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Groggy? Can’t Get Out of Bed? Try These Easy Wake-up Tips for Older Adults

Does a fog envelope you when you awaken in the morning, leaving you groggy and in-between the worlds of night and day? Or perhaps you feel like you are somewhere between Jekyll and Hyde?

Transition time from one state of awareness to another can be challenging when one has slept deeply. Even when sleep has been less than desired, a fog can fill the mind like a cloud in a box.

The older I get the more I crave good morning energy to launch my day which brings a youthful vigor to my being. Before using these techniques, I can see the look of morning fog on my face and feel it in my body. It leaves me feeling like I’ve just fainted, cannot think clearly or embrace my day. It’s nothing short of being a damsel in distress – morning distress.

I love the stimulating use of techniques that are easy while still lying in bed to dissipate the fog and nip the grog in the bud. They say it is not healthy for the body to jerk itself awake with an alarm clock and jump up out of a dead sleep. The shocking transition can be harmful to mood, body, and mind. It can also continue to carry some of the fog alongside your day. Helping the body to be naturally stimulated brings a graceful awakening that can clear fog like windshield wipers on a stormy day.

I am not a coffee drinker. So it is important for me to have something that assists in bringing an upsurge of energy to my mind and body with the sunrise. Regardless of whether or not I’ve gotten a good night’s sleep, these techniques always help me to feel more awake and on top of my unfolding day ahead.

First Step – Wriggle Your Toes

First and easiest is to wiggle your big toes with the second toes back and forth. Lying down, it is easy to feel the energy surge up the body after some wiggles. Choose the number of times required to get you more awake. I do a minimum of fifty wiggles or until I feel the shift begin to take hold to the next level of alertness. This toe wiggling stimulates the liver meridian. It’s an ancient Qi Gong technique. So easy to do! And I feel like a child when I toe wiggle.

Second Step – Rub Your Hands

The next step is to rub hands together to generate warmth in them. This generates movement of energy in the fingers and hands where there are many nerve endings that become stimulated. When they are warm, rub them all around your head, and face until it feels warm. The warmth is actually activated energy moving inside you. Pound lightly on the neck and shoulders, then tap underneath the collar bone. Do each of these for desired length that brings more alertness. Most mornings I do each of these steps for 15 seconds or so.

Third Step – Make a Sound

Make a sound. Not a word. A sound. Our bodies feel the sound, so make it one that feels good to you as a morning bugle to your cells telling them to “rise and shine.” I play with the “mmmmm” sound, first letting it slowly be a hum and then turn it into a kind of “yum” like I’ve just tasted something delicious. Hum to Yum. It creates a delightful feeling like I am stirring up a delicious day.

Fourth Step – Move Your Legs

Two legs at a time, slide your feet so that your knees are up as far as they will go, then slide your left foot back down to the reclining position, then slide it back up while the right leg and foot head to the reclining position. Repeat this ten times. This pumps your circulation to refresh and activate the brain in addition to energizing the whole body.

Fifth Step for Fog Busting

Final rallying for my body is to tap or rub from head down to toes which gets me sitting up and feeling more like having a day’s new gifts rather than being lost in the fog. Starting out the day with a laugh is a great energy boost, too!

Compare and contrast how your body feels and what stage of alertness you enter when you do the fog busting techniques. It’s really fun to have a fresh start. I love myself for doing this ritual every morning.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What helps you to feel more awake in the mornings? Do you find that waking up slowly or quickly serves you better mentally, physically, emotionally? How long does it take for you to feel really awake once you’ve opened your eyes to the new day?

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Perfect timing! I’m trying to get out of bed earlier. I was good with 7 hrs of sleep but now seem to need closer to 10 hrs, I wake maybe twice between 7:30 AM and 10:30 AM but am in a deep fog each time. I’d like to be moving around by 9:30. Part of my issue is extremely active dreams. I know that’s another topic.
I’ve successfully used sleep apps in the past but like everything else the effect decreased after a few months.

Lori Sandison

Thank you. I’m trying this tomorrow morning.

Alainnah Robertson

I do a cat stretch every morning, accompanied by a long, “Oh!” Now I will add some of your suggestions. Thanks!


I’m looking forward to trying this! Over the years I’ve lost that ability to wake up alert and rested and I have the fog just as you described.

The Author

Janai Mestrovich aka "Grandma Boom" is a 40-year pioneer of kids’ television programming. She is an international speaker and the author of 7 books, including a self-help memoir, endorsed by Doris Day. Janai is a retired instructor with the University of Oregon who now helps older adults to find their creativity and engage with their passions. She is a proudly outrageous grandmother. You can read more about her work at Grandma Boom

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