Did you drag yourself out of bed this morning?
Feeling like you didn't sleep well at all?
Not sure how you will get through the day?
Well, I'm sure you may have thought, it's going to be a 3 or 4 cup of coffee kind of day, right? I used to think that too! Coffee used to be the only way I knew how to power through the day after a sleepless night and I would just "make up for it" or "catch up" on my sleep the next night.
1. Start your morning with a protein-packed breakfast
Even having one night of poor sleep can leave your body with higher levels of cortisol, glucose, and insulin the next morning. This can lead to a change in your appetite hormones and therefore lead you to crave different food choices that may not support the balanced blood sugar, satiety, or sustained energy that your body actually needs. Instead, starting your day with a protein-packed meal helps manage your hormones from rollercoastering throughout the day.
You can check out my blog on my 5 favorite filling breakfasts for a place to start! But you can really get creative here.
2. Eat fiber-filled foods while avoiding starchy/ultra-processed foods
Adding in foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains supports the smaller blood sugar curve. Whereas refined or naked carbohydrates (think snacky foods like chips, cookies, but also refined bread, crackers, etc) will send your glucose through the roof, and then you feel that crash even more on the other end.
Some great options to reach for are
Apples and nut butter
Seed crackers & hummus or guacamole
Plain Greek yogurt with berries
Homemade Trail Mix
Lumi or other snacking beans
Cauliflower-crusted Chicken tenders
3. 10 minutes of sunshine on your skin (not through a window)
The body's circadian rhythms are connected to the sun. By getting more sunlight on your skin, you reap the benefits of not only vitamin D but also improved alertness helping you feel more energy. Windows block the beneficial aspects of sunlight so it won't be the same through the window. Get outside!!
Try within the first hour of being awake to spend a minimum of 10 minutes outside (ideally 30 if you can). Some ideas to try:
Walking your dog
Taking a stroll around the block
Sipping some morning water on a balcony/porch/front step
The sun is a natural way to boost your energy but also help improve your sleep for the next night.
4. Gentle movement
When we are low on sleep, our cortisol levels are already higher than normal. So adding in a high-intensity workout will just add to it, leaving more stress on the body (leading you to feel more anxious and stressed).
Instead, finding a low-impact way to move your body can increase dopamine and endorphins. Low-impact workouts like yoga, pilates, stretching, or walking are great to incorporate into your day.
This is not me saying no more caffeine on those days you are struggling. I love my morning rituals and routine which include a coffee or matcha. But if you've noticed that on those sleepless days you are really struggling, try adding in these 4 tips. Adjusting when you have your coffee might do that trick after adding these in. See how you feel the rest of the day!