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Want to unlock the secret to waking up refreshed and alert? Do these three things

When your alarm clock goes off, do you hop out of bed feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day? Or are you groggy, tired and would rather hit snooze and sleep longer? A new study shows that the secret to feeling more energetic in the morning is to do three things. Viv Williams has the details in this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion."

DOG sleeping
Three things can help you wake up without feeling like you want to pull the covers back over your head.
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ROCHESTER — How often do you wake up feeling groggy, sluggish and tired? Too often? Fret not, because a new study shows that you can wake up feeling more alert and ready to face the day if you pay attention to three things: sleep, exercise and breakfast.

Scientists from the University of California, Berkeley tracked people's behavior over two weeks. They found that the secret to alertness is a three-part prescription that includes exercise the previous day, sleeping longer and later into the morning, and eating a breakfast high in complex carbohydrates, with limited sugar.

“All of these have a unique and independent effect,” says Dr. Raphael Vallat, first author of the study. “If you sleep longer or later, you're going to see an increase in your alertness. If you do more physical activity on the day before, you're going to see an increase. You can see improvements with each and every one of these factors.”

When it comes to breakfast, what should or shouldn't you eat? The research team found that the worst type of breakfast contains a lot of simple sugar. Study participants who ate a sugar-infused breakfast struggled with sleepiness. But the best breakfast is high in complex carbohydrates with a modest amount of protein. They found this combo to be linked to people being able to rev up their alertness quickly in the morning and then sustaining it.

Morning grogginess is not just annoying. It can cause auto accidents and injuries on the job. The researchers cite the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, the Three Mile Island nuclear meltdown in Pennsylvania and the nuclear accident in Chernobyl as examples.


If you want to feel more alert in the mornings, give the three-part prescription a try. Exercise, sleep longer (which may mean going to bed earlier) and eat a complex carb-rich breakfast that's low in sugar.

The study is published in the journal Nature Communications.


Follow the  Health Fusion podcast on  Apple,   Spotify and  Google podcasts. For comments or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at  vwilliams@newsmd.com. Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv.

When arctic blasts plummet temperatures, stepping outside can be dangerous. In this Health Fusion episode, Viv Williams talks to a researcher about what intensely cold air could do to anyone's lungs.

Opinion by Viv Williams
Viv Williams hosts the NewsMD podcast and column, "Health Fusion." She is an Emmy (and other) award-winning health and medical reporter whose stories have run on TV, digital and newspaper outlets nationwide. Viv is passionate about boosting people's health and happiness by helping them access credible, reliable and research-based health information from top experts. She regularly interviews experts and patients from leading medical institutions, such as Mayo Clinic.
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