A lack of sleep has serious health implications, physically and mentally, and can result in poor daytime performance. It can even affect our memory and our ability to learn and store new information – crucial in the workplace and also for those in education.
If you’re among the 25 per cent of Brits who only sleep for five hours or less per night – more than two hours less than the national recommended average of 7.5 hours, listen up.
“It is estimated that as many as a third of us suffer from insomnia,” wellness coach and practitioner, Angelina Nizzardi MAC, MNCP, MCMA, told GLAMOUR. “Sleepless nights can make the next day feel like wading through treacle. You crave sugar, feel bone achingly tired and emotionally raw. Ripping someone’s head off can feel tantalisingly close with feelings of anxiety nipping at your heels.
“The good news is that by following a few next day rules you can feel more human and stand a better chance of sleeping at bedtime. Your drives will be strong and willpower weakened so it’s important to follow a few golden rules despite feeling tired and potentially cranky.”
We asked Angelina, as well as Silentnight’s resident sleep expert, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, and Natalie Armstrong, sleep expert at Sealy UK, to share their definitive guide to waking up feeling refreshed and bossing you day – even when you’ve had next to no sleep.
A healthy diet and keeping fit
Try to prevent getting yourself into a routine of eating unhealthy fatty foods and spending your free time lounging and being sedentary. Staying active will help you feel less sluggish at work and also help you gain more energy. It is important to not commute on an empty stomach as this results in the body running on ‘adrenaline energy’ on your way to work, which is one of the main factors which causes shallow, ‘muddy’ sleep.
Drink alkaline water
If you’re already drinking the recommended two litres of water a day and you want to take it to the next level, try adding a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of sea salt to alkalise the water. The body functions optimally at an alkaline PH of 7.35, so hydrating with alkaline water helps our body to work properly; transmitting messages and enabling our physiological processes, including getting a good night’s sleep.
Rise with the sun
Ben Franklin once said “early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”, and it seems there could be some truth in this. A recent study has shown that waking with the sun rise, rather than forcing yourself to wake up before the sun, lowers your chances of stroke, heart disease, diabetes and depression.
This is because day light is the principal controlling factor on our natural body clock, and forcing yourself to wake up before sun rise, rather than waking naturally, causes an imbalance of the body’s cortisol levels, which in turn has health implications.
However, if waking with the sun rise isn’t feasible for your routine, especially during the winter months where the sun rises much later in the morning, you can invest in a ‘sun rise alarm clock’ which mimics the sun rise by gradually increasing light levels in the room.
Listen to music
Playing music or listening to the radio first thing in the morning can help to wake you up faster, as it’s been shown that listening to music with lyrics can actually stimulate your brain.
In fact, previous studies have shown that areas of the brain ‘light up’ when listening to music. Although, it’s best to choose music that starts gently and gradually builds, so as to avoid waking up too suddenly, which can causes an adrenaline rush and production of the stress hormone, cortisol.
Place your alarm clock out of reach
We’ve all heard this tip before, but there’s definitely some truth in it. If you have your alarm clock in a location in the room that you can’t reach from your bed, then you’re forced to climb out of bed to turn it off, therefore removing that temptation to roll over and go back to sleep for those few extra minutes.
Avoid the snooze button
When getting up in the morning it might be tempting to set your alarm a little earlier so you can hit the snooze button for an extra ten minutes. However, this will actually make you feel worse when you eventually do drag yourself out of bed, as going back to sleep after hitting the snooze button prepares your body for another sleep cycle. Set your alarm for the latest possible moment and move your alarm clock to the opposite side of the room so you have to physically get out of bed to turn it off. This will help prevent you hitting snooze and going back to sleep as you’re up you’re much less likely to get back into bed once you’ve gotten up.