When it comes to sleep and energy, the relationship works both ways: If you’re satisfied with the sleep you got last night, you’re more likely to feel energized when you wake up. And feeling energized in the morning (and during the rest of your day) leads to greater sleep satisfaction.
Sleep satisfaction is a self-assessment of how you feel about the sleep you are getting. Along with environmental factors (such as bed comfort, room temperature, noise, and light), the way you feel about their sleep upon waking, as well as later in the day, affects overall sleep satisfaction.
Because higher energy levels can lead to improved sleep satisfaction, it’s important to find ways to give your engine a boost. Try these five smart strategies to increase your energy, and help you feel good about your sleep.
Find Your Rhythm
That’s circadian rhythm, of course. Thanks to your body’s internal clock, moments of alertness and sleepiness tend to occur at the same times each day. By keeping track of these cycles, you’ll know which hours during your day you feel most invigorated, and you can make the most of them by scheduling high-energy activities during this time. To keep your internal clock on track, follow a consistent sleep schedule, heading to bed and waking up at the same times.
Take a Morning Walk
Research suggests that a brisk stroll in the morning can boost energy levels, while simultaneously resetting your circadian rhythm and signaling to your brain that it’s time to start the day. That feeling of invigoration can lead to a positive sense of sleep satisfaction when you reflect upon the sleep you got the night before.
Consider a Power Nap
The benefits of napping are well established: A nap can improve alertness, leaving you feeling energized and refreshed. But don’t sleep for too long. A 20-minute nap is your goal—anything longer can work against you, leaving you groggy and lowering your sleep satisfaction by interfering with your ability to sleep the following night.
Seek Out Sunlight
Opening the curtains in your room when you wake up is an easy way to boost morning energy levels. The sunlight signals to your body that it’s time to decrease melatonin production, the hormone that induces sleep. By opening the shades as soon as you open your eyes, you are encouraging your body to gear up for the day ahead.
Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Even when you are in a hurry, eating something nutritious and filling in the morning helps to keep your energy up for the rest of the day. Good picks include yogurt with berries or toast topped with a little peanut butter and sliced apples. Add a glass of orange juice or a half a grapefruit to your meal. The reason? Citrus scents can help you feel alert and energized.
By taking these smart steps to increase your daytime energy, you’ll reap the benefits of not just better sleep at night, but greater satisfaction with the sleep you are getting.