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10 Hacks To Start The Morning Right

Win the morning and you win the day. Not an early bird? I wasn’t either until Baby Elvis came along, but I started making a conscious effort to instill good morning habits so I was present for the baby and myself. Normally I would have been cranky and dragging myself around, zombie-walking until my morning coffee. But a small few tweaks and my mornings look much different these days. Try any or all of these 10 morning rituals to kick-start your mind, body and spirit.

  1. Eat right the night before. To optimize your blood sugar and melatonin levels, eat at least three hours before bed, and go for less fatty, more carb-rich meals. Same with alcohol. While I’m not currently drinking because I’m breast feeding, this trick helped my hubby DJ out with waking up less lethargic: cut yourself off a few hours before bed if you can help it, or your sleep will be less restful, since booze prevents the brain wave patterns needed for deep, restful sleep.
  2. Get enough sleep. Sounds basic, right? If you have trouble getting up, chances are you deal with occasional or chronic insomnia, and have found ways to function on minimal sleep. They say adults should sleep seven to nine hours, but everyone’s different. Less than six isn’t enough. Go to bed when you’re tired and wake up naturally. If you absolutely need that alarm, resist snoozing—it’s a losing game, and doesn’t make you more rested. If you still struggle, here’s our sleep hack
  3. Move toward the light. Expose yourself to natural light for 15 to 30 minutes when you get up. Sunlight hits the pineal gland in your brain, which lessens melatonin production and in turn makes you more alert. Indoor light isn’t strong enough to trigger this response, but if it’s dark or wintry when you rise, try a light therapy box.
  4. Drink a glass of water. Humans are about 70% water, so we need plenty of it to keep our bodies working. If the first thing you do when you sit up in bed is down a nice, tall glass of water, you’re off to a great start, because you’re supporting the processes that give you the energy to get going. Drinking water regularly throughout the rest of the day supports the production of serotonin, which helps regulate sleep and mood.
  5. Keep a gratitude journal. Studies show that giving thanks makes you happier and healthier all around. Whether you’re thanking yourself, those around you, or the great divine, there are incredible benefits wrapped up in the simple act of writing down what you’re grateful for. Here are a few tips for starting yours.
  6. Breathe and meditate. Do you wake up with your mind racing and feel anxious within your first half hour? Yeah, me too sometimes. To calm down, breathe (inhale for 4 seconds, and exhale for 8). This tells your nervous system everything is ok and calm. To energize, try Nadi Shodhana (alternative nostril breathing technique), for 2 inhales and one loooong exhale. Add a morning meditation to the mix and you’re really showing yourself some love.Five Yoga Poses To Relax After A Stressful Day
  7. Yoga. This doesn’t have to take long, and can change your world by acting as a natural stimulant. Many of us sleep with our spine and hips rounded. So when you wake, a backbend stretch can bring an energetic openness to the body. Practice yoga for as little as 10-30 minutes, and you’ll start your days full of pizazz. Inspiration here.
  8. Exercise. Higher cortisol levels in the morning are what motivate you to leap out of bed like there’s no tomorrow. Doesn’t sound like you? Coax that cortisol out of its cave with stretches (i.e. yoga), jumping jacks, a run, or a dog-walk. And the amount of exercise you get throughout the day impacts your morning energy. So keep moving!Paleo breakfast
  9. Eat a delicious, healthy breakfast. One with fats, protein and veggies to fuel your day. Coffee: one cup a day max, and stop at least 6 hours before bed. Or don’t have it at all. If that’s crazy-talk, make it Bulletproof: upgraded coffee (free of performance-robbing toxins) blended with grass-fed, unsalted butter (full of high-quality fats and nutrients), and Brain Octane Oil. You can even make your own!
  10. Set your dreams and intentions. Once I’ve left the house and am snug on the train, I write down my dream day: in the present tense, using only positives, and without absolutes. I describe what my day feels like, looks like, what I accomplish, and how my interactions look. “I arrive at work grounded. Energy flows freely through me. The care I’ve shown myself shapes my words and actions as I move to help others do the same. I keep breathing…”

Best in health,

Dr Emily Kiberd