A cup of coffee, prayer or listening to a podcast helps many of us start our day off right. Although these daily rituals and habits are an essential part of our day, doing them the right way can ensure that we’re making the most of our morning. Here are three aspects of a typical morning routine that you might need to adjust.
‘Early Bird Gets the Worm’
Being an early riser seems very enticing. Getting up before everyone else means you can send off any important emails, head to the gym for a quick workout or spend more time picking out your outfit for the day.
There’s no doubt that it has its perks. But if you’re not getting the right amount of rest each night, waking up early loses its value. “Sleep deprivation is a public health issue. About a third of the U.S. population robs themselves of the sleep they so desperately need,” Rebecca Robbins, Ph.D., told Healthline.
The result of not getting enough sleep is a lack of energy during the day that can negatively affect your productivity regardless if you woke up before sunrise!
The fix? Striving to get about seven to nine hours of sleep every night per the National Sleep Foundation’s recommendation. The foundation also offers easy tips to ensure a great night’s sleep such as disconnecting from your phone and tablet at least 30 minutes before bed and keeping a consistent daily sleep/wake schedule even on the weekends.
First Thing’s First Coffee (Or, Maybe Not!)
Mornings and coffee are a match made in heaven for many people. In fact, the National Coffee Association’s fall 2021 data trends report estimated that 60 percent of Americans drink coffee more than any other beverage during the day including water.
Firing up your coffee machine and brewing your favorite cup of Joe might be one of the first things you do in the morning. But, research suggests waiting a little bit before getting your a.m. caffeine fix. Certified dietitian-nutritionist Lisa Lisiewski told CNBC Make It explained why it’s better to avoid drinking coffee super early in the morning.
“I would say that mid-morning or early afternoon is probably the best time,” certified dietitian-nutritionist Lisa Lisiewski said. “That’s when your cortisol levels are at their lowest and you actually benefit from the stimulant itself.”
Cortisol is a stress hormone that’s responsible for regulating your energy balance. Research published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine mentioned that caffeine heightens cortisol levels.
Essentially, consuming caffeine right after waking up only boosts your cortisol levels during a period when they’re naturally high. This can cause a sudden burst of energy and an increased heart rate in the short-term. But over time, this may lead to symptoms including weight gain, high blood pressure and muscle weakness.
The good news is, waiting for that cup of Joe during your morning routine might not be as grueling as it sounds. “In other words, if you wake up between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m, have your coffee between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.,” CNBC Make It reporter Marguerite Ward wrote.
Saving All Tasks for the Middle of the Day
The thought of our to-do list and the tasks for the day is enough to make us want to crawl back into bed. Art Markman, Ph.D., and author of Bring Your Brain to Work, recognizes how daunting of the thought this can be.
“If you wake up knowing that you should face a significant challenge, it can put you into an avoidance mode first thing in the morning, which can lead to procrastination,” he said in an interview for the Peloton blog.
Hence why, Dr. Markman suggests starting your morning with a small win. “Do a small task that you can both enjoy and complete to get a little hit of satisfaction to get rolling,” he added. These simple tasks could include quickly tidying your room (making your bed is a given!), going for a brief walk outside, or even just whipping up a healthy and nourishing breakfast.
Putting your morning into motion can set your day on the right trajectory for productivity and success. It’s worth taking some time to rethink and adjust the daily habits in your morning routine so that it’ll pay off in the long run!