If you frequently wake up feeling just as tired as you felt when you went to sleep, then there are four ingredients that can help you to start your day right. As well as being safe and natural, they are easy to incorporate into your diet and, when combined, lessen fatigue, sharpen cognitive performance, and lift your mood.
Why do we sometimes wake up feeling tired?
When the sun rises, the light triggers our bodies to release cortisol which helps us to enter a light sleep and wake naturally feeling refreshed. However, if we use an alarm clock that goes off during a period of deep sleep, we miss out on those energising hormones and rise feeling groggy. It can then take us up to an hour to rid ourselves of this sleep inertia.
What is sleep inertia?
Sleep inertia is an experience of “sleep drunkenness,” which occurs after abruptly waking up from sleep. It is characterised by fuzzy cognitive thinking, feeling tired, and disoriented. The effects of sleep inertia can last from several minutes to several hours.
The underlying causes of sleep inertia can be attributed to two sequential states of sleep: non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM). NREM sleep is a deep sleep state where most of our restorative functions occur. When our bodies are awoken from the NREM stage, this is when we experience sleep inertia.
Sleep inertia can be prevented by gradually waking up from sleep rather than abruptly. This can be done by setting the alarm to wake up at a certain time and then gradually increasing the volume of the alarm over a few minutes. Additionally, it is important to get enough sleep in order to reduce the effects of sleep inertia.
How does sleep inertia affect us?
Sleep inertia impairs our cognitive functions such as body coordination, hand-eye coordination and reaction time. This means that we take longer to respond to external stimuli and have difficulty focusing on tasks. Prolonged sleep inertia can have an even more detrimental effect on our alertness and energy levels. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to long-term fatigue, elevated stress levels and feeling overwhelmed.
In addition, sleep inertia can lead to impaired memory and concentration and difficulty in problem-solving. It can also cause feelings of confusion and disorientation, as well as difficulty in making decisions. Furthermore, it can lead to an increased risk of accidents due to impaired motor skills.
Factors that influence sleep inertia
The length of time we spend in the NREM stage of our sleep cycle has a profound impact on the severity of sleep inertia upon waking. Deep NREM stages are much more difficult to wake up from. However, this stage is also the most restorative stage of sleep, so it is important to spend enough time in it.
Other factors that can influence sleep inertia include lifestyle considerations such as caffeine use, eating habits and exercising before bedtime. Additionally, environmental factors such as lighting, noise and temperature can also impact the quality of sleep.
Sleep inertia can also be affected by the amount of sleep we get each night. If we are not getting enough sleep, our bodies may not have enough time to go through the full sleep cycle, resulting in more severe sleep inertia upon waking.
How can we get ahead of sleep inertia?
Caffeine, zinc, and vitamins B5 and B12 are perfect ingredients to minimise sleep inertia, but they can take some time to get to work. The answer is to take them in the form of pills to wake you up. They release the right dosage at the right time to support your awakening. Simply take them before going to bed so that they kick in approximately 8 hours later, right when you need them.
Zinc is a mineral that not only improves spatial memory and mental performance but also helps to regulate and promote sleep. Studies suggest that, when taken before sleep, zinc improves sleep quality. In a delayed-release tablet, zinc is released on retiring to help you to sleep better and makes it easier to wake up feeling well rested.
Caffeine is a natural ingredient that improves performance, concentration and alertness. Although many of us drink coffee in the morning to get our caffeine fix, it can take up to 30 minutes to take effect, and it is difficult to determine how much caffeine there is in any particular brew. However, with delayed-release capsules, an exact amount of caffeine can be absorbed by your body as you awaken, blocking the adenosine receptors and making us alert.
A deficiency of vitamin B5 can lead to fatigue, problems sleeping, apathy, and irritability. Also called pantothenic acid, vitamin B5 is good for boosting energy levels as it helps to turn food into energy. It also supports brain cell and adrenal function, helping our cognitive and motor response at the start of the day.
Vitamin B12 helps us to produce red blood cells and supports our nervous system. A deficiency of this vitamin can result in continuous tiredness and weakness. Vitamin B12 is great for increasing energy and sharpening mental function.
Tips for maximising refreshing sleep
Sticking to a regular sleep schedule, even on days off and weekends will help ensure that you are getting adequate rest, which helps reduce the effects of sleep inertia. This means going to bed and getting up at the same time each day.
Creating a comfortable sleep environment is also important for getting a good night’s rest. Therefore, make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature. Consider using blackout curtains or simply an eye mask to block out light, and use a white noise machine or earplugs to reduce annoying noises. Additionally, make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable and supportive.
Many of us have experienced sleep inertia and know all too well how morning grogginess can stop us from performing at our best. However, zinc, caffeine, and vitamins B5 and B12 can improve alertness, reduce fatigue, elevate your mood, and make you feel energised. When taken together in the form of a delayed-release capsule, these four simple ingredients don’t get released until you need them so that you can jump out of bed wide awake and ready to go.