Natural Wake Up Calls
Regardless if you’re a night owl or an early bird, waking up in the morning is a struggle for most of us. Read this post to find out the best natural ways to wake up fresh and energized in the morning, and pick the one that’s more appealing to you.
Researchers found that lactate causes cells in the brain to release more noradrenaline (norepinephrine in US English), a hormone and neurotransmitter which is fundamental to brain function. Without it, people can hardly wake up or focus on anything.
Production of lactate can be triggered by muscle use, which reinforces the connection between exercise and positive mental wellbeing. In the brain, it has always been regarded as an energy source which can be delivered to neurons as fuel to keep them working when brain activity increases.
Supplying orexin neurons with lactate can stop glucose from blocking orexin neurons [R].
Lactate is the most powerful and abundant in my experience.
The effect of lactate on firing activity is concentration dependent. Also, lactate disinhibits and sensitizes these orexin neurons for future excitation [R].
One study hypothesized that orexin neurons only ‘see’ glucose changes when the levels of other energy molecules are low, whereas high energy levels can stop glucose from regulating orexin cells [R].
Read my post about lactate and orexin.
I use this Kombucha Scoby to produce my own. I use random, cheap decaf teas.
I do interval exercise as well. Exercise has an added benefit of increasing cAMP.
This you will only feel the next day, but it does have a wakeful promoting effect, but again use it the day before.
Hi-Maize produces butyrate, which is an energy-related molecule and should, therefore, block glucose-induced suppression of orexin [R]. Also, butyric acid is acidic and therefore may also increase orexin in that manner.
I’ve found that it does indeed increase wakefulness after a glucose challenge or a big meal.
As discussed above, it also is a GLP-1 agonist, so it can increase orexin and therefore wakefulness in multiple ways,
This is on top of the fact that it can improve memory via BDNF [R] and longevity.
I use Hi-Maize resistant starch, to great effect.
3) Bright light
This you will feel instantly. It wakes you up like no body’s business.
Bright light is used for a seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and depression.
4) Breathe All The Way Out
Take a deep breath in and then breath out all of the ways. The key here is to breath out to the point that it almost hurts. When you breathe out try to breathe out even more.
This is a breathing technique I use to wake me up if need be.
5) Stimulating Breath
Studies have found that long-term fructose consumption (bingeing) increases orexin. Also, 25% of fructose consumed turns into lactate, which blocks orexin suppression by glucose.
Heavy fructose consumption may not be the most healthy way to increase orexin, but based on my experience, it’s effective.
Raw honey is my preferred source.
7) Take a walk
Walking wakes me up. Perhaps a long walk is stimulating by increasing BDNF in the hippocampus.
C60 is the most powerful anti-oxidant that I have ever taken and it’s the most long lasting as well. This gives me a nice steady mitochondrial boost throughout the day.
Fatigue is a hallmark symptom of mitochondrial disease, making mitochondrial dysfunction a likely biological mechanism for fatigue [R]. ROS/Oxidative stress increases TNF [R], which may explain why anti-oxidants can help.
PQQ is a powerful mitochondrial enhancer and is stimulating. It creates new mitochondria and acts as an antioxidant, which may explain why it promotes wakefulness.
I don’t take this anymore because it increases the immune system and gave me some inflammation.
11) Jasmine Tea
This is the best tea with regard to waking me up. I think it has to do with caffeine and increasing thyroid hormones (tea suppresses iodine uptake, which causes some of us to increase thyroid hormone release).
12) Yerba Mate
Yerba mate has caffeine and other xanthines but is more gentle than coffee.
I’m much less allergic to this than coffee.
17) Gotu Kola
I don’t know the mechanism as there’s no science on it, but it feels like a mitochondrial booster. It wakes me up when I’m tired and relaxes me when I’m awake. It’s one of the few balancing supplements for me.
Gynostemma has strong antioxidant effects that extended to the mitochondria of cells [R]. I found that it does feel like a mitochondrial booster when I tried it.
20) Adrenal glandular
The adrenal glands contain cortisol and norepinephrine. Cortisol suppresses inflammation (TNF, IL-1b), which is what makes us fatigued.
21) Nicotinamide Riboside
To me, this feels similar as to when I take caffeine, without the negatives. I’m more motivated and I feel I need to move about, exercise and get stuff done.
Nice performance enhancer NAD inhibits TNF.
Don’t know how this works.
Rub a little next to your nose: Rosemary essential oil.
25) Chili or Cayenne pepper
These do a pretty good job at waking me up, albeit only temporarily.
26) Vegetable Juice
This functions as an antioxidant, mitochondrial booster and increases thyroid hormones in me (by blocking iodine uptake).
Containing: romaine lettuce, celery, and cucumber. Has a very refreshing effect.
27) Cinnamon Sticks
These are hard to chew but they do wake up me pretty powerfully. I buy them by the pound.
Probably works by inhibiting TNF.
L-dopa increases dopamine, which is important for mental alertness. If you see the picture below, you’ll see that this is a mechanism of action for amphetamines.
A study examined the ability of dopamine agonists to activate orexin neurons in the rat. The study found that both D1 and D2 agonists are sufﬁcient to activate orexin neurons [R].
Antipsychotics block dopamine pathways [R] and as you might guess a side effect is fatigue.
Dopamine also converts to epinephrine, which increases alertness.
The disease myasthenia gravis, characterized by muscle weakness and fatigue, occurs when the body inappropriately produces antibodies against acetylcholine nicotinic receptors, and thus inhibits proper acetylcholine signal transmission.
This is a good example that demonstrates the role of acetylcholine in vigilance.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine has the acetyl portion, which increases acetylcholine. Carnitine increases fatty acid burning and mitochondrial health. Buy disposing and using fatty acids for energy, we get an energy boost. This is a must if you eat a high-fat diet.
31) Having Fun
A study found having fun or play was able to increase orexin, while the same level of exercise wasn’t able to [R].
The study concludes that motor and cardiovascular changes are not sufficient to elevate orexin, so they hypothesize that the emotional aspects of yard play account for the observed increase in orexin [R].
Nucleotide supplements are most stimulating but also have a sedating side.
Supplemental nucleotides contain 4 “ribonucleotides”: Cytidine Monophosphate (CMP), Uridine Monophosphate (UMP), Adenosine Monophosphate (AMP) and Guanosine Monophosphate (GMP).
Nucleotides are the building blocks for DNA synthesis, though I’m not sure exactly which aspect of the supplement accounts for the simulation.
UMP is more relaxing and I occasionally take it at night before bed. This doesn’t cause the wakefulness in nucleotide supplements.
Chewing gum improves some aspects of memory in healthy people [R].
It activates histamine H1 receptors [R], which increase wakefulness.
Gum also increases CCK release, which can be stimulating for some or fatiguing for others.
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Health Tools I Wish I Had When I Was Sick
At SelfHacked, it’s our goal to offer our readers all the tools possible to get optimally healthy. When I was struggling with chronic health issues I felt stuck because I didn’t have any tools to help me get better. I had to spend literally thousands of hours trying to read through studies on pubmed to figure out how the body worked and how to fix it.
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- SelfHacked Elimination Diet course – a video course that will help you figure out which diet works best for you
- Selfhacked Inflammation course – a video course on inflammation and how to bring it down
- Biohacking insomnia – an ebook on how to get great sleep
- Lectin Avoidance Cookbook – an e-cookbook for people with food sensitivities
- BrainGauge – a device that detects subtle brain changes and allows you to test what’s working for you
- SelfHacked VIP – an area where you can ask me (Joe) questions about health topics