The science-backed trick to waking up active, refreshed and alert

Do you feel groggy until you drink your morning coffee? Do you feel drowsy during the rest of the day? You’re not alone. There are many people who find it difficult stay alert in the morning. However, a new study has concluded that there are things that can be done to fix it.

Sleep more, exercise and take care of breakfast

According to their authors in the academic journal Nature Communications, the key to waking up refreshed, active and alert is in take care of three fundamental factors: sleep, exercise and breakfast.

This conclusion is the result of a behavioral analysis of 833 volunteers who, over a two-week period, received several different breakfasts, wore a bracelet that monitored their physical activity and sleep parameters. They also had to keep diaries of everything they ate and your alert levels from the time they woke up and throughout the rest of the day. Finally, some pairs of twins were included in order to differentiate the effect of genes from that of behavior and the environment.

You have to wait between 1 and 9 months to notice a decrease in coughing and shortness of breath, but before a year both end up occurring.

Thus, they were able to observe that the great secret to wake up alert consisted of engage in substantial physical exercise the day before, sleep longer and later in the morning, and eat a breakfast high in complex carbohydrates with limited sugar.

Better glucose control

In part, this achieved better control of glucose levels in blood throughout the day. Sudden changes in this parameter, in fact, cause fatigue, drowsiness and dizziness, so it is logical that habits that improve this aspect increase alertness.

Tangerines in a Mercadona store.

In any case, the authors point out that the effect of the three habits it is independent: implementing any of them will translate into an increase in alertness levels and an improvement in concentration, as well as a reduction in drowsiness throughout the day.


Vallat, R., Berry, SE, Tsereteli, N. et al. How people wake up is associated with previous night’s sleep together with physical activity and food intake. Nature Communications (2022). DOI:

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