It’s a tale as old as time.
It’s 6:30 am, your alarm is blaring, and all you want to do is to go back to sleep. The thought of work weighs heavy on your mind as you shuffle out of bed, rushing through your morning routine. You skip breakfast and practically run out the door — shoes untied, hair still wet. The day is already off to a rough start.
You may have already tried to combat this experience and make a change. Every January 1st, many of us vow to become morning people and adopt numerous healthy habits, like working out and eating healthy.
The problem with this “all-or-nothing” approach is that those big goals are often overwhelming and inconvenient. Radical life changes usually don’t last. It takes small steps to make a big change.
So, start smaller! There are some tangible things you can easily control and incorporate into your routine to supercharge your mornings and improve your life. Let’s get into it.
Your daily morning coffee may not actually be doing anything to wake you up.
Yes, you read that right.
When you first wake up, your body is naturally filled with cortisol, “the stress hormone.” While this may sound like a bad thing, it’s not— cortisol is responsible for the feeling of wakefulness and for getting you up and ready to take on the day.
But, when you consume your daily cup of joe first thing in the morning, the caffeine interferes with your cortisol levels, and you’re likely not going to get the full benefit of your coffee. Your body is already trying to get you going by itself!
Some research also suggests that when caffeine and high cortisol mix, it induces a harder mid-day “crash” and “slump,” too.
But, you don’t have to stop enjoying your morning brew. The remedy to this issue is simple: save that latte for between 10 am and 12 pm. This will allow your body to wake up naturally while avoiding a nasty come down.
With this strategy, you can have your morning buzz and a prolonged energy stream, and you may even be able to cut down on your overall caffeine consumption.
Consume smarter, not harder.
Ever wondered why you might wake up one morning completely refreshed and another groggy, even though your alarm is set for the same time?
Two words: sleep cycles. Every night, our bodies go through four different sleep phases in a cycle. If you wake up in the middle of a deep sleep phase (REM sleep), you’ll feel exhausted, no matter how many hours you’ve been sleeping. However, if you wake up during a non-REM phase, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to go.
Understanding how to use sleep cycles to your advantage is crucial to making the mornings run as smoothly as possible.
We recommend a sleep calculator app or website, to help guide you towards choosing the optimal times to fall asleep and wake up.
When you’re rushing to get out the door in the AM, proper nutrition is often not a priority, while being on time is.
But, what if there was a way to fuel your body and not be late to work or other obligations?
Cue, meal prep. We recommend smoothies; a thoughtful blend is a great way to get a TON of mind and body-fueling nutrients down quickly.
Prep bags of fruit, vegetables, and other smoothie ingredients (here are some recipe ideas), and place them in the freezer. In the morning, all you will need to do is toss the bag’s contents into a personal blender.
Boom. There’s nothing better than sustained power to get you through whatever the day throws at you in under 5 minutes.
If your first thought of the day is something along the lines of “just five more minutes,” listen up!
It turns out that those five minutes can be detrimental to your mental and physical state in the morning.
Repeatedly hitting the snooze button will put your body in an uncomfortable “sleep purgatory,” confusing your brain into releasing hormones to induce another deep sleep phase. That’s the last thing we want to happen when trying to gear up for the day.
So, banish the snooze button once and for all. It may be challenging at the moment to avoid dozing off for a few more minutes, but you will thank yourself when you can hit the ground feeling great. And, you’ll have more time in the morning to make a nutritious breakfast, stretch, or scroll through the morning news.
And there you have it! Commit to making these small changes every single day, and you will see significant changes in your life. Mornings don’t have to be miserable— in fact, they may even become your favorite part of the day.