I wrote this post months ago when Grace wasn't able to sleep through the night yet. Then, early this year things went way better with her sleep and posting this post didn't feel right anymore.
Well, thanks goodness I kept it in my drafts!
Last night was tough: some new big teeth are making their way out in Grace's little mouth and I've started to experience those uncomfortable Braxton Hicks that are fake contractions that get your body ready for the big day. Sleep wasn't in the agenda and this morning I feel it.
Many may relate to the sluggish feeling of waking up in the morning after a not very restful night. You don't need a pregnancy and a teething toddler for that. Maybe a late night with friends? Working or studying late? Too many glasses of vino?
In addition to more sleep, there are a handful of effective strategies that help me tackle the day ahead without feeling a complete zombie...
And for once, today I'll listen to what I preach :)
A Nutritious Breakfast
Sleep deprivation can massively disrupts our digestive system. Some people get hungrier, others lose their appetite.
Either way, it is important to give some extra love to ourselves with a good hearty breakfast. If you fall into the "lose appetite" category, avoid acidic and acid forming foods like coffee and opt for a warm bowl of plain oatmeal cooked in water or a piece of whole grain toast. Keep it simple and warm. Even if you think you can skip breakfast overall, those mouthfuls will help you gain some extra energy and the complex carbohydrates will serve as first aid for a very foggy brain. I know some people find it very difficult to say no to coffee especially those bad mornings. Part of it is just the missing routine, so switch it with a green tea, matcha or a carob base drink which resembles coffee.
If you are very hungry, remember that evidence suggests that sleep deprivation alters your hunger hormones in a way that you'll feel hungrier but less sated. As a result, you'll end up eating more and, when we're so tired and lethargic, we move less and store more as fat. Having a healthy and nutrition dense breakfast is key to rebalance your appetite. I am always a big fan of eating proteins for breakfast, even more so when I know my body is all over the place and I could just eat anything. Pairing proteins with complex carbohydrates will keep you full for longer and help fight those hormonal imbalances as result of a shortage of sleep.
My favorites are eggs and toast, yogurt/milk and granola, or just some nut butter on banana.
Give a sense of order around you
When your mental focus is out of whack, doing any task can feel unachievable. If it's not already part of your routine, use as little as 10 minutes to organize your work space or home. A sense of apparent order - obviously, there's limited things you can do with that time - helps your mental clarity and focus. In my experience at home, I work from the top, cleaning the kitchen counter and freeing up the space by removing paper and toys. I make the bed and tidy up my room. Nothing more. If your space is very cluttered and you know that it'll take more time to clear everything, get a big basket and park clothes, paper, toys in there until you find more energy and time to sort everything out. It's a quick and temporary fix, but it can help you massively if you have a busy day ahead.
Sun and fresh air
Sleep is a very natural thing, as natural and essential as eating and breathing. Our body has an internal clock, called circadian rhythm, that controls sleep and wakefulness. This innate biological system within us is strictly regulated by the rhythms of the sun: when the sun goes down and darkness prevails, we start producing melatonin, an hormone that makes sleep more inviting and cool our core body temperature. When the sun rises, melatonin leaves our blood stream and a new hormones take place that rise our body temperature, control our hunger and makes us alert for the day ahead. Sunlight has the power to make us feel awake and through a chain of reactions it impacts our mood as well. Have you noticed that your mood improves when the sun is shining? It's scientifically proven that it affects the production of serotonin, the "happiness" hormone. If you feel lethargic, the best way to fight that sluggish feeling is to get exposed to sunlight which sends signals to your body that is daytime and it is not time to sleep. A quick gentle walk and few deep breaths of fresh air can also oxygenate your foggy brain too.
I know that it is very hard to make the decision of going out when we're so tired and sleep deprived. I promise that once you step outside your home, it'll leave you more energized and you will be able to tackle the day better than before!