5 Tips To Feel Better In The Morning
Updated: Dec 1, 2020
Mornings, for many of us, are a chore. Repeatedly and groggily punching the snooze button until you simply have to get up, followed by a quick shower and the usual bucket of espresso before work. Well, if you’re anything like this, this list is for you.
1. Wake up at the same time every day.
The body is full of mysterious and powerful processes. Our circadian rhythms are one example of this. Synchronised around a ‘master clock’ in your brain, these strongly influence various bodily processes including sleep. Waking up and going to sleep at different times every day disrupts these, and could be damaging more than your morning mood. Research has shown that poor sleep can have huge impacts on your health. This includes weight gain, lowered productivity, depression, heart disease & stroke, a weakened immune system, and worsened social skills.
Waking up and sleeping at the same time every day makes our sleep more restorative and fulfilling. When we sleep better we also become more productive and alert throughout the day.
2. Drink water before and after sleeping.
Over a typical night’s sleep, your body goes without water for a long time. Whether it be 5 hours or 12, it’s a duration which we would never consider going thirsty during the day. Take into account that we perspire a surprising amount overnight, and it’s not hard to see why a glass of water before and after bed would do a whole world of good. Research shows that staying properly hydrated can reduce fatigue and improve mood. Also,
So, do yourself a favour and drink a glass of water before you sleep and as soon as you wake up.
3. Don’t use your phone in the bedroom
Let’s be honest here; many of us check our phones just before bed, and again first thing in the morning. Whether it’s because you use your phone as an alarm or it’s simply a force of habit, a phone in the bedroom may be doing you more harm than you think.
Studies have shown that being exposed to blue light (the kind that comes from your phone, laptop, and other devices) hinders the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for sleepiness. This relates to the night/day cycle and how it ties into your body’s natural clock (mentioned above). Better sleep will of course lead to a better mood and energy levels when you wake.
This is not however, the whole picture. Even if you avoid your phone before bed, checking it the moment you wake up can also be of detriment; we aren’t built to constantly receive so much information. In the case of the news, we see distant and often distressing situations that we have little to no control over. Social media has also been shown to be addictive, cause heightened stress levels, lower happiness, and even encourage antisocial behaviour.
It’s clear to see that our brains deserve a break once in a while. Leave the phone out of the bedroom, buy a real alarm clock if you have to - or even better, wake up naturally with good sleeping habits!
4. Smile more and look on the bright side
Research has shown that smiling - nothing more, nothing less - can have wonderful effects on the body. Caused by a chemical reaction in your brain, this seemingly insignificant act can do a lot of good. The potential benefits include decreased stress, a boosted immune system, and an increase in overall happiness.
The idea that smiling causes happiness may remind you of the old adage ‘fake it til’ you make it’, and it turns out this couldn’t be closer to the truth. A similar practice to consciously smiling you can employ is having a positive mental attitude. While it’s easy to scoff at suggestions like “just be positive!”, thinking on the bright side and opting for optimism can have a surprising impact on your wellbeing.
Studies have found that students with a positive attitude to learning typically achieved better than those with a negative attitude, potentially mattering just as much as one’s IQ. Your brain simply works better on positive thinking. Often this can lead to a feedback loop where positive attitude fosters higher achievement, and that achievement boosts happiness.
So, instead of defaulting to ‘bleary-eyed curmudgeon’ in the mornings, try smiling the moment you wake up, and make the effort to think positively both about and during the mornings.
5. Get up, get out, get moving
Nobody needs another lecture about how fantastic exercise is for us. We’ve all heard it a million times, be it from doctors, celebrities, friends, or family. Unfortunately for the lazy-boned among us, the simple truth is that our bodies are purpose-built for movement.
This goes back a long way in our history as a hunter-gatherer species, wherein we would be active for days at a time - you guessed it - hunting and gathering, and then would continue to be active on our off-days in celebration and relaxation. We have evolved as incredibly active creatures, and our modern day sedentary lifestyle is completely at odds with this.
To return to our roots in this way does both the body and mind a lot of good. Furthermore, while exercise in the morning might sound egregious, it may be just what we need to feel our best. Our muscles have literally been paralyzed overnight through the process of sleep, so even a small amount of movement can help make you feel more awake and ready for your day. Bonus points given for going outside to exercise (yes, even in winter!), as exposure to the natural world has been linked with increased vitality and happiness.
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