By making a few changes in that difficult first hour of the day, you can feel more refreshed, energetic and better prepared to handle whatever challenges that might come your way.
Use a gentler alarm
Research assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Division of Sleep and Chronobiology, Hans Van Dongen, PhD, says that there is a “biological basis for hating the sudden blare of your alarm clock.” If you’re woken up abruptly from that miserable sound, it can worsen sleep inertia. Invest in an alarm with a more gentle tone to help you wake up gradually instead.
There are clocks available that feature the sounds of nature like ocean waves or those that include tones that gradually increase in volume; a wake up light alarm helps to prepare your body to awake by using gradual light and has been clinically proven to make it more pleasant to face the morning. And if you use a smartphone, there are ‘gentler alarm’ apps out there – so take a look.
Color your morning
Just like the bright light of day helps cue your brain that it’s time to wake up, bright colors can also help get you going. Put on a robe in a vivid shade like red, orange or fuchsia, or strategically place a piece of art that uses vibrant colors in an area you’ll see first thing in the morning.
Instead of heading straight for the coffee, drink a glass of water with a squeeze of lemon. The body is usually dehydrated in the morning because it’s been working hard even while you’re sleeping – just breathing results in a loss of water. Replenish those fluids by drinking water for instant energy. Even a small drop in water stores can make you feel physically and mentally tired.
Adding lemon provides an extra boost to get you going as well as to strengthen the immune system, aid digestion, promote better skin, and more.
Exercising first thing in the morning is a great way to boost your mood and give you the energy you need to keep going all day long. If going out for a run or taking part in another high impact workout is too taxing when you’re just waking up, consider yoga as a more gentle activity for bringing energy levels up. Physical activity gets your blood flowing and also provides a rush of endorphins, also known as “happy hormones.”
Visualize a positive day
Take a few minutes to visualize a positive day, by meditating or just imagining the best scenarios. Focus on the successes you will have – positive thinking, even if it’s just for a minute or two can help improve your mood all day long.
Behavioral psychologist Dana Lightman, PhD, says that “imagining an activity fires up the same parts of your brain that are used when you actually experience it.”