Have you ever felt like you woke up on the wrong side of the bed? A bad morning routine can impact your entire day. Dr. Xinqi Mike Ren, a primary care physician in family and community medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, offers healthy tips to kickstart your morning in order to set yourself up for success the whole day.
1. Start the day with a glass of water.
“Overnight, your body gets dehydrated,” Ren said. “Keep a glass of water by the bed, and drink it first thing in the morning.”
Ren says everyone should be hydrating thoroughly through lunchtime, especially if you drink coffee, which can be dehydrating. If you don’t like plain water, it’s ok to add a mix-in, preferably one that’s sugar free. Avoid soda or any sugary drinks for breakfast. For those who need caffeine in the morning, try limiting your intake to two cups of coffee. Ren also recommends watching the amount of cream you add to your coffee, because those products can be high in fat and sugar.
2. Eat breakfast that gives you energy.
When making breakfast, Ren suggests incorporating complex carbohydrates like oatmeal and granola rather than simple carbohydrates like white bread.
“Complex carbs will give you energy throughout the day and won’t spike your blood sugar level like simple carbs,” Ren said.
It’s also helpful to incorporate healthy protein, like yogurt or egg whites, to provide sustained energy.
3. Stretch to wake up your body.
Ren recommends starting the day with a full body stretch or yoga. Even 10 minutes can get the muscles moving and ready for the day.
“When you’re sleeping, your body is stiff,” Ren said. “Do a short stretch to get the blood flowing when you wake up. I find morning yoga also helps me focus.”
Some people may also find benefit in a morning run. But if getting up early to exercise doesn’t work for you, don’t stress. Ren advises doing a cardio workout at whatever time of day fits your schedule and preference best.
4. Find a moment of mindfulness.
Prepare for the day mentally with a few minutes of mindfulness or meditation. Ren suggests picking a word or phrase to focus on for the day.
“If you have a busy day, maybe your phrase is, ‘Focus on the big picture,’” Ren said. “Focusing on that and doing some deep breathing can help relieve stress.”
5. Prepare for your morning the night before.
Your nightly routine is just as important as your morning routine. Set out whatever you will need the following day so you don’t have to worry about it in the morning. Set the thermostat to a cooler temperature to help you fall asleep. Ren recommends winding down before bedtime by turning down the lights and putting away electronic devices.
“Blue light can affect your circadian rhythm,” Ren said. “Don’t check your notifications or emails – that will keep you awake.”
Try to wake up around the same time every day to keep a balanced circadian rhythm. Ren warns that sleeping in several hours on the weekend can impact your ability to fall asleep at bedtime on Sunday, leaving you groggy on Monday morning.
6. Be consistent and slowly build your healthy habits.
The most important thing about your morning routine is consistency – make sure it’s something you can do every day, Ren said. He recommends building a routine one new habit at a time.
“Some people try to implement 10 different things, and then by the end of the week, everything has fallen through, and they’ve gone back to their old bad habits,” Ren said. “Start with just putting a glass of water next to your bed. Drink it when you wake up. Do that for a week, and you’ll build a new habit. Slowly add on new things, and soon you’ll have a fantastic morning routine.”
Learn more about Baylor Family Medicine.
By Molly Chiu