Updated: 7 days ago
Having a morning routine is something I have always struggled with! However, I recently discovered some tips from neuroscientist Emily McDonald, and have already seen benefits from implementing them, so I wanted to share her helpful insights.
So if you've ever wondered how to create a fairly easy morning routine that leaves you feeling fresh, invigorated, and ready to seize the day, you're in the right place.
1. Embrace the Morning Sunlight
The first step to supercharge your mornings is to soak up that glorious sunlight. As soon as
you wake up, throw open your curtains and let the natural light flood in! Or even better- get outside! Why? Because natural light exposure helps reset your internal body clock, boosts your mood, and increases alertness. It also stimulates the production of serotonin, a feel-good hormone, and regulates the sleep hormone melatonin, setting you up for a more productive day ahead.
2. Get Your Body Moving
You don't need a full-on workout, but some gentle morning stretches or a short walk can work wonders. Physical activity in the morning increases blood flow, oxygenates your body, and wakes up your muscles. It's like a gentle nudge to your system, saying, "Time to get going!" So, whether it's a quick stretching session or a brisk walk, moving your body in the morning is a fantastic way to boost your energy.
3. Mind the Caffeine
Many of us reach for that cup of tea or coffee first thing in the morning, but it might not be the best idea. Caffeine blocks adenosine receptors, preventing adenosine, a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep and relaxation, from binding to them.
If we interfere with our body while it clears adenosine by drinking caffeine, we will be left with a buildup of adenosine in our system, resulting in that sleepy feeling returning once the caffeine wears off. It’s best to wait at least an hour, but preferably 90 minutes after waking until we consume caffeine.
4. Consider Matcha or Cacao
If you're looking for a caffeine alternative, matcha or cacao might be your new best friends. These options contain a small dose of caffeine, but they also have a natural compound called L-theanine.
L-theanine promotes relaxation without drowsiness and enhances cognitive function, and L-theanine is believed to be one of the reasons why matcha and cacao may not interfere with adenosine-receptor blocking in the same way that pure caffeine does . So, when you start your day with matcha or cacao, you get a gentle energy boost while still allowing your body to clear the adenosine from your system.
Theobromine is another natural compound found in cacao, which also promotes alertness while being milder than caffeine. It can contribute to increased wakefulness and reduced fatigue.
5. Avoid Coffee on an Empty Stomach
Here's a pro-tip: avoid drinking coffee on an empty stomach. It can lead to increased stomach acid production, potentially causing discomfort and over time can lead to other issues. Instead, enjoy a balanced breakfast, a smoothie, or a light snack before sipping your coffee. This way, you'll give your body the sustenance it needs to handle that caffeine kick more comfortably.
6. Delay Checking Your Phone
Avoiding your phone in the morning comes with many benefits. When you skip checking your phone right away, you can begin the day calmly, without the rush of notifications. This helps to avoid a spike in cortisol levels, so it can lead to less stress throughout the day and more focused attention, as well as better sleep and overall well-being.
Also, as we saw earlier, allowing our body to naturally clear adenosine helps us to wake up more refreshed and alert. Using your phone with its blue light emissions in the morning can interfere with your body's production of adenosine, so by avoiding checking our phone for the first hour or so and instead getting some natural sunlight, we will feel more awake and focused.
7 . Positive Affirmations
Saying positive affirmations upon waking in the morning offers numerous benefits, including helping us to have a more positive mindset, reducing stress, boosting self-confidence, and helping set clear intentions for the day. It works especially well in the morning because your brain is in a receptive state due to alpha and theta brainwaves, meaning it's more open to taking in these positive messages. But it's not just about your brain waves; it's also about how these thoughts make you feel better and more prepared for the day ahead.
As we’ve seen, our morning routine sets the tone for the entire day. By implementing some or all of these steps, you'll create a routine that enhances your well-being and productivity. So, go ahead, embrace these morning rituals, and make every day a great day from the very start!