facial cleanser.
Secondly, you should always remove your makeup before going to sleep. Not only will sleeping with makeup on clog your pores and hinder your skin’s natural breathing process, but it can also cause yeast growth, rashes and painful bumps called milia cysts. If possible, you should also steer clear of wearing oil-based makeup. Most people either have oily skin, or specific oily spots on their skin. Applying oil-based makeup adds even more oil to your already struggling skin.
Stay clear of the sun
Sun exposure is one of the main culprits that causes problems like wrinkles and age spots. Too much exposure to the sun has also been linked to an increased chance of contracting skin cancer. You should consider minimizing your exposure to the sun to keep your skin looking fresh and beautiful.
A tip for protecting your skin against the sun is always using sunscreen. Use sunscreen that is at least SPF 15 or more, and remember to reapply regularly during the day. Especially if you’re exercising during the day, your sweat will wash off the applied sunscreen. If possible, you should also try to stay inside or in the shade during the hottest hours of the day. Between eleven o’clock and three o’clock, you should do your utmost to find shelter.
Exfoliate and moisturize
Pampering your skin shouldn’t just be for spa days. Exfoliating cleans out the oil and dirt trapped inside your pores, and keeps your skin feeling and looking great. Using a light washcloth and facial cleanser, you should do your skin a good turn and try to exfoliate every night. You should find and use a soft cleanser that does not irritate your skin. After moistening your skin with warm water, apply the cleanser in a circular motion to your face, making sure not to scrub.
Moisturizer is hopefully already a part of your beauty routine. It not only keeps your skin supple and moist, it also evens it out and can even work towards erasing blemishes. Moisturizer comes in various different types and brands, so you should easily be able to find something that suits the needs of your skin.
Use a cold compress
When you wake up with heavy bags or dark circles under your eyes, you might find yourself panicking. There is no reason to panic, as dark circles can be fixed or diminished fairly easily.
One popular remedy is using cold cucumber. Cucumber contains a lightening agent that will erase the dark circles under your eyes if you leave it on for a little while. Another popular remedy is a cold spoon. Place one or more spoons in your fridge overnight, if you know that you are likely to wake up with puffy eyes the next morning. The cold temperature works like a tiny ice pack, reducing inflammation and swelling. You can also try using tea bags. Moistened tea bags contain tannin, which also helps to reduce inflammation and pain. Just be sure to pop the tea bags in the freezer beforehand, and don’t use them straight out of the teapot!
Finally, in this last section we will look at a few quick fixes for when you wake up feeling tired.
Exercise first thing in the morning
Hitting the tar for a quick jog, or hitting the mat for a few quick crunches and push-ups is a good way to wake up both your body and your brain. Exercise increases your body temperature, and releases some feel-good endorphins that helps you feel less grumpy.
If you’re feeling very sleepy, don’t try to exercise too hard. Some leg raises, high lunges, light crunches or sit-ups and arm swings should do the job. You can also try doing a few yoga stretches to start your day in a balanced way. There are many great free yoga routines on the internet. With some googling you might even find some routines especially for refreshing your mind in the morning.
Let it glow
Your body is naturally hardwired in a way that makes you sleepy when it’s dark and awake when it’s light. Sunlight, or any artificial alternative, helps your body to reset its clock and wake up easier. To take advantage of this natural reaction, you can lighten up your bedroom in the morning to wake yourself up.
If you get up before the sun rises, you can switch on your bedside lamp as soon as your alarm clock rings. If you are lucky enough to sleep until the sun is up, simply open your curtains wide and let the glow of sunlight wake your body up. If you live in a safe neighbourhood, you can even consider keeping your curtains open during the night. This way you will wake gradually and naturally as the first light of daybreak filters in through your window.
Use aromatherapy to wake up
Not many alarm clocks or other waking methods are geared towards your sense of smell, but recent studies have shown a direct correlation between the usage of essential oils and alertness. Some scents, like citrus, helps you feel happier, and stimulates the mind via serotonin. Rosemary scent, in turn, seems to help you feel more alert. Try to include some rosemary scented products or oils in your morning routine, to wake yourself up in an efficient way.
The smell of coffee has also been shown in some studies to wake people up. Whether it is because your mind connects the smell of coffee with a boost of caffeine, or whether it is just a pleasing odour, you should consider investing in an automatic coffee maker. This way you can set the timer for the next morning, and wake up to the delicious smell of coffee wafting from the kitchen.
Have a drink
You can either opt for coffee, as most people do, or instead reach for a glass of cold water. Coffee contains a lot of caffeine, as you most likely know, which misleads the brain by removing adenosine, a chemical that assists in regulating wakefulness. The greater your deficiency in adenosine, the more awake you will feel. However, after a while the body tends to adjust to this temporary absence of adenosine. The chemical might flood back into your brain in a greater quantity, making you feel even more sleepy than before you drank coffee.
Cold water is another great drink to have early in the morning. Drinking water gets your metabolism up to speed in no time. When the water is cold, your body has to work harder to maintain your ideal body temperature, which increases your blood flow and the speed of your metabolism.
I hope that you’ve found some useful tips on this list. Remember that getting enough sleep in the first place is the best way to wake up feeling and looking refreshed. If you’re getting your proper eight hours of sleep every night, these tips will most likely not even be necessary anymore.