Are you a morning person? Do you wake up before your alarm, ready to go and take on the day? Maybe you are, or maybe you’re the kind of person who hits their snooze button a dozen times, sets multiple alarms, and still pulls the covers over your head to avoid the light of day.
Whether you’re a morning person or not, the morning will still come. You have jobs, priorities, and responsibilities to get on with throughout your day, and the earlier you get up, the sooner you can get a jump on the day.
There are things that can make mornings easier, though—even if you are already good at getting out of bed. We’re going to outline 10 tips and tricks that you can start doing—today!—to make your mornings easier and more enjoyable!
Get to bed at a reasonable hour. This had to be number one! The fact is, a good morning starts the night before… and even the day before (but we’ll get into that later). Our bodies have natural circadian rhythms. Melatonin is produced at night to make your body feel tired and get it ready for some shut-eye. The problem is that while many of us start to feel the first wave of tiredness around 9 or 10pm, we often push past it to our second wind in order to stay up later to do more work, go out with friends, or watch just one more episode of our Netflix marathon (don’t worry, we’ve all been there… but does it end at just one more episode?). However, by honouring the natural rhythm of your body and going to bed when you actually feel tired, you let it rest and don’t steal energy from tomorrow’s resources (which is essentially what you’re doing if you push to a second wind). Plus, our adrenals (the masters of our stress hormone) are said to repair between the hours of 10pm-2am—make sure you are sleeping during that time to increase your stress-ability and energy and set yourself up for success the next day!
Sleep in a dark room. This is another important one that will make sure you get the best sleep quality, and therefore wake up feeling refreshed. Any light—whether from the street or from electronics—will disrupt your sleeping patterns and may cause you to not have the deep sleep you need. Get good blinds if you need to block outside streetlights, try not to sleep with your TV or electronics near you, and make sure your alarm clock is not glaring at you throughout the night. If you need to, wear a sleep mask to get the full benefits of a dark room! Having a good sleep prepares you for the next day.
Get up when you need to get up. You set your alarm for a reason—don’t ignore it! Try to get up when your first alarm goes off, or when you naturally wake up the first time (as long as it’s not 3 in the morning). This will help you get a start on your day and get more things done. You might feel groggy for the first ten minutes, but know that it will pass, and that extra 10 minutes of sleep probably won’t help you feel much better. Waking up naturally with the sunrise is a sign that your circadian rhythms and adrenal glands are in a well-nourished, healthy state, but don’t worry if you’re not there yet. If you need to set an alarm, do so! Maybe even put it across the room to force you to get out of bed when it goes off. Whatever it takes, just get up.
Move! Nothing wakes up your body and your muscles more than movement! And it’s been shown that exercising or moving your body first thing in the morning is the best time of day to do so. You reap so many benefits—you burn more calories, have more energy, and set a positive tone for the rest of the day. Make sure it’s something you like doing, though. If you like to run, go for it. Take your dog for a walk. Do a quick 10 minute workout with some squats, planks, push-ups and lunges to warm up your muscles. Or indulge in a few yoga poses to center yourself for the day ahead. If you haven’t tried it yet, give it a whirl—it wakes you up better than coffee.
Speaking of coffee… avoid it if you can. While one cup of black coffee a day isn’t going to hurt much, many of us don’t stop there. Often, our coffee habit is more about the sugar and flavourings that go into our coffee, and the number of coffees we have in a day. Coffee is a stimulant, so it’s no wonder people want it in the morning. However, it’s not real, natural energy. It’s fake energy. It actually taxes your adrenal glands and your body’s energy resources, leaving you depleted. And often, it leaves you with a crash soon after. If your adrenals are in good shape and one cup of black coffee in the morning doesn’t really affect you, go for it! But if you’re drinking multiple cups a day and adding sugar, it’s best to kick this habit. Again, it will be hard at first, but our next few tips will make it a heck of a lot easier.
Drink lemon water. Before you eat or drink anything else for the day, have a glass of water (at room temperature—your stomach doesn’t like a cold shower any more than you do) with the juice of one organic lemon squeezed into it—or the equivalent of bottled organic lemon juice. You want the water to look a little cloudy. This drink not only helps to wake you up and get your metabolism moving, but it cleanses your liver and alkalizes your pH levels, meaning your whole body will feel better after you drink it. And it’s great for digestion, too. In fact, it might get things moving more than that morning cup o’ joe. Learn more about the benefits of lemon water here.
Enjoy some greens. Whether it’s greens powder like Genuine Health greens+(which comes in an extra energy format, by the way, to give you that extra boost in the morning), or adding some spinach or kale to a smoothie, get some greens into your system in the morning. Greens are alkalizing, detoxifying, and offer a number of minerals and vitamins that help get your body set up for the day ahead. We all know we should be eating more vegetables and greens, and this is the perfect way to get ahead for the day.
EAT BREAKFAST! Maybe the most important tip on this list! Breakfast is the key to starting your morning, and the rest of the day, off on the right foot. And not just any breakfast either. A drive-thru breakfast sandwich won’t cut it, and a bagel with cream cheese or a typical muffin isn’t your best choice either. You need a breakfast with protein. Remember those adrenal glands we keep talking about? They loveprotein, and thrive off it. Choose a breakfast that supplies a good amount for your body. Typically, that’s between 20-30g in the morning. How do you get this much? Smoothies are a great option—in fact, we have 7 delicious recipes for you here. Or how about 3 eggs on top of some stir-fried greens (remember those greens we told you would be beneficial in the morning?). Or an omelette with lots of fresh vegetables. Or muffins made with almond flour and supplemented with some nuts or raw cheese. Our Gluten Free Morning Glory muffins are popular! There are lots of ways to get a healthy, filling breakfast. Plan your week out in advance to make sure you have the ingredients you need!
Make a plan for your day. Do you often feel hectic as you get up, thinking about all the things you need to accomplish that day? Often, that frantic feeling can make your morning—and your day—feel worse than it really is. Do yourself a favour and take 5 minutes to write down what you want to accomplish that day, understanding that you can’t get everything done. There are only so many hours in the day—use them well. By writing down your priorities, your mind declutters and you can feel more ready to take on the day.
Have a morning mantra. This could be anything. Any quote or saying that makes you feel positive, confident, and strong. Anything that fills you with joy and happiness as you head out the door. Anything that makes your morning more positive. Tape it to your bathroom mirror, stick it on the fridge, or just repeat it to yourself in your head. Much of your day and your morning is in your control. You can be positive. You can be patient. You can accomplish what you need to get done. This will help remind you of that.
Those are 10 of our tips for having a better morning. There are somany more that we didn’t get into—like eating properly throughout the day, avoiding food sensitivities, supplements if you have trouble sleeping—but we’ll have to leave it there for now. Try some of them, and see if maybe you can become a morning person, too!
Katie has worked in the natural health & wellness industry for over 10 years and is currently studying to become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. She is passionate about eating #feelgood food and recognized that this might look different for each and every person. She truly believes that in a healthy lifestyle, you can have your cake and eat your kale, too! Follow her on Instagram @katielmitts