Creating a morning routine can be as simple as washing your face and drinking your coffee, particularly if you’ve prepared for the day the night before. But if you struggle to get out of bed and feel awake, a consistent morning routine may benefit you.
Building morning habits can help you feel less tired and anxious and give you a productive start to the day. According to this 2020 study, 65% of Americans rarely wake up rested and energized and daytime tiredness negatively affects 75% of respondents’ productivity. Here are 9 suggestions and tips for creating a morning routine that will wake you up feeling good.
1. Avoid the snooze button: This isn’t always easy, but don’t hit the snooze button. Pressing snooze and falling back to sleep after your alarm goes off tells your body that it’s OK to begin another sleep cycle and you may actually feel more sleepy than you would be if you’d gotten out of bed with the first alarm.
There are many types of alarms available, from ascending alarms that get louder the longer they continue, to haptic alarms, like the WHOOP 4.0 that vibrates to gently wake you when you’ve reached your sleep goals.
2. Count to 3: If you have trouble waking to the alarm, ensure you don’t go back to sleep by counting to 3, swinging your legs over, and getting out of bed.
3. Get some sunlight: The natural blue light between 7 and 11 am regulates your circadian rhythm and boosts alertness. It halts the production of melatonin, the hormone that tells your body to rest. Morning sunshine boosts your immune system, aids in the production of blood cells, and strengthens bones. Sunlight also increases serotonin and decreases anxiety.
After not eating or drinking for 8 hours or more, part of your tiredness is likely from hunger and thirst.
4. Drink water: Drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning not only rehydrates you, it may also improve your short-term memory, attention span, and boost your mental performance better than caffeine.
5. Have coffee or tea: If you need caffeine, be aware of how late in the morning you keep drinking a cup of coffee. Dr. Meeta Singh said on the WHOOP Podcast that caffeine can affect people differently and while it wakes you up, it has drawbacks, too.
“The problem is, there are studies that show it does not affect your decision making. You’re just making decisions faster because you’re all caffeinated up. Caffeine may make you anxious, it may make you jittery or it may make you hyper. There is variability. Some people are fast metabolizers, some people are slow metabolizers, typically the half-life of caffeine is about 4-5 hours.”
6. Eat breakfast: Breakfast starts up your metabolism for the day. Eating breakfast gives you the energy to focus and get things done. Not to mention, it can lower levels of LDL cholesterol and decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Some people don’t like to eat first thing in the morning. They may be fasting or just not hungry. In that case, a mid-morning snack like yogurt or a smoothie might be a better option. You could also try reducing the size of your evening meal and eating dinner earlier so you’re hungry in the morning.
Dr. Stacy Sims said she is not a believer in intermittent fasting, particularly for women. “We’re so unconditioned to meal timing. Whereas if you were to eat a proper dinner and then stop and then not eat again until breakfast, that’s a good fast.”
Once you’re up and caffeinated, getting in a short activity before heading to your daily routine can relieve anxiety and make you feel better about yourself.
7. Journal or meditate: Writing a stream-of-consciousness journal may help you organize your thoughts, release anxiety, and think about dreams you remember from the night. Some of the world’s top athletes use journaling in the morning or at night to express gratitude or to fight self-doubt.
World and Olympic long jump champion Malaika Mihambo told the WHOOP Podcast that journaling before and during competitions helps her feel more confident.
“I was exhausted from the tension I had from the fear of losing (before the finals in Japan) … I wrote much down to get rid of those feelings. I was really cheering myself, that I was pushing, that I will be good. That I will take the strength from the first competition from the qualification and put that and the good feeling I had there into the final and that I know what I have to do and that I will do it, and I’m going to do it.”
If you’re not a writer, meditation may provide the same benefits to you. Meditation can reduce stress, support your ability to focus on one task at a time, and make you more aware of your own thoughts. It can also improve resting heart rate and HRV.
8. Get in a short work out: Your morning workout doesn’t have to be intense. A 15-minute walk or a yoga routine will increase your heart rate, clear your mind, and boost energy levels. It may also lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other health problems.
9. Involve your kids and pets: Having a morning routine doesn’t mean you have to ignore your responsibilities to your family. You can involve your kids in most of the activities listed above. Getting the kids into yoga, writing a dream journal, or going for a family walk with the dog is as beneficial to them as it is to you.
READ MORE: 13 Tips to Create a Nightly Routine
Learn which morning activities work best for you by tracking your morning routine with the WHOOP Journal. Each morning you have the ability to log yesterday’s activities including journaling, caffeine, and outdoor time, and begin monitoring how well they work for you. You can learn how your morning routine affects your recovery, heart rate, and sleep from your Monthly Performance Assessment.