5 Morning Routines To Get Your Day Started
Feeling awake and alert starts with getting a good night's sleep. But that's only part of what keeps you from feeling sluggish and tired throughout the day. Starting your day off right also impacts how well rested you'll feel as the day wears on.
Better morning routines can also supercharge your day and body in other ways. Add these tweaks to your routine morning to keep the benefits of a good night's sleep going and set your day up right.
Stop hitting snooze.
Lingering in bed might sound divine, but those five or 10 extra minutes can cause you to drift back into late stage REM sleep, or dream sleep. Continually interrupting REM sleep can activate a 'fight or flight' response, increasing your blood pressure and heartbeat, according to Cleveland Clinic's Sleep Disorders Center. When your alarm goes off, get up. If you find yourself frequently needing to hit snooze, readjust your wake up time to get in that extra time.
Start with a good stretch.
As we sleep, our muscles and joints can become stiff and achy. Incorporating a morning stretching routine even before you hop out of bed can help loosen those muscles. Stretching also improves circulation, increasing blood flow to your muscles and brain, thereby increasing your energy level. Simple stretching exercises can also turn on your body's parasympathetic nervous system, according to Harvard Health. This system, also known as your “rest and digest" system, is responsible for restoring your body to a state of calm. It decreases blood pressure and heart and increases digestion.
Get a dose of sunshine.
Throw open your curtains and take in the view. While light can be the enemy of falling asleep and staying asleep, daylight is essential for signaling to your brain and body that it's time to wake up. It decreases melatonin levels, the chemical responsible for inducing sleep. Exposure to sunlight or bright artificial light upon waking also triggers nocturnal melatonin production sooner, meaning you're then able to fall asleep faster at night. This process, known as melatonin rhythm phase advancement, has been shown to help with insomnia, premenstrual syndrome, and seasonal affective disorder. Sunlight also increases serotonin levels, a hormone responsible for boosting your mood and reducing anxiety. If it's still dark outside when you get up, turn on a bright overhead light. Or ditch your old alarm clock for a sunrise alarm clock, found at in-store and online home improvement and decorating retailers. These wake you up gradually with increasing amounts of light meant to mimic sunshine.
Drink some water.
Coffee may be the most popular wake-me-up drink, but to refresh your body, a glass of cold water might work better. Caffeinated coffees and teas are mildly diuretic, so they can dehydrate you. Dehydration can leave you feeling tired. It can also trigger headaches and migraines. You don't have to skip your favorite latte or chai entirely. Drinking a glass of water along with your coffee can counteract those diuretic effects. Don't like drinking plain water? Add a twist of lemon, a cube of watermelon or a slice of cucumber for a refreshing drink.
Your body needs fuel, in the form of calories, to make it through the morning. A healthy breakfast provides the energy and nutrients for your body and mind to feel their best. One study found that skipping breakfast disrupts the body's circadian rhythm, its internal clock. To keep your blood sugar from spiking, and crashing from a sugar high, choose breakfast foods high in protein, fiber and healthy fats, and low in sugar.
By following both good sleep hygiene and good morning hygiene, you set yourself up for a good day.
Note: Frequently feeling drowsy, tired or exhausted during the day despite getting at least seven hours of sleep can be a sign of sleep apnea, a serious disorder where you stop breathing repeatedly during sleep. Excessive snoring, waking up with a sore throat, and falling asleep during the day are other signs of sleep apnea. It's important to talk to your doctor if you experience these symptoms.