Countless factors contribute to your overall state of wellbeing, and you can’t control two of the most significant influences: your genetics and your environment. However, you can control elements like how you drink, eat, and exercise. These actions ultimately define your daily habits, and what you do first thing in the morning sets the pace for the rest of the day. To start each day off right, consider a combination of these eight healthy morning habits:
1. Get Up…Without Hitting Snooze
According to the Director of Sleep Disorders Research at Cleveland Clinic, the five to 10 minutes of sleep you get between hitting snooze isn’t restorative sleep. Rather, reaching for the snooze button disrupts the deep REM sleep that makes you feel rested, often triggering a fight-or-flight response. While it’s a difficult habit to get used to, crawling out of bed the first time your alarm goes off will help you to start your day refreshed and energized.
2. Drink Water Right Away
Keeping hydrated throughout the day has many benefits; it reduces your capacity for unhealthy snacks, it aids digestion, and it helps get rid of the toxins in your body. Drinking water first thing in the morning is essential because it allows the water to do its job without competing for attention with food. Also, drinking water right off the bat helps you recover from the dehydrating effects of eight hours of sleep.
3. Stay Away From Electronics
The last thing you need when you wake up in the morning is a deluge of information that will interfere with your ability to plan and focus on the day ahead. Furthermore, research shows that higher smartphone use tends to promote anxiety and stress and can disrupt normal sleeping patterns. Starting your day with an anxious or overwhelmed state of mind will hurt your productivity. Especially if you start the day on social media, the information and images will inhibit your creativity by suppressing your own thoughts and ideas.
For many working adults, it’s almost unthinkable to step away from responsibilities and experience a few moments of silence and restoration. However, that’s exactly what you need to promote productivity.
At the beginning of each day, take five minutes to orient yourself and take control of your body and emotions. During meditation, the pituitary gland releases endorphins, a group of hormones known for promoting positive emotions and increasing energy levels.
5. Eat a Full, Nutritious Breakfast
Breakfast is often referred to as the most important meal of the day, and with good reason. It replenishes your body’s blood sugar levels, which will have dwindled overnight. Eating breakfast will give your muscles and brain the ability to maintain concentration and get work done efficiently.
Denying your body this fuel because you want to beat the morning rush is a mistake. Your energy will quickly deplete, lowering your ability to focus on tasks. Also, once lunchtime comes around, your hunger will tempt you to reach for high-calorie foods.
6. Enhance Your Cup of Coffee
A shot of caffeine in the morning will stimulate your senses and get your gears moving. But there are ways your cup of coffee can contribute more to your overall wellbeing.
For example, you can lose weight by adding medium-chain triglycerides to your daily coffee. Oil refined from these fats, called MCT oil, can help you burn fat and can suppress cravings. MCT oil in coffee will also make it creamier and tastier. You can also try tossing some collagen protein into your coffee for skin, heart, bone, and joint health benefits. Furthermore, many spices, like turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, and cayenne, have anti-inflammatory properties and can add a kick to your beverage.
7. Stretch or Exercise
Exercising in the morning not only helps you burn calories, but it also helps set the right tone for the day. Combined with the act of waking up early, it puts you in a proactive frame of mind. You will be better able to plan your day, prioritize, and execute tasks when you give your muscles a good stretch or workout first thing in the morning.
8. Get Some Sunlight
There are numerous compelling reasons to get some sun, and for many people, sunlight is most effective if experienced in the morning. Morning light exposure can help people with sleep disorders, such as insomnia, and it also helps regulate your metabolism.
When to Start
Face it, creating healthy morning habits is difficult. However, if you get your morning routine in check, you’re far more likely to follow through with your daily productivity goals. There will never be a convenient time to start practicing self-discipline early in the morning, so you might as well start now.