Jan 10, 2023 - Health

Axios Finish Line: How to wake up with a spring in your step

Illustration of a brain wearing a sleep mask

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

This article originally appeared in Axios Finish Line, our nightly newsletter on life, leadership and wellness. Sign up here.

If you're routinely waking up feeling sluggish, you're not alone.

  • Stunning stat: Fewer than 1 in 3 Americans are getting "restorative sleep," according to a recent study from researchers at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital.
  • That means the vast majority of us aren't getting the right kind of sleep. We might be getting enough hours, but we're not waking up with the boosted alertness, mood and energy that we want in the morning.

Why it matters: Low quality or quantity of sleep has far-reaching effects, from short-term ability to focus to long-term risk for chronic disease.

But there's a fix. Another study, published recently in Nature Communications and covered by CNBC, uncovered three steps we can take to try to eliminate that groggy feeling many of us get when we're waking up.

  1. Sleep in if you need to. Getting that extra 30 minutes of sleep on a morning when you need it was associated with increased alertness in the morning, per the study.
  2. Move your body. Physical activity the day before also had a strong link to feeling alert and awake the next morning — the more, the better, study authors told CNBC.
  3. Breakfast matters. Participants who ate breakfasts high in low-glycemic carbohydrates — think whole wheat bread and oats — felt more alert. But eating breakfasts that were sugary or high in high-glycemic carbohydrates — like a muffin or cereal bar — had the opposite effect.
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