You thought you had a good night of sleep last night, but it's 9 a.m., and you are already exhausted and on your third cup of coffee. You're feeing super groggy, yet again. Thinking about this made me curious as to whether or not there are ways to finally stop waking up groggy, so I reached out to a sleep expert. I spoke with Dr. Robert Oexman, the director of the Sleep to Live Institute, and he gave me some great insight on the topic.
"By far the most common cause is not getting enough sleep the night before," said Dr. Oexman. He also told me that people often wake up feeling groggy because they didn't get the right quality of sleep. You should be getting three stages of sleep, and certain things can stop you from accomplishing that. For instance, "Alcohol will often put you to sleep quicker but it prevents you from getting the amount of REM sleep you need at night."
Other things that contribute to that groggy feeling can be sleep aids (both over the counter and prescription), and social jet lag. Dr. Oexman described social jet lag as, "When we shift our bed times and wake times to accommodate social schedules." I know I can be guilty of this, so I had Dr. Oexman give me suggestions on ways to make that groggy feeling go away, and I'm actually looking forward to trying some of them out.
1Use A Low Blue Light Night Light
If you wake up in the middle of the night to go use the bathroom, you shouldn't be turning on your bedside lamp or light in the bathroom or hallway. Dr. Oexman told me that even being in that light for a little bit will affect your sleep, "Low Blue Light night lights will allow you to navigate the house without decreasing melatonin production." Use a night light that emits an amber light instead of a bright white or blue one. These LED lights only turn on in darkness and won't burn out.
2Block Out Noises With A White Noise Machine
"We need to try and eliminate all noise from the bedroom. If this isn’t possible, invest in a white noise machine," said Dr. Oexman. Noises like traffic, someone moving around the house, or even the ticking of a clock can disrupt your sleep and leave you feeling groggy. It can also prevent you from falling asleep. A white noise machine is better than a machine that plays nature sounds because even though they may help you fall asleep, "alterations in the recorded track will eventually wake you back up." This one has two different speeds and you can customize the white noise sound how you want it.
3A Smart Thermostat Can Help You Sleep Better
Dr. Oexman told me that the best room temperature to sleep in is actually 65 to 68 degrees. He said, "We need a decrease in our body temperature to fall asleep and an increase in core body temperature to help us wake up." That's why a smart thermostat is such a good investment. This one is great because it allows you to schedule specific temperatures for specific times (and you can use it with Alexa). And according to Dr. Oexman, you should set your thermostat to cool down an hour before bed and warm up thirty minutes before you usually get up in the morning.
4Eliminate Groggy Feelings By Drinking Tart Cherry Juice
Instead of using sleep aids or supplements, try drinking two glasses of tart cherry juice instead. Drinking this juice throughout the day will eliminate the chances of you being groggy the next day because it can "increase sleep by over 80 minutes in an adult population." Tart cherry juice is actually known to be a source of phytonutrients, as well as melatonin. Users note that they end up falling asleep as soon as their heads hit the pillow, and they don't wake up in the middle of the night anymore when they drink this.
5Make Sure You're Sleeping On The Right Mattress
You have to choose the right mattress for your body. Everyone will need something different, so it's important to find one that's good for you. This one is a hybrid between a memory foam and a spring mattress. That means that it can help relieve pressure, but it's very supportive. Check to see if the mattress you're interested in has a 90-night guarantee, so you can actually see if your mattress is for you. This one comes with a 10 year warranty.
6...And A Pillow That's Made For You
Comfort is key when you're trying to get a good night of sleep. And that starts with the foundation of a good pillow. This pillow is a good option because it's ideal for both side, back, and stomach sleepers. Plus, it has cool gel technology, so you won't overheat at night. Maintaining your body temperature while you sleep will help you get to a deeper sleep, which means you won't feel groggy the next day.
7No More Fights Over Sheets And Blankets
"One of the biggest causes of partner disturbance is stolen covers! Avoid a fight over the blankets by using your own. You can have one fitted sheet – but for each side of the bed use your own top sheet and blanket. Simply cover it with a duvet, and no one will see the difference," said Dr. Oexman. These super soft sheets are high quality but inexpensive, so you can absolutely purchase more than one set. Spend more time sleeping, and less time feeling cold because your partner stole your sheets and blankets from you.
8Cool Down To Fall Asleep
As I said before, you should be sleeping in a cooler room. If you're not someone who wants to crack a window (I can't because my neighbors are so loud at night), a quiet fan is a great option for keeping your room cooler while you sleep. This one has eight speeds and, therefore, different volume levels. You can also set it to automatically shut off, if you don't want it on all night. Dr. Oexman actually told me something really interesting about room temp and sleep. He said, "It’s even been shown that people living in hot countries near the equator have higher rates of insomnia. Conversely those in Scandinavian countries traditionally leave windows open at night and sleep great!"
9Keep The Light Out From Outside
"Your bedroom should be completely dark...If your bedroom windows let in a lot of natural light – get blackout curtains," said Dr. Oexman. Melatonin production actually slows down when you're exposed to light, so you want to make sure that you have no light flowing in from your windows so you can fall asleep and stay asleep. These pretty printed ones will keep out 99 percent of light, and even filter outside noise. Plus, they'll keep your room cool.
10Block Out Ambient Light In Your Bedroom
Dr. Oexman also told me, "Even a nightlight or bright alarm clock can inhibit melatonin production." And I have to say, I totally know what he's saying. I literally can't fall asleep unless it's pitch black in my room, so hearing that light can stop melatonin production completely made sense to me. An eye mask is a great option for blocking out lights that are in your room. This one is really soft and comfortable; you'll barely feel like it's on.
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