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Wake Up Refreshed: Discovering the Key to Energizing Mornings

Ana Marie Schick Jan 25, 2024

How to feel more energized in the morning

Waking up in the morning can be daunting for many of us. We often experience mornings when we feel like we just can't wake up. People often ask themselves, "Why can't I wake up, and why don't I have energy in the morning?"

The reasons behind being tired in the morning can vary from person to person. It can be due to a lack of quality sleep, misaligned work hours with our natural circadian rhythm, mood disorders, or even dehydration.

Sleep inertia is a term that refers to the groggy, disoriented, and/or impaired performance state that one experiences upon waking up, and it can last from minutes to hours. In other words, it's the sluggish feeling you experience after you wake up, making it challenging to start your day on the right foot [1, 2].

To combat this sluggish feeling, some people may resort to loading up on coffee or energy drinks, but this approach can lead to feelings of jitteriness, anxiety, and dependence on caffeine for energy. Instead, it's better to focus on getting quality sleep, staying hydrated, and developing a consistent sleep schedule to ensure that you start your day feeling refreshed and energized.

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Why Am I Tired When I Wake Up?

People often feel tired in the morning for several reasons. One primary factor is the lack of quality sleep, which can be due to various issues like stress, an uncomfortable sleep environment, or an inconsistent sleep schedule.

Poor sleep hygiene can disrupt the body's natural sleep-wake cycle, leading to restless nights. Dietary habits also play a role; consuming caffeine or heavy meals late in the evening can interfere with sleep.

Also, underlying health conditions and sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or insomnia can significantly impact the ability to get restorative sleep.

Read More: How to Stop Waking Up Tired and Get Back on Track

Not getting enough physical activity during the day can contribute to a feeling of lethargy in the morning. Addressing these factors is crucial for waking up feeling refreshed and energized.

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How Do I Get More Energy in the Morning?

Do you need help to kickstart your day with energy and enthusiasm? You're not alone. Many of us grapple with morning fatigue, making it challenging to get out of bed and tackle the day ahead.

However, there are effective strategies that can transform your mornings, helping you wake up revitalized and ready to tackle the day ahead.

Below, we'll explore various practical and simple ways to boost your energy levels in the morning. From optimizing your sleep routine to morning exercises, these tips are designed to help you welcome each day with renewed vigor and a positive outlook.

Let's dive into these life-changing habits and say goodbye to sluggish mornings.

Is hitting the snooze button bad for you?

1. Don’t Hit Snooze

Hitting the snooze button on your alarm clock or phone may not be as beneficial as you'd like it to be. We've all been there: mornings where you hit the snooze repeatedly, hoping that you'll feel more rested and ready to get out of bed the next time the alarm goes off. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.

Scientists believe that sleep must be uninterrupted for some minimum period of time **(e.g., 60-90 minutes for a complete sleep cycle) ** for it to be restorative. After the alarm rings and you hit snooze to fall back asleep for less than that time, you enter what scientists call “fragmented sleep.”

Alarm Clock Study: A research study found that spending 30 minutes or so in fragmented sleep between alarms can impair our daytime function. [3] That extra fragmented sleep actually may make you worse off for the rest of the day.

So, even if you've become habituated to hitting the snooze button before waking up, you should stop. Instead, take time to re-evaluate your sleep-wake routine. The morning fog might be your body alerting you of its need for more sleep time.

Instead, try setting your alarm for a realistic time you think you'll be able to wake up. Or, if you still want to stick with the snooze button, try setting your first alarm 90 minutes before your second one. This will give you a complete sleep cycle between your two alarms, allowing you to wake up after your REM sleep.

Did You Know? The University of Notre Dame researchers studied the snooze button habit and discovered that the majority of people (57%) tend to hit snooze.

Drink plenty of cold water

2. Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking cold water first thing in the morning will help you jumpstart your day. If you feel fatigued in the morning, you may be dehydrated. Think about it! You likely just spent 8 to 10 hours without drinking anything.

Even mild dehydration can disrupt your mood, cause sleepiness, and/or negatively affect your cognitive ability. Therefore, keep a glass of water by your bed. As soon as you wake up in the morning, you can drink some water to start to feel better as soon as possible [4].

Remember, it's best to continue drinking cold water throughout the day, which is crucial for maintaining physical and mental well-being. Adequate hydration provides that your body functions efficiently, aiding in digestion, nutrient absorption, and detoxification.

It's important to keep energy levels up and support cognitive functions like working memory and concentration. Staying hydrated also enhances physical performance, prevents cramps, and helps regulate body temperature.

3. Get Some Morning Sunlight

Stepping outside and getting some early morning sunlight may help reduce the morning fog. In some research studies, exposure to gradually increasing bright natural light decreased participant sleepiness and improved performance [5].

Furthermore, sunlight boosts your brain's serotonin levels. Having healthy serotonin levels is an essential part of receiving healthy sleep. If you find yourself inside all day, whether at home or in the office, try going outside to catch some rays. This may improve your sleep and leave you feeling more rested and refreshed the next day.

Can't get outside? Turning on your bright white LED lights can expose your brain to blue light. It stimulates the brain and may help you feel more awake [6]. So try going on a morning walk, opening your curtains, and/or turning on lights to reap the benefits.

Morning Exercise

4. Get Moving; Morning Exercise

Low-intensity exercise or strenuous exercise may be the last thing on your mind when you're lying in bed trying to talk yourself into getting up, but researchers say a short bout of exercise in the morning may help you feel more energized [8]. In particular, cardio and regular exercise play a role in significantly reducing fatigue [9] during the day and help you sleep better at night.

Sleep Study: A 2019 study found that morning exercise improves visual learning, decision-making, and visual learning [10].

Additionally, a 2021 study compared the effects of high-intensity, low-intensity, and no exercise on sleep inertia. The study found that high-intensity exercise reduced sleep inertia the most.

Morning meditation

5. Meditation and Yoga Enhance Your Daily Life

Another way to feel more energized in the morning is to get moving! Contemplative activities like focused attention (i.e. breathing exercises) and open monitoring (e.g., meditation), improve circulation and raise oxygen levels. This stimulation can help the body fight off fatigue, making you feel more awake and alert.

After you wake up, try practicing guided meditation while taking long, deep breaths to start your day. You can go for a short walk and pray or do some stretching by the bedside. 

These practices may stimulate your brain, as well as reduce stress and improve your next sleep! [7]

Study: Breathing exercises can stimulate the body.

Meditation Exercises to Try

Meditation can help you feel better, reduce stress, and restore your calm and inner peace. Below are a few meditation exercises that can help you unwind and relax to get the day started or prepare for bedtime.

Perform Yoga in the Morning

Give yourself some time in the morning to stretch or perform yoga exercises, as they can support healthy brain function and increase energy levels. Did you know that while you're in at night, certain muscles are paralyzed, while others move involuntarily? [11]

It's true! Reactivating our muscles in the morning with yoga or simple stretches can release endorphins, which boost energy levels.

Below are a few morning and midday stretching exercises that can help you get the day started and help you keep going strong all day long.

6. Morning Journaling

In addition to meditation, there are additional mindfulness practices that can significantly enrich your morning routine and set a positive tone for the day. Journaling, for instance, provides a reflective space to clarify thoughts, emotions, and intentions, fostering a sense of calm and focus.

Starting the day by jotting down your gratitude can shift your perspective to one of abundance and positivity, effectively reducing stress and enhancing overall well-being.

These gratitude practices, alongside regular meditation, cultivate an awareness and appreciation for the present moment, anchoring you in a state of mindfulness that carries through the day.

Combining these items into your morning can transform your daily outlook, paving the way for a more centered, peaceful, and fulfilling life.

Eating a balanced breakfast

7. Eat a Balanced Breakfast

If you feel tired in the mornings and find yourself rushing out the door to get to work on time, then chances are you'll be skipping breakfast or only eating a little bit to save time. While this may seem like a good idea, if it means you get to sleep more, this could negatively affect your energy levels throughout the day.

Did You Know: A balanced breakfast is crucial for kick-starting your day with energy, while certain foods can also significantly promote better sleep at night.

However, overeating in the morning can make you feel more sluggish. Therefore, it's essential to find a balance where you feel satisfied but not too full, causing you to feel tired.

Researchers found that missing breakfast can negatively impact your energy and focus throughout the day. [12] You need to provide your body with good fuel to carry you through your day. Try eating healthy and sticking to whole grains, nuts, lean proteins, and low-sugar foods.

8. Take a Cold Shower

Cold showers (temperatures below 70º) are a great way to feel energized in the morning. Cold showers jumpstart your body, and the change in body temperature may reduce any sleepiness lingering in your body after sleep.

Plus, additional cold shower benefits include increasing endorphins, improving metabolism and circulation in your body, and delivering more oxygen to the brain, further fighting off fatigue.

Furthermore, if you're having trouble waking up in the morning because of depression, taking cold showers may benefit you. Researchers suggest cold showers and/or plunging into icy waters may effectively treat depression and higher well-being. [13,14]

Limit caffeine throughout the day

9. Enjoy a Cup of Coffee

Many of us love and regularly drink coffee in the morning! It's the 3rd or 4th cup that can become problematic. We suggest limiting your caffeine intake to 1-2 cups a day before mid-afternoon.

While caffeine may help you initially in the morning, consuming a large amount of caffeine can lead you to crash, forcing your natural energy and levels to go down even further. Caffeine can also cause problems with sleeping later that day! While caffeine seems like a good idea in the morning, it may indirectly contribute to increased fatigue later. [5]

Recently, a study reported [15] that participants felt more tired the day after consuming caffeinated drinks. Try drinking less caffeine in the morning and see if it makes you less tired.

Tip: If you're not a fan of coffee or tea, then you can always grab a glass of water.

10. Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

Finally, practicing good sleep hygiene is essential to feeling more awake in the morning. If you are not getting enough quality sleep every night, this can dramatically reduce your energy the following day.

Therefore, get enough sleep (recommended 7 to 9 hours), practice waking up and going to bed at basically the same time every day, and build a comfortable sleeping environment. Creating a sleep schedule can offer numerous benefits.

Keeping your bedroom cool can play an important role in creating the ideal environment. Sleeping in cooler temperatures makes it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep, whereas feeling hot during the night can keep you up, disturbing your sleep cycle.

Creating a tranquil and conducive sleep environment and optimizing your bedroom for comfort and calmness with the right lighting, temperature, and noise levels are key.

Equally important is managing the role of electronics before bed, as the blue light emitted from screens can significantly disrupt your natural sleep cycle. Instead, consider establishing a pre-sleep ritual involving relaxation techniques such as reading, gentle stretching, or deep breathing exercises to signal to your body that it's time to wind down.

By focusing on these elements, you can enhance the quality of your sleep, leading to more restorative nights and reducing morning fatigue.

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11. Sleep Cooler at Night

If you want to cool down your bed at night to get a comfortable, deep sleep, try using one of our sleep systems: Chilipad Dock Pro or the Chilipad Cube Sleep System.

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They keep you cool at night to get high-quality sleep and wake up with more energy in the morning.

When to Speak to a Doctor

If you're finding yourself dragging in the mornings, it might be because you're not getting enough sleep or your body's natural clock is off balance. But, if you've tried fixing your sleep routine and are still feeling worn out, it might be a good idea to chat with your doctor to see what's happening.

Final Thought

Crafting an energizing morning routine is a deeply personal endeavor, and what works for one may not suit another. Design a routine that can fight morning fatigue and that resonates with your lifestyle, preferences, and time constraints, and identify activities that invigorate you.

Are you motivated by a quick jog, a soothing yoga session, or perhaps a creative outlet like painting or writing? Incorporate these elements into your morning, even for a few minutes.

Consider your time realistically; a routine shouldn't add stress but should be a sequence of actions you look forward to each day. For those with tight schedules, small but impactful practices like a five-minute meditation, sipping a cup of herbal tea, or jotting down three things you're grateful for can make a significant difference.

Personalize your routine by aligning it with your long-term goals. If you're aiming to be more mindful, include meditation or journaling. If physical health is your focus, incorporate a short workout or a healthy breakfast.

Remember, consistency is key. Even on rushed mornings, having a simplified version of your routine can help maintain momentum and ensure your day starts on a positive note.

Lastly, be flexible and allow your routine to evolve with you. Regularly assess what's working and what isn't; feel free to adjust accordingly. An energizing morning routine is a self-care ritual that can improve your overall well-being and productivity when tailored to fit your unique life.

Often, it can be challenging to understand why you wake up tired. Before making drastic changes, making a few adjustments over time is recommended, which can help you wake up and feel more energized to conquer the day!

By doing so, you can understand what is working and help you wake up without feeling tired. If nothing appears to be helping, it's best to discuss it with your primary doctor.


[1] Van Dongen, H.P. & Belenky, G. (n.d.). Alertness level. In M.D. Binder, N. Hirokawa, & U. Windhorst (Eds.). Encyclopedia of Neuroscience. (p. 75-77). Springer Berlin Heidelberg. View Study

[2] Hilditch, C. & McHill, A.W. (2019). Sleep inertia: Current insights. Nature and Science of Sleep, 11, 155-165. View Study

[3] Stepanski E. J. (2002). The effect of sleep fragmentation on daytime function. Sleep, 25(3), 268–276. View Study

[4] Taylor, K. & Jones, E.B. (2021). Adult dehydration. StatPearls. View Resource

[5] Trotti, L.M. (2017). Waking up is the hardest thing I do all day: Sleep inertia and sleep drunkenness. Sleep Medicine Review, 35, 76-84. View Study

[6] Choi, K., Shin, C., Kim, T., Chung, H.J., & Suke, H-J. (2018). Awakening effects of blue-enriched morning light exposure on university students' physiological and subjective responses. Nature, 9(345). View Study

[7] Gerritsen, R.J. & Band, G.P. (2018). Breath of life: The respiratory vagal stimulation model of contemplative activity. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 12(397). View Resource

[8] Kovac, K., Vincent, G.E., Paterson, J.L., Reynolds, A., Aisbett, B., Hilditch, C.J., & Ferguson, S.A. (2021). The impact of a short burst of exercise on sleep inertia. Physiology & Behavior, 242, 113617. View Study

[9] University of Georgia. (2006, November 8). Regular Exercise Plays A Consistent And Significant Role In Reducing Fatigue. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2022. View Resource

[10] Wheeler, M.J., Green, D.J., Ellis KA, et al. (2020). Distinct effects of acute exercise and breaks in sitting on working memory and executive function in older adults: a three-arm, randomized cross-over trial to evaluate the effects of exercise with and without breaks in sitting on cognition. British Journal of Sports Medicine 54:776-781. View Study

[11] Schwab, R. J. (2020). Overview of sleep. Merck Manual Consumer Version. View Resource

[12] Ackuaku-Dogbe, E. M., & Abaidoo, B. (2014). Breakfast eating habits among medical students. Ghana medical journal, 48(2), 66–70. View Study

[13] Demori, I., Piccinno, T., Saverino, D., Luzzo, E., Ottoboni, S., Serpico, D., Chiera, M., & Giuria, R. (2021). Effects of winter sea bathing on psychoneuroendocrinoimmunological parameters. Explore, 17(2). 122-126. View Study

[14] Shevchuk N. A. (2008). Adapted cold shower as a potential treatment for depression. Medical hypotheses, 70(5), 995–1001. View Study

[15] Ishak, W. W., Ugochukwu, C., Bagot, K., Khalili, D., & Zaky, C. (2012). Energy drinks: psychological effects and impact on well-being and quality of life-a literature review. Innovations in clinical neuroscience, 9(1), 25–34.