Let’s face it–not all of us wake up with the urge to carpe the diem the minute the alarm goes off. But for better or worse, how you spend your first couple of hours sets the tone for the rest of the day. If you find yourself running around like a chicken with its head cut off most mornings, it’s probably a good time to check in with your routine and make sure you have the right habits in place for a healthy, productive day.
Here are five science-backed hacks for waking up on the “right side” of the bed:
- Hydrate. Can you imagine not drinking any liquids for the next 8-10 hours? Well, that’s what happens when you sleep! Drinking 16oz of water first thing in the morning can kickstart your metabolism, flush out toxins, fuel your brain, and make you feel more full. It helps if your daily dose of hydration is delicious, for example, Kiwi Cucumber or Watermelon Raspberry flavored 🙂
- Have a calming ritual. This can and will vary from person to person. Some of us are just not wired to voice affirmations in the mirror each morning (or maybe this freaked your roommates out). For you it might be taking a shower, brewing that first cup of coffee, deep breathing, or even daily skincare regimen, For me, it’s spending a few minutes petting and giving my dog extra love before distractions set in. Whatever it is that makes you feel at ease, take note of it and make time to do it every morning.
- Express gratitude: Studies show that practicing gratitude has many benefits, such as flooding your brain with reward chemicals and making you more resistant to stress. It can even help you sleep better, bringing us full circle. If you’re a visual person, take a few minutes to jot down 1-2 things you’re grateful for each morning. You can do this while you’re getting your 16oz of water in!
- Ignore your phone: Some of us (okay, most of us) are in the habit of reaching for our phones to scroll through Instagram, catch up on texts, or check e-mail. In case you haven’t noticed, there are absolutely no benefits to scrolling through your phone right before bed and first thing in the morning. Flooding your brain with what’s waiting in your inbox, or what you missed the night before creates stress, so commit to 30 mins-1 hour of staying unplugged each morning. Better yet, challenge yourself to ignore your phone until you’re out the door for the day.
- Get moving. Preferably outside. Sustained energy levels, more mental alertness and sharpness, better eating habits, and better sleep are just a few of the benefits linked to morning exercise. And now that the weather is warming up, get moving outside! A Northwestern study found that people who had most of their daily exposure to even moderately bright light in the morning had a significantly lower BMIs than those who had most of their light exposure later in the day, regardless of diet and exercise. Exposure to light earlier in the day has most recently been linked to healthier sleep patterns.