- A factor that played a role in helping the volunteers was the sleep profile
- The type of breakfast was also a major factor that made a difference
- Blood glucose levels following breakfast had an effect on alertness during the day
There are days when waking up in the morning is a struggle. It often starts with a repeatedly snoozed alarm and a bed that seems a lot more tempting than whatever the day has to offer. A new study has some pointers to transform days like these into active, alert mornings.
The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, found four genetically independent key factors that can help one wake up in the morning feeling fresh as a daisy.
The phrase “genetically independent” indicates that these pointers can help any person, irrespective of their genetic makeup.
The team of researchers was led by neuroscientist and sleep researcher Raphael Vallat of the University of California (UC) Berkeley. “Why is it that we human beings fluctuate in our alertness from one day to the next?” they asked in their paper.
“Why do we wake one morning feeling alert, yet another morning, flounder in that level of alertness upon awakening?”
The research team designed an experiment to discern the factors that hinder people from waking up full of energy in the morning and sustaining that energy throughout the day. The study was conducted on 833 participants, most of whom were twins to help eliminate genetic factors that might be at play, according to ScienceAlert.
The first factor that played a role in helping the volunteers was the sleep profile. Meaning the duration, timing, and efficiency of sleep the night before. Participants who slept longer and woke up later than their usual time felt more active in the morning, the study found.
The second observation was the amount of physical activity that the volunteers engaged in during the day. The study showed that higher engagement in exercises during the day resulted in more consistent and undisturbed sleep at night, which had a bearing on alertness the next morning.
The type of breakfast was the third major factor that made a difference. According to the study, participants who had carbohydrates for breakfast felt more energetic when compared to the ones who had proteins. The calorific value of both types of meals was kept the same to focus on the nutritional composition of the food.
And lastly, blood glucose levels following breakfast also affected alertness during the day. Additionally, low sugar levels seen in volunteers after a high-carbohydrate meal resulted in better alertness, the study showed.
“Our results reveal a set of key factors associated with alertness that are, for the most part, not fixed. Instead, the majority of factors associated with alertness are modifiable, and therefore permissive to behavioral intervention,” the researchers wrote.
Other factors that affected daily alertness include emotional state and age, over which people have little control.
Researchers wanted to find what ensures a great start to the day because “the failure to sustain alertness throughout the day is a major causal factor of road traffic and occupational accidents, accounting for thousands of deaths every year,” the paper states. “Moreover, it is estimated that insufficient sleep leading to impaired daytime alertness is responsible for significant work-related loss of productivity, greater healthcare utilization, and work absenteeism.”