It’s almost 7 a.m., and your shrill alarm sound knocks you out of bed. The sudden blare shocks and confuses you, so you rush around the room, with your still-foggy mind already filling with outfit choices and worries of being late. You barely have time for a sip of coffee, rushing into a day that’s already compromised.
That’s pretty much how you start your day off in the worst possible way, with consequences that will impact anything from your level of alertness throughout the day to your work performance and bodily processes. Stress and anxiety can have a negative impact on your mood and immunity level, dampening your spirits and draining your energy before the day even begins.
But mornings can be a time of replenishing your energies, a relaxing and renewing time that will greatly increase your chances of having of a happy and productive day. Starting your day off right has nothing to do with you being a morning person or not – it’s simply about incorporating a few things into your daily routine (or correcting the mistakes you’re currently making). The following are four important considerations that will help you shake off any sluggishness from the previous night and bring joy into your new day.
1. How You Wake Up Matters
It’s not just a matter of being able to wake up – it’s also how you do it that can impact your mood and energy for the day. Sure, few people have the possibility of waking up gradually with true, natural light (proven to improve energy levels and day-to-day well being), and most of us are jolted out of bed by a violent-sounding alarm blare.
An older survey reveals that Americans consider alarm clocks as one of the most hated inventions, and for good reason. Aside from just interrupting a good night’s sleep and dragging people out of their beds, being suddenly forced awake can have adverse effects on your overall health. Studies have shown that alarm clocks can increase blood pressure, add to overall stress levels, cause sleep problems and depression, and even impact cognitive abilities. The more serious effects will usually fade within minutes after waking up, but some impairments can be detected hours after.
To mitigate the harmful effects of your alarm clock, try to wake up naturally and gradually with the rising of the sun. Position your bed accordingly to have the sun rays directed towards your bed and sleep with the curtains open. If you must wake up before the sun, try a dawn simulator or a sleep tracking device that will wake you up at the end, and not in between, a sleep cycle.
2. Exercise, but Not too Early
You don’t have to make the morning workout the main routine of the day – sometimes, just 10 minutes of stretching and walking are enough to wake you up and get your body moving. However, make sure you’re not putting too much strain on your body too early in the morning – and especially, not before breakfast.
A lot of dieticians claim that exercising on an empty stomach burns the most calories, but in reality, there’s no conclusive evidence to support this affirmation. On the contrary, researchers are saying that dawn workouts can actually be bad for your health, since the body’s immune system is not ready to cope with strenuous routines. Moreover, working out before breakfast (when levels of antibodies that aid the body in fighting infection are extremely low) increases the risk of infection compared to exercising at any other time of day.
3. Nothing Compares to a Good Night’s Sleep
This is a no-brainer: if you want to feel rested and refreshed throughout the day, you have to sleep well at night. Sleep plays a critical role in learning and memory, metabolism and weight, cardiovascular health, and disease prevention. Yet at least 40 million Americans suffer from more than 60 sleep disorders, and 60 percent of adults have trouble sleeping on several days of the week. As a result, they may experience daytime sleepiness, decreased sex drive, low work performance, premature aging of the skin, depression, impaired judgment, and weight gain.
To optimize your sleep and increase your productivity at work, you should try to:
- Go to bed every night at the same hour and wake up at the same time every morning
- Pay attention to what you eat and drink during the entire day, but especially close to bedtime (caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine are stimulants whose effects may take several hours to wear off)
- Get a comfortable bed, install shades if the light bothers you, and use earplugs to be able to rest peacefully
- Take daytime naps, but don’t exaggerate – while taking a nap can be an excellent way to replenish your energy levels, it can also worsen sleep disorders.
4. Nourish Your Body the Right Way
While there’s nothing wrong with drinking a cup of coffee in the morning (although you could cut down the cigarettes), sitting down to have a nourishing breakfast is the single most important energy lift of the day. And if you decide to replace the fried bacon and eggs with a green breakfast comprising of a spinach and apple smoothie or a swiss chard frittata, you’ll experience an even greater energy boost.
Donuts, sugary cereal, fruit drinks, and bacon may satisfy your morning hunger, but they do not contain whole grains, fiber, or any other nutrients considered healthy (more so, your body will digest it rapidly, and before you know it, you’re eating carbs again). On the other hand, making a habit of eating a green breakfast comprised of apples, spinach, cucumber, leafy greens, and peppers has important health benefits, including pain relief, low blood pressure, bone protection, improved digestion, and cancer prevention.
5. The Natural Way to Health &Wellness
Whether you have trouble sleeping at night, wake up tired every morning, or have inexplicable pains and aches that prevent you from functioning properly, chiropractic care is the drug less, natural therapy that restores your body’s function and provides relief from chronic pain. Chiropractic therapists focus on ongoing preventive and wellness care that has proven helpful in treating chronic back pain, headaches and migraines, osteoarthritis, insomnia, joint and muscle pain, and several other afflictions. Through spinal adjustments, heat & cold therapy, lumbar disc decompression, massage therapy, and other chiropractic techniques, your therapist will be able to get your body back on track and put an end to debilitating pain.
About the Author
Dr. Marc Browner practices at Windmill Health Center in Weston, Florida. A graduate of the University of Florida, he earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree in 1995. In private practice since 1998, Dr. Browner is a member of the Florida Chiropractic Society, the Florida Chiropractic Association, and he attends continuing education seminars, classes, and workshops to remain abreast of the most current treatment methods and technological advances in the field.