Study offers ‘simple prescription’ for feeling alert

If you are one of the millions of people who wakes up feeling groggy every morning, you will be delighted to know there is a relatively easy solution to the problem.

The science of sleep is a hugely complicated beast which is often further muddled by conflicting research into the subject matter.

However, what cannot be denied is the importance of undertaking a relaxing pre-bedtime routine before going to sleep.

A recent study by online casino Betway highlighted that point to perfection after discovering that meditating before bedtime provided participants with great quality sleep.

When compared to other activities such as scrolling through social media or watching the news, meditation was top of the pile by a significant margin in the pre-sleep stakes.

Researchers at the University of California have now gone a step further by establishing how sleep can be linked with two other factors to improve alertness.

After analysing 833 people over a two-week period, the group discovered that sleep, exercise and breakfast are intrinsically related when it comes to staving off tiredness.

Eating a breakfast high in complex carbohydrates with a modest amount of protein was the first part of the equation, followed by physical exercise during the day.

Sleeping for the requisite amount of time – generally an average of seven to eight hours per day for adults – was the final piece of the puzzle.

Matthew Walker, a sleep expert and respected neuroscientist, believes the findings demonstrate that transitioning from sleep to alertness is unlikely to be purely a biological process.

“If you pause to think, it is a non-trivial accomplishment to go from being nonconscious, recumbent, and immobile to being a thoughtful, conscious, attentive, and productive human being, active, awake, and mobile,” Walker said.

“It’s unlikely that such a radical, fundamental change is simply going to be explained by tweaking one single thing.

“However, we have discovered that there are still some basic, modifiable yet powerful ingredients to the awakening equation that people can focus on — a relatively simple prescription for how best to wake up each day.”

While the study offers optimism to people that they are in charge of their own alertness levels, some experts argue that genetics plays a role.

However, comparisons of data between pairs of twins included by Walker and his group in their research contradicted that viewpoint.

They found that genes played an insignificant part in daily alertness, offering an optimistic message to people who struggle to safely navigate through the day without feeling lethargic.

“How you wake up each day is very much under your own control, based on how you structure your life and your sleep,” Walker added.

“You don’t need to feel resigned to any fate, throwing your hands up in disappointment because, ‘it’s my genes, and I can’t change my genes’.

“There are some very basic and achievable things you can start doing today, and tonight, to change how you awake each morning, feeling alert and free of that grogginess.”

Huynh Nguyen

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