Whenever we scroll through instagram, once can’t help but see hundreds of influencers up at the break of day making smoothies and doing home-work outs. For some morning people, this might be a usual routine. For those of us not blessed with such a body clock, it can take hours to feel like yourself after waking up.
In this blog, we’ll run through some of the best tips to help you feel like yourself first thing in the morning. Some of them might seem painful (no snooze button, really?!), but if done as part of a healthy work from home routine, you can note a real difference in how you start your day.
Keep your Alarm out of reach:
This can be difficult for those of us that use their phones as an alarm, but we all know that we shouldn’t be looking at our phones in bed anyway. If you keep your alarm out of arm’s reach (on your desk or dresser), you have to get up to turn it off. Sounds very simple, but it’s an easy way to ensure that you don’t keep turning it off and staying in bed for too long.
Stop the Snooze:
When you wake up to a loud and abrupt alarm, there’s no help in being tempted to hit snooze and have a doze for a few extra minutes. Before long, the first snooze will be the tenth, and you will have wasted precious hours half asleep.
When you fall back to sleep after hitting the snooze, you are unlikely to feel any of the real benefits of sleep. It is also proven to sleep inertia (the feeling of confusion and tiredness that can last long after you wake up).
Keeping your alarm out of reach helps with this one, but don’t be tempted to get back into bed after turning it off. If you are someone who sets your alarm earlier because you know it takes you a while (and a few snoozes) to get out of bed, turn your alam to exactly when you need to get up. That extra deep sleep is much better than the restless doze we have in between alarms.
It’s been proven that drinking water first thing in the morning can kickstart the body into gear. Dehydration makes us sleepy (a common symptom is fatigue), so hydrating yourself first thing can immediately make you feel more energised. Drinking water also stimulates the systems and organs in your body to function again, helping you feel awake.
Make sure you sleep with enough water next to your bed that there will be enough for a large glass first thing. You’ll notice a difference immediately, and if you continue to keep hydrated throughout the day, your sleepiness should begin to fade.
Stretch it out
Most of us start the day in bed with a quick stretch around. It’s a natural thing to do, relieving your muscles after they’ve been still so long. Virtually all mammals in the wild do the same, it’s an instinct we seem to have developed naturally.
If you notice when animals stretch, they do it for much longer than we do. Converting that 30 second stretch-in-bed to a slightly longer, more throughout routine. Taking even 5 minutes to perform some simple yoga poses or stretches is shown to awaken the muscles in your body and get our blood moving to our brains.
If you can manage to throw in some simple exercises with this you’ll be in even better stead for the day. Stimulating the body in this way can make you feel alert and awake. Throw in a few star jumps after your stretches and see if you notice a new awakeness.
Let the light in!
In our last wellness blog, we went into detail about the benefits of morning light. It’s essential to help your energy levels throughout the day and produce serotonin (the happy hormone we hear so much about).
A morning walk outside, or even just a coffee on the terrace, can greatly increase your mood. For those of us working from home, taking a quick stroll around the block can really help to start the day right (both in terms of light and exercise) and bring you home feeling ready for your day to begin.
For those who think the idea of going outside and taking a walk is too much of a commitment in the morning (who can blame you), try throwing on a favourite song and having a dance next to the window. The combination of movement and light makes a world of difference to our energy levels.
For some, having a shower in the morning is a given. Others prefer the bedtime ritual - and if something works for you, there’s no reason to change it. There is evidence to show that showering in the morning (especially a cold shower, if you can manage it) is the best way to increase norepinephrine concentration. In English, this means that it causes our blood vessels to dilate which increase our heart rate, circulation and blood flow. All of this causes us to feel more awake and alert.
Even a splash of cold water in the face, or a quick 30 second blitz of cold water at the end of a hot shower can start this process.
You do you
There’s lots of advice out there about what you should eat or drink in the morning to make you feel alert. Although there does seem to be evidence that a light breakfast can make us feel more alert than something heavy, it depends on the person entirely. If eating a substantial bowl of porridge helps you start your day, then go ahead. If you find that something big and heavy makes the tiredness kick in all over again, then avoid it.
There is evidence to show that protein is great to eat in the morning for our energy. Incorporating yogurt into your breakfast is an easy way to make sure you get some protein and feel ready for the day. Other than that, do what feels good to you.
There’s also some evidence to suggest that we should avoid stimulants to avoid a crash in energy afterwards. This is far too big of an ask for many of us, but it might be worth taking it a bit easier. Maybe look to reduce your coffee in the morning to just one cup and see how you feel, if you feel you need another after half an hour or so, then go ahead.
It’s worth taking some time to try out different routines and rituals to see works for you in the morning. If you’re naturally energised in the AM then you might not need to try any of these (although you probably didn’t need to get this far in the article to work that out!). For the rest of us, try a different technique a day and see if you notice a difference in your morning energy levels.