You wake up each morning to the sound of a blaring alarm, roll over and hit the snooze button. Suddenly, you're waking up again, five minutes before you're due to be at work, groggy, panicked, and overwhelmed. Sound familiar?
Most of us don't have the best morning routine. Even if you have done everything that you can to get to sleep on time the night before, there's a good chance that you're going to wake up feeling tired – particularly if you woke up in the middle of your sleep cycle. However, making the most of your mornings could be the first step towards a happier and healthier life.
If you're tired of starting your morning either exhausted or in a rush, the following three tips will help you to start each day with the right attitude – bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
1. Go Outside as Soon as You Wake Up
Sunlight is one of the most important tools that you can use to regulate your circadian rhythm. Your brain uses sunshine to tell your nervous system when it needs to prepare for sleep, and when it needs to be awake. What's more, vitamin D – the substance that we create when exposed to the sun, is essential for healthy hormones, mental performance, and immune system functioning.
Importantly, if you want to discover all the benefits that sunlight has to offer yourself, you can't just throw open the curtains in your bedroom while you chug down a cup of coffee. The best results come from actual exposure to sunlight, which means getting up and going outside. Simply stepping outdoors and breathing in some fresh air for a few minutes will do wonders for your energy levels.
You'll get an even better outcome if you make sure that you perform this little sun-worshipping routine at the same time each morning. Having a morning habit may help to ensure that you'll fall asleep at the same time each day too – which means you're more likely to get the right amount of sleep each night. Try setting your alarm to around 7-8 hours after you fall asleep each night. When your alarm goes off, grab your exercise gear and go outside for:
- A walk around the garden
- Some morning stretching
- A quick stroll with the dog
You can also use your mornings in the sunlight to boost your energy and be healthy even more by using our next tip.
2. Try Exercise or Yoga
Struggling to find time to fit exercise into your busy routine? No problem – do it when you get up. Starting your day with a workout gets your adrenaline pumping, and your body warmed up and ready for the day. If you can stick to a routine, you'll find that your brain begins to anticipate exercise when you wake up too, which means that it will prepare you for vigorous activity with a boost of energy.
You don't necessarily have to workout with weights or go for a run around the block if you want to start your day with exercise either. Some basic gentle activities like yoga can be more than enough to stretch out your limbs and get you ready for the day ahead. Additionally, yoga comes with plenty of breathing exercises that help you to find your core balance and rediscover your inner energy.
If you prefer to practice yoga first thing in the morning, you can do it from the comfort of your bed. This is a huge bonus for those of you who might have a hard time letting go of the covers. Start with something relaxing like the Balasana or more commonly known as the child's pose. To perform this:
- Kneel on the bed, touching your big toes together and sitting back on your heels
- Separate your knees and bend your body forward so that your torso comes down between your thighs. Lengthen your spine so that you're stretching headfirst
- Rest your arms in front of you and try touch your head to your mattress if you are able to
- Hold the pose for a few seconds to stretch all your muscles
- Breathe deeply
Once you're all stretched out, you can do some sun salutations outside where you can start to soak up the daylight.
On the other hand, if you're new to fitness, it might be easier to start with something as simple as a brisk walk and work your way up to a morning jog.
3. Fuel Up
Finally, rather than immediately drinking a cup of coffee when you wake up, look for other ways to fuel yourself for the day instead. For instance, drinking a lot of water first thing in the morning is often a great idea for those who feel sluggish. As you often become dehydrated during the night, water will help to replenish some of the moisture you lost through sweating.
Additionally, high-protein breakfast will give you a boost of dopamine, which is great for ramping up your energy levels. One particularly good option is to start the day with a fresh plate of eggs. Eggs are packed full of protein, which gives you power throughout the day without causing any spikes in your blood sugar that you'll have to battle against later.
If you can't handle the idea of eating eggs first thing in the morning, or you don't have time to cook them, then you could always stick to something simple like a banana instead. Bananas are a great source of potassium, carbohydrates, and vitamin B6, which your body can use for upping your energy levels for the day ahead.
You can also try overnight oats with fruits and nuts when you're rushing to work first thing in the morning or consider a more protein-packed breakfast smoothie when you have a little more time on your hands.
Getting up each morning can feel like a real challenge sometimes, but with the three tips above, you'll be ready to tackle every day!