Do you often wake up drowsy and sluggish, and no matter how long you've slept, you still feel tired? Maybe you're in luck because scientists believe they've come up with the perfect formula that will make you feel rested and fresh every morning.
The process involves just three steps designed by some of the world's top sleep researchers. Researchers from the University of California in Berkeley came to the conclusion that the ideal "recipe" for the best awakening includes training or some other physical activity the day before, a breakfast rich in carbohydrates such as oatmeal, and a minimum of seven hours of sleep.
The participants were given different meals for breakfast while wearing watches that recorded their activity and amount of sleep, and also kept a food diary for a period of two weeks. They also had to record their energy level from the moment they woke up until the end of the day.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day
The research found that a high-carb, low-sugar breakfast was the best meal for waking up in the morning, while meals full of sugar proved to be the worst. "A breakfast rich in carbohydrates can increase alertness, so long as your body is healthy and capable of efficiently disposing of the glucose from that meal, preventing a sustained spike in blood sugar that otherwise blunts your brain's alertness," Vallat said "We have known for some time that a diet high in sugar is harmful to sleep, not to mention being toxic for the cells in your brain and body," Walker added.
"However, what we have discovered is that, beyond these harmful effects on sleep, consuming high amounts of sugar in your breakfast, and having a spike in blood sugar following any type of breakfast meal, markedly blunts your brain's ability to return to waking consciousness following sleep."
More sleep, and good quality sleep
"Considering that the majority of individuals in society are not getting enough sleep during the week, sleeping longer on a given day can help clear some of the adenosine sleepiness debt they are carrying," Walker speculated.
"In addition, sleeping later can help with alertness for a second reason," he said. "When you wake up later, you are rising at a higher point on the upswing of your 24-hour circadian rhythm, which ramps up throughout the morning and boosts alertness." Likewise, the results showed that those subjects who did not exercise at all the day before woke up more tired than those who did light training every day or engaged in some other physical activity.
"It is well known that physical activity, in general, improves your alertness and also your mood level, and we did find a high correlation in this study between participants' mood and their alertness levels," Vallat said.
"Participants that, on average, are happier also feel more alert." "It may be that exercise-induced better sleep is part of the reason exercise the day before, by helping sleep that night, leads to superior alertness throughout the next day," Vallat said.