Factors that Change Waking Up Well

Can waking up well makes a difference in your daily life? Yes it would. But for many, they never wake up well in the morning and feel the day all spoilt. A new study now identifies four key factors that make a difference in waking up well in the morning.

Sleep profile, exercise, breakfast, blood sugar level are the four key factors that the researchers

identify that makes one wake up well and get the day going in a smooth manner.

The research has been published in Nature Communications.


On sleep profile, the researchers note that the duration, timing, and efficiency of sleep overnight has much influence. Sleeping longer and waking up later than normal were both associated with better morning alertness, the researchers said.

Coming to exercise, the study showed that higher levels of movement in the day (as well as less physical activity at night) were associated with more continuous and less disrupted sleep, which in turn predicted increased alertness from the participants in the morning.

Thirdly, there was breakfast. Morning meals with more carbohydrates led to better alertness levels, while more protein had the opposite effect. By keeping the calories in the supplied meals the same, the researchers focussed on the nutritional content of what was being eaten.

Lastly, a surge in blood sugar levels after breakfast – tested using a pure glucose liquid drink – was associated with reduced alertness. A lower blood glucose response, seen after participants ate a high-carb breakfast, improved alertness, the study said.

Other factors at play regarding daily alertness included the mood and the age of the volunteers, though these aren’t quite as manageable as what time you go to bed and what you have for breakfast.

“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,” write Vallat and colleagues.

The authors further said, “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.”


A total of 970 generally healthy adults from the United Kingdom (including non-twins, monozygotic [MZ] twins and dizygotic [DZ] twins) as well as 95 healthy adults from the United States (all non-twins) enrolled and completed baseline clinic measurements, as well as a two-week at-home phase. For more details on the clinic measurements, we refer the reader to the online protocol.

During the study’s home-phase, participants consumed multiple standardised test meals differing in macronutrient composition (carbohydrate, fat, protein and fibre), while wearing a physical activity monitor. They consumed standardised meals at breakfast during the first 9-11 days of the home period, and additionally for lunch on the two first days. Participants recorded their dietary intake and alertness on the Zoe study app throughout the study. Following completion of the home-phase, participants returned all study samples and devices to study staff via standard mail.


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