28 / 12 / 2020
For many people, getting out of bed in the morning is no easy feat, and feelings of sleepiness can drag on long into the day ahead.
You may automatically reach for a cup of coffee to fight these feelings off, but for those who don’t drink it or find the boost simply isn’t enough, researchers have compiled a list of alternatives.
In a video from AsapScience, researchers have compiled a list of caffeine-free ways to improve your alertness and cognitive function in the morning.
- Expose yourself to light
It’s important to ‘find the light’ in order to properly wake your body up.
This can be done by opening the curtains, stepping outside, or even using an illuminating alarm clock if you have to wake up before the sun.
These alarm clocks aim to imitate a sunrise and slowly fill the room up with light.
Exposure to light is an important part of waking up, as it is directly linked to the body’s production of melatonin.
Melatonin is a hormone secreted in the brain that plays a major role in regulating sleep.
It’s produced when you are in darkness, and drops when exposed to sunlight.
- End your shower with cold water
The team also suggests capping off your shower with a blast of cold water.
This is said to activate the regions of your brain that regulate wakefulness, causing you to feel alert.
And, researchers have found that the shock of a cold shower can increase your metabolic rate to cut down on feelings of fatigue.
- Hydrate yourself
In another tip, they suggest drinking water first thing in the morning and throughout the day to stay hydrated.
While sleeping, you will sweat, breathe, and get up to use the bathroom, and these things all work to dehydrate the body.
Even mild dehydration can take a toll, decreasing alertness and mental concentration, and contributing to fatigue.
- Eat a healthy breakfast
It may come as no surprise, but they also stress the importance of eating a healthy breakfast. People who eat a meal in the morning have reported feeling more alert. For foods high in simple sugars, like donuts, the alertness will wear off quickly, and those high in fat will cause you to eat more throughout the day.
But meals high in fiber and carbohydrates like oats are linked to lasting alertness throughout the morning.
These will suppress hunger and increase cognitive function.
- Drink orange juice
Drinking orange juice will also give you a boost in the morning, they say, as citrus fruits are rich in flavonoids. Orange juice is said to increase alertness and cognitive function.
Researchers have linked flavonoids to slowing cognitive decline from aging and even decreased onset of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
- Be physically active
Physical activity in the morning can also help to increase your mental performance and make you more alert, as it increases bloodflow and provides more oxygen to the brain.
During exercise, the hippocampus is highly active, and this region of the brain is responsible for learning and memory.
- Listen to music
Finally, the team suggests listening to music when you first get up.
Music can cause the pupils to dilate and increase blood pressure, inducing a ‘state of arousal.’
Listening to music also increases activity in the areas of the brain linked to movement and emotion, and can help to release dopamine to activate positive feelings.