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Mental Health

A.M. Fatigue? Here Are 3 Ways To Wake Up Happy and Refreshed Every Day

Do something today, tonight, and tomorrow to ensure a great night's sleep.


Feel like you’re slogging through the morning no matter how long you’ve slept? If so, you’re not alone. Often due to lifestyle factors like unhealthy diet and lack of exercise, fatigue is common among older adults, with symptoms extending beyond mere tiredness to lack of focus and difficulty concentrating. The good news is that there are easy solutions for morning fatigue.

According to experts, the key to a.m. energy comes down to three simple things: moving a little today, sleeping longer tonight, and eating a tasty breakfast tomorrow. Incorporating these habits in your daily routine activates your sleep-enhancing hormones. This allows you to get plenty of shut-eye each night, and awaken with enough energy to begin the day. Here’s how to wake up feeling happy and refreshed every morning.

Today: Take a morning walk.

Exercise can work like a delayed-release sleeping pill. The experts at Johns Hopkins Medicine note that physical activity helps boost your ability to reach the deepest levels of slow-wave sleep (SWS) at night. That’s key, since the average time you spend in restorative SWS is estimated to plunge after 60. What’s more, an a.m. stroll in the sun resets your body clock so you feel more awake almost instantly, according to The Sleep Charity.

Tonight: Drink cherry juice.

During the day, your body builds up a drowsiness-triggering chemical called adenosine. But without seven to nine hours of sleep, you’re unable to decrease the levels of adenosine in your system. That leaves many folks with a “sleep hangover,” UC Berkeley research suggests. The potential fix: Sip a cherry spritzer before bed. A small study published in the American Journal of Therapeutics found that participants who drank cherry juice twice a day for two weeks experienced improved insomnia symptoms compared to those who didn’t. Researchers theorize that the sleep-enhancing melatonin content in tart cherries could have helped participants get a better night’s rest. This effect is believed to allow the body adequate time to flush excess adenosine. To do: Mix 4 ounces of pure tart cherry juice with 2 ounces of seltzer water. Add a lime wedge and enjoy!

Tomorrow: Eat a carb-filled breakfast.

Start your morning with a high-carb, low-sugar breakfast, such as berry-topped whole-grain waffles or steel cut oatmeal drizzled with melted peanut butter and cinnamon. This tasty morning meal may rev alertness and help sustain your energy all day long. Research published in the journal Nature Communications suggests complex carbs helping to lower blood sugar levels — because they take longer to digest — could ultimately boost alertness. (Think of complex carbs as a gentle alarm clock that wakes your body and mind, shaking off “morning brain” with every delicious bite.)

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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