Rise and Shine

By now, we all know the incredible importance of sleep and how dramatically it can impact our overall health. If not, pick up Dr. Matt Walker’s book ‘Why We Sleep’ – it’s a total game changer…

But what about the other part of the process: how we wake up? Surprisingly, not too many people give this much thought. But how you wake up, and the immediate decisions you make, can also improve your health and have an impact on your happiness and productivity for the rest of the day.

So, assuming you’re getting in some quality zzzs, here are five things you can do to make the most of your mornings:

Lose the Snooze

Hitting the snooze button not only robs you of actual quality sleep (those disruptive 7 to 11-minute cycles do nothing for you), but the lost time also means you’ll now have to rush through your morning routine as soon as your feet finally hit the ground, and that’s no fun. A better strategy is to build in plenty of wiggle room for all of your morning rituals, set your alarm accordingly, and actually get up once it goes off. Being able to tick off your morning list without having to rush feels luxurious and can help you start the day refreshed instead of anxious.

Drink the Water

If it’s not already part of your ritual, as soon as you rise drink 12 to 16 ounces of water. Why? Because we naturally dehydrate through the night, and if you don’t drink first thing, you’re already starting behind the ball in your most basic of needs, as even a modest amount of dehydration can impair you mentally and physically.

Go Toward the Light

Our circadian rhythm is influenced by light (among other things). So as soon as you rise, do your best to expose yourself to light (ideally, natural light from sunshine) to help shift your body to wakefulness. Turn on lights, open the curtains and blinds, and generally annoy anyone else trying to get some shut eye. Even better, use a light based alarm like these to more naturally wake up and ease into your mornings.

Move It

Another factor impacting our natural body clock is movement. That’s not to say you need to jump out of bed and immediately into a set of burpees, but getting up and moving around will help. This can be anything from some gentle stretching or mobility work, to hitting a few yoga postures, or even just jumping in the shower and prancing around a bit. A few minutes is all it takes to let your body know that you’re awake and you mean business.

Break the Fast

Finally, complete your morning wake-up routine by eating some good, quality food (which also stokes your circadian rhythm). This does not mean you grab an energy bar as you hurriedly run out the door, it means you’ve planned your morning so that you have time to actually sit down to eat some earth grown nutrients. Do it without staring at your phone or any other distraction so that you can reflect on the day ahead, and even meditate a bit on things – you’ll truly be amazed at the difference this makes. – Tom Trevino, MBS Personal Trainer