Rise and shine!

Rise and shine!

7 ways to fall in love with mornings

We’ve all been there: the alarm goes off and all we want to do is snuggle deeper under the covers. But what if every morning is a battle with the snooze button? We’ve got seven caffeine-free ways to make mornings less bleary.

1. Assess your current mornings
Ask yourself how you would like to feel in the morning. More energized? More productive? Calmer? Next, reflect on what might be getting in the way. Is it reaching for your phone as soon as you open your eyes? Finally, imagine what activities might foster your desired morning state: perhaps it’s swapping Facebook for a morning jog or journaling for 10 minutes with a cup of tea.

2. Have something to look forward to
Once you’ve determined your goals, it’s time to make them appealing! For example, plan a new route or playlist for that morning jog, or buy your favorite tea to savor while you journal.

3. Prep for success
A little planning goes a long way. For example, figure out that timer on your coffee maker or set out all the gear you need for that morning jog the night before, leaving less room for morning error.

4. Move!
Although exercise at any time of day is beneficial, studies have shown that starting our day with a bit of sweat may lower blood pressure and help us sleep more deeply at night.

5. Fuel up
Although we’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it often becomes a mundane—or even overlooked—part of the morning shuffle. Planning a nutritious and delicious breakfast can add new life to your morning, and it can help stabilize blood glucose levels throughout the day.

6. Practice healthy sleep habits
The best way to feel more energized in the morning is to improve overall sleep quality and duration. Making a habit out of getting good sleep will also improve your overall health—and your overall disposition.

For a more peaceful slumber, the National Sleep Foundation suggests

  • avoiding caffeine, alcohol and certain types of food (for example, rich, spicy or fried) close to bedtime
  • limiting daytime naps to 30 minutes
  • creating a bedtime routine and going to bed and getting up at approximately the same time every day
  • making your bedroom a sleep haven (think quiet, cool and comfortable!)

7. Head for the woods
Recent research found that a weeklong camping trip with exposure to nothing but natural light (that’s right, no flashlights or cellphones) did wonders for the sleep cycle.

After seven days, participants’ bodies started releasing melatonin (the “sleep” hormone) around sunset and stopped releasing melatonin around sunrise. This was, on average, two hours earlier than normal. Campers also started going to bed and getting up at the same time—despite having different sleep schedules at home.

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