“I’m not a morning person.”
“Don’t talk to me before my first cup of coffee.”
“Leave me alone; I’m not awake yet.”
These sayings are so common, it’s as if we have accepted as a society that people should feel like crap in the morning. But that doesn’t have to be the case, even if you are a self-diagnosed “non-morning person.”
Before we explain how to change your morning routine to fix the AM fatigue, we need to actually look at what you’re doing before you go to bed. Your diet plays a large role in the quality and quantity of sleep you get, so don’t eat too close to bedtime. If you have an upset stomach or your body is trying to digest whatever you just ate, you won’t get a good night’s sleep. Also, it may seem obvious but avoid caffeine after a certain time of night; this can vary drastically depending on how sensitive your body is to this stimulant. Some people abstain from caffeine as early as midday, while others swear they can drink a cup of java as late as 5 p.m. and sleep like a rock. Another obvious obstacle that often goes overlooked: drinking too many liquids late in the day. Yes, we want you to stay hydrated and drink as much filtered water as possible, but depending how sensitive your body is, this healthy habit could actual hinder sleep, as you’ll be up throughout the night to use the restroom. Like caffeine, experiment with your consumption of liquids and find the right time to call it quits for the day.
Once you’ve nailed your nighttime routine, turn your attention to the bedroom. While you’re sleeping, you don’t want your room to be too hot or too cold as this can interrupt your REM cycle. Doctors suggest that 65 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit is the optimal range of temperature for sleep. Play with your thermostat and find the most comfortable temp for you. Also, keep your sleep consistent by going to bed and waking up at relatively the same time each day. When people drastically deviate from their weekday routine on the weekends, it can wreak havoc on their internal clock, causing them to struggle as soon as the work week resumes. Lastly (pay attention, work aholics!), shut out as much noise and blue light as possible. As much as insomnia may induce the desire to pick up your iPhone to check emails or turn on the TV to beat boredom, try to abstain as blue light (specifically related to its interruption of your sleep) has been linked to a whole host of serious illnesses, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
Once your sleep environment is improved, the last step to feeling perky when you wake up is modifying your morning routine. When your alarm goes off, do not press snooze. It’s ok to take a minute to do some deep breathing, but don’t linger in bed. As soon as you get out of bed, drink a room temperature glass of water or hot water with lemon on an empty stomach. This will kick start your metabolism, making you feel awake and alert. Another awesome energy boost? Exercise. It doesn’t have to be a full-blown workout, but even jumping on a trampoline or doing a few jumping jacks and lunges before hopping in the shower helps.
Next, consider jump starting your body and mind with a blast of cold water in the shower. You can do this at the beginning, middle or end of your shower. Knowing it is initially hard to muster up the courage to do this, start with 10, 20 or 30 seconds. The goal is to work your way up to 2-minutes, at the end of your shower, but whatever it takes to get this habit into your routine is a wonderful starting point. You will notice a jolt of energy while kick starting your lymphatic system into detox mode.
Lastly, don’t rush out the door before grabbing a healthy breakfast. Skip the coffee if you can and opt instead for tea or a protein-packed smoothie. For java addicts who can’t seem to let go of the joe, keep it to one cup and balance it out with some food so you don’t get jittery.
Try these simple steps and let us know if they’ve helped your morning mood improve.